For the past five seasons, the Father Duenas Memorial School Friars' football team has been untouchable. Winners of 48 straight games, cementing their fifth straight Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam Championship, the Friars are at the pinnacle of excellence.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, under the George Washington High School lights, the Friars notched the 5-peat over the Geckos, 7-0.
“We worked really hard just to get here, all season,” said Nick Anderson, FD’s quarterback. “Whoever had the most heart was going to win this game,” he said. “We wouldn’t be anywhere without our (offensive) line).”
While in the last two title games the Geckos have inched ever-closer to the Friars, for Anderson’s four years of high school football, the senior, and the Friars, have only known success.
“This is the sweetest, man,” he said. “A actually worked my a-- off, all year for this. I started understanding the game of football, more and more, as each year I progressed.”
As is often the case, the difference between winning and losing comes down to whichever team make the fewest mistakes.
The Geckos' two first-half turnovers didn’t any effect the score, but their third was fatal. After a defensive battle produced a scoreless first half, the Friars made the Geckos pay for their mistakes.
Early in the third quarter, with the Friars’ Kekoa Gamboa covering wide receiver Cason Jackson, the junior cut in front and intercepted quarterback Rick Macias’ pass.
“I saw him running his route short just to get away from me,” Gamboa said. "So, I ran up immediately just to pick it off.” “I’m just glad that all of our hard work paid off."
After returning the interception just outside the Geckos' goal line, the Friars finally found the end zone.
For more than two quarters, the Geckos' defense contained FD’s star running back Kein Artero. But the IIAAG offensive-MVP was not to be denied. With two yards separating Artero from the Geckos' goal, No. 3 pounded through the George Washington defensive line.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Artero said. “We came out to the game expecting that they were going to come out hard and they did. The O-line opened up a solid hole, and we pushed for it.”
Robert Haddock, for the 7-0 lead, drilled the point-after try.
For most of the time-honored, cross Route 10 battle, the Geckos did nearly everything right but still didn't get into the end zone. Even GW’s strong defensive play from Noah Quichocho, William Rios, and Mykai Blas didn't derail the championship-minded Friars.
With 6:58 left in regulation, Blas, with a 25-yard rush, ran to the Friars’ 37-yard line.
On first-and-10, Macias scrambled through the Friars’ defense before being brought down in the end zone in front of the Geckos’ cheering section. But, an illegal block to the back quieted the GW faithful. With the penalty, their best scoring-opportunity was canceled.
"We executed our goal," Anderson said. "We had some trouble at the start, but we did this game for a number of people. Most importantly, we did it for Mr. (Tony) Thompson, X (Xavier Akima), Mr. William Roth, and Thomas Mendiola.”