For a seventh straight season, the five-time defending champion Father Duenas Memorial School Friars football team has earned a spot in the championship game.
In Friday night’s Guam Department of Education Interscholastic Sports Association semifinals game, which took place at George Washington High School, the Friars defeated the Southern High School Dolphins 21-0. With three unanswered touchdowns, one on offense, another on special teams, and a final six-yard defensive score, the Friars attacked the Dolphins from many different angles.
After a scoreless first quarter where defenses stepped up and offenses failed to execute, the Friars' Caleb Murphy, the ISA defensive-MVP, scored a five-yard touchdown run. To accompany his touchdown, the junior ironman also finished with two interceptions and six tackles. After what might have been a career-night for another player, Murphy's night was just business usual, and he appears ready to lead his his team in next week’s championship game.
"We're still on a mission, but it's a good win," Murphy said. "Southern is a good team, but we're looking forward to next week's championship."
"It's back to practice, hard work, and maintain the steady path to the mission," he added.
With a 7-0 lead, the Friars added another touchdown on a punt return. After mishandling a kick, Caiyle Gogue chased after the loose ball, scooped it off the field, shook free from a defender, escaped three more would-be tacklers and ran 65 yards for a touchdown.
"Even if you're getting hit, you can't stop grinding, you've just got to keep playing through the contact," Gogue said. "I saw the blockers out on the field, so big credit to them. They gave me that lane."
"It's go big or go home," he added.
After leading 14-0 at halftime, the Friars’ special teams and defense remained in charge.
After Southern’s defense forced the Friars to punt, an Alex Sojo boot sailed over the return team. And as the Dolphins’ coaching staff pleaded for its players to stay away from the ball, it rolled out of bounds at the five-yard line. Looks and sounds of disappointment could be heard from Southern’s sideline. And less than a minute later, that sinking feeling would become a reality.
With the Dolphins pinned inside its own five-yard line, Father Duenas’ Marquis Aflague recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
For nearly the entire four quarters of play, the Dolphins’ offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Josiah Quintanilla, who threw six interceptions and spent the night scrambling for what little yardage the Friars’ defense would surrender - which wasn’t much.
The Friars’ Vance Meno and Murphy each finished with two interceptions. Christian Manglona and Alucious Medler had one pick apiece. The Friars' defense, with two fumble recovers, turned the game into a runaway.
"Our defense, we work hard," Murphy said. "And we listened to our coach and what he tells us to do, and, from there, we just portray it on the field."