Calugay to start new high school football team for private school student-athletes

CRUZ EXPLOITS GAPS: Father Duenas Memorial School's Javian Cruz looks for a hole in the George Washington High School defense in this 2019 file photo of their Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam Football League matchup at GW field in Mangilao. Matt Weiss/The Guam Daily Post

With aspiration of assembling a brand new football team and convincing the Independent Athletic Association of Guam of forming its own football league, Angel Calugay is charging ahead with a game-changing idea.

Calugay, who is a former head football coach at Okkodo High School and a former director of public school sports, is hoping to attract enough student-athletes from private schools that do not have football programs to join Team Alliance and its elite, hand-picked coaching staff.

Calugay, who will serve as Team Alliance head coach, shared that his coaching staff includes Neil Pineda, defensive coordinator; Mike Pangelinan, offensive coordinator; Sakalaia Hungalu, offensive line coach; Tyler Pangelinan, kicker/wide receiver coach; and Allan Borja, linebacker coach.

Calugay told The Daily Post that signups will start 4 p.m. Thursday, at St. Paul Christian School in Harmon.

“All private high school student-athletes who do not have a football team at their school and wish to play football for Team Alliance are welcome,” Calugay said.

"We’re not necessarily going to practice. We want to make sure that when we start Monday, our goal is to get 25-30 kids to field a team. We don’t even know. We’ve got to try it,” Calugay said.

But with GDOE ISA’s first-quarter season underway since July 19 and the season-opener about four weeks away, is there enough time and interest to build a team from scratch and create a new league?  

Terry Debold, the president of the IIAAG, who is also the athletic director at Father Duenas Memorial School, doesn't seem think so.

He said that the IIAAG board has not met to discuss forming its own league and anticipates the two private schools with football teams to play in ISA as planned. 

“There has been no discussion amongst the members of IIAAG to break off any sports - any new sport this year,” Debold said. “Why would we? There’s only two private schools that have football teams.”

But Calugay said that three teams would be enough to form a league and they will add a fourth team next season if there is enough interest.

“The whole intention is to hopefully get the league started this year,” he said. … “We’ve got to try and get it going.”

He said that it is feasible Team Alliance will be ready to play this season.

But with no league and an undetermined number of players, any student-athlete who joins Team Alliance would place their playing status in jeopardy. Even if Calugay were able to assemble a team, the IIAAG doesn't have a league and ISA will not let them join theirs.

"Currently, we have FD and Guam High competing in ISA football. We also welcome any other private school athletes to affiliate with teams, but as for allowing a combined private school team competing, I don’t think that would be allowed based on our constitution," said Marv Linder, the athletic director at Southern High School. "We have limited the number of athletes that can affiliate with one school to prevent two schools from combining to form a team."

Debold told the Post that any newly formed team should only be considered for exhibition games and that forming a separate league “is so far ahead of us right now to even begin discussion.”

He said they can play exhibition games against FD and Guam High School, the only two private school teams, “just to get started, just to get them going.”

“Maybe this year they wouldn’t be ready for a full-fledged team, but they would be ready to start playing some games,” Debold said.

Calugay, despite challenges, is ready to advance and form the team. He does not want to wait.

“I have to push this issue with the football because the IIAAG has to start their own football league,” he said, adding that that the formation of Team Alliance can serve as the catalyst. “I know that Guam High and FD are already being incorporated in the ISA league, but that’s not my intention.”

Linder said that FD and Guam High’s football teams have already joined the public school league and anticipates their participation. 

Marty Boudreau, who is the athletic director at George Washington High School and advises ISA, stated that all six public schools will be competing this season.

“I don’t think we should necessarily - at this point - look at this as a disruption in either league, as much as we should look at this as a group of people who are interested in developing and expanding the sport by allowing more student-athletes to participate,” Debold said.