The Budweiser Guahan Varsity Football League was a first-filled Saturday, the Raiders’ four-game winning streak shattered by the Guahan Eagles, 26-24, and the Outlaws against the Southern Cowboys, ending their four-game losing streak, 15-14.
Leading the Eagles offense, with four touchdown passes, quarterback Steven “SP” Phillips captained the two-time defending champs to victory.
“I’m just trying to bring in the chemistry from last week to this week, especially coming into this game when we went against the No. 1 team,” Phillips said. “Our offensive line did a great job, they gave me time.”
The Eagles and Raiders, barring any postseason upsets, are on a collision course for another championship game clash.
Avenging their 28-19 Week 2 loss to the Raiders in Round 1, heading into the playoffs, the Eagles have the momentum.
Raiders strike first
Barely breaking a sweat, on their third play from the line of scrimmage, Raiders QB Danny Manibusan aired out a 32-yard touchdown pass to Spade Untalan.
Later in the quarter, answering the call, Phillips hit Reginald Baylor with a 48-yard bullet. Hauling in a circus-catch one-handed grab, Baylor faked the safety and sprinted to the end zone.
“My first thought was to secure the ball,” Baylor said. “I saw the safety coming, but I knew he would miss me because of his angle. After that, it was all up to me.”
Tacking on the go-ahead 2-point conversion, in the left side of the end zone, Phillips completed a pass to Devin Tyra.
With back-to-back second-quarter touchdown passes, a 15-yarder to Tyra, and a 34-yard heave to Jon Mayo, the Eagles led, 20-6.
Hank Sablan and Untalan, with long-yardage gains, set up an 8-yard Manibusan QB keeper. Pulling within 8 points, the Raiders trailed 20-12.
The Eagles, with their seemingly comfortable 14-point lead, rallied late with another Phillips-to-Mayo touchdown.
“When the team expects something of me, I have to step up to the plate and go ahead and execute the play,” Mayo said. “But, I couldn’t do it without my teammates.”
Hanging tough, the Raiders scored two more touchdowns. With five minutes left in regulation, with a 2-yard TD run, Sablan pulled the Raiders within 2 points, 26-24.
With their most important defensive stop of the day, on the potential game-tying 2-point conversion, the Eagles’ Brandon San Agustin and Kevin Alvarez tackled Joseph Carreon just short of the goal line.
“This is a good wake up call for us to see what we have – and what areas we need to fix – as the playoffs and the championship game comes,” Manibusan said.
Outlaws taste victory
The Outlaws won their first game of the season against the Southern Cowboys, 15-14.
“It was a long time coming, man,” said the Outlaws’ Travis Meno, speaking to the team’s first win. “We have a lot of talent, it’s crazy how we haven’t got it going.”
The Outlaws' Justin Cruz, breaking open a second-quarter scoreless tie, returned an interception 75 yards for a TD.
After trading touchdowns, Meno capped off a scoring drive with an 8-yard TD run. Jonas Escuadra, following Chris “Cheeks” Mesa’s block, on the left side, scored the eventual game-winning conversion.
“It’s always a battle in the trenches,” said Mesa, also known as "The Franchise." He added, “I just tell myself that ‘I am better than the dude in front of me,' and I lay his a-- out.”