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TITANS HANG ON TO OVERTIME WIN OVER BULLDOGS

Tiyan hangs on to beat Okkodo in season opener

By Nick Akimoto

The Tiyan Titans survive a gritty back-and-forth battle against the Okkodo Bulldogs on Saturday night. By the end of regulation, the score was tied at 12 a piece, which meant the season-opener was going to overtime. 

In OT, Tiyan called on quarterback Christopher Angoco, who took a shot from the Bulldog defense but still managed to deliver the game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Jerome Paulino in the corner of the end zone for the 18-12 win.

“Football is a team sport. Sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice but sometimes you’ll be on top,” said Tiyan’s junior quarterback. 

Angoco sacrificed a lot for the win, extending plays with his legs and taking hits to move Tiyan’s offense forward. Angoco finished the night with 104 total yards, one interception and one passing touchdown. 

While Angoco took most of the snaps in the Titan’s read-option heavy offense, Tiyan’s much needed scores would come off of a fumble recovery, picked up by Paulino and brought into the end zone, and a trick play caught by Dean Masnayon for a 56-yard passing touchdown. 

First Half 

Things were slow to begin despite the Titans recovering their own kick in the endzone. The Bulldogs defense were able to prevent a score, but the offense was unable to move the chains and were forced to punt. Both teams would take turns with possession of the ball, but Okkodo would strike first after Fermancio Garcia picked off Angoco and clocked in a pick-six in the first quarter. The Bulldogs would try and fail at a two-point conversion, leaving the score 6-0. 

After the exciting start, both teams would inch towards the end zone, yet fail to put up points. At the halftime whistle, the Bulldogs would hold the 6-0 lead. 

Second Half 

In the second half, the Titans found life thanks to Paulino’s scoop and score. 

“I didn’t think I was gonna make it to the end zone, to be honest. Took a while for me to pick that ball up, [but] the game was not over.” 

– Tiyan’s Jerome Paulino joked about his scoop and score

After Paulino tied it, the Titans went back on defense and forced a three-and-out on the Bulldogs next possession and fielded a punt around midfield. On 3rd and long, the Titans employed an improvised trick play as Angoco threw a backwards pass to Ryen Cruz in the slot, who delivered the long ball to Masnayon who brought it down and took it in. After the Titans’ failed two-point conversion, Tiyan was up 12-6. 

“We made that up on the spot. This is backyard football!” said Masnayon on the score. “It was my first ever touchdown in my whole career. I didn’t expect to catch it, but right when I caught it, I knew I had to score,” he admitted.

In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs were determined to respond. As the Bulldogs trotted out their offense, receiver Keithen Decipulo lined up wide. As quarterback Bryant Ignacio took the snap, he rolled out to the left and threw it to Decipulo, who jumped on the ball and broke two tackles on his way into the endzone to tie up the game. Decipulo would finish the game with 61 receiving yards. 

With the score at 12-12, both defenses locked-in, forcing the offenses out. When the Bulldogs got the ball back, Ignacio delivered another longball to Decipulo. As Decipulo made his way to the endzone, the ball popped out and was recovered by Tiyans’ Zavier Camacho. As Camacho was looking for open space, Decipulo hit Camacho and forced him back into the end zone for a potential safety. 

Both teams were left with confused emotions as the referees gathered together and called the play back after a penalty which retroactively made the play dead. 

When the Bulldogs gave the ball back, the Titans had the opportunity to end the game with a score, but the whistle was blown before Tiyan could put up points. 

Overtime 

(ISA High School Football employs the same overtime rules as college football) 

The Titans got the first opportunity and converted as Angoco found Paulino in the back left corner of the endzone. The Titans failed their point-after-attempt, but the Bulldogs had four downs to respond or else the game would end. 

On the first play, Ignacio threw a quick slant to Decipulo but the pass flew just out of his reach. On the next, Ignacio rolled out to the right, but was sacked out of bounds by Ryen Cruz. Cruz finished the night with five tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two sacks, and a passing touchdown. 

On third down, the Bulldogs would hand the ball to their powerback, Josiah Mendiola, who bruised his way for 13 yards and was brought down just short of the endzone. With the game on the line, the Bulldogs called on Fermancio Garcia, but the Titans defense held him back and iced the game. 

“The game is not over until the final whistle blows. We all knew we had to work because the game’s not over,” said Masnayon on the Titans mentality going into overtime. 

“Tiyan played a really great game. Despite the loss, we’re gonna correct the mistakes we had and learn off that,” said Okkodo’s captain Garcia. 

The Bulldogs play the Father Duenas Friars at GW field on Thursday. The Titans will play the GW Geckos on the following Monday.

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COMING SOON …

Guam Track & Field National Championship May 26

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

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Mario Bork led the Warriors with 20 points in the championship game.

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