If winning isn't an option, the only thing better than losing is a tie.
At the 5th annual Triple J High School Football All-Star Game on Saturday, with all points scored in the first half, the Raptors battled the Mustangs to a 12-12 tie.
The Mustangs and Raptors rosters each contained the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association’s best student-athletes from the Father Duenas Memorial School Friars, George Washington High School Geckos, Guam High School Panthers, Simon Sanchez High School Sharks, and the Southern High School Dolphins.
Notre Dame High School Royals’ Nico Valez, who played for the 2019-2020 John. F. Kennedy High School Islanders, was the green-and-gold's lone representative. He played for the Raptors.
Kaekoa Leon Guerrero, the only Tiyan High School Titans football player on either roster, played for the Mustangs.
After a Raptors fake punt resulted in a turnover on downs, the Mustangs took over on the Raptors 44-yard line.
Evan Brown, well known as one of the Friars best defenders, played quarterback for the Mustangs.
Brown, on their first possession, connected to wide receiver Jalen Thach on a 37-yard route. Reaching up over his shoulders and sprinting toward the end zone, the Panther, for the first time, lit up the scoreboard.
In the second quarter, Valez, from quarterback Travon Jacobs, hauled in a 20-yard touchdown strike.
Jacobs, one of nine Panthers selected to the All-Star Game, brought his swagger to the field.
Late in the second quarter, Kein Artero, the 2019-2020 IIAAG MVP, with a 71-yard rushing touchdown, burned through the Raptors secondary up the right sideline.
“We needed a score so we could take the lead back,” Artero said. “Getting to play with these boys was a really fun experience. Being able to challenge your own teammates, in a real game, is amazing.”
“At the end of the day, we’re all representing Guam,” he said.
With time winding down in the first half, and Leon Guerrero leading his offense, the Titans quarterback had a pass picked off. The Raptors’ Mykai Blas, reading the telegraphed pass thrown into traffic, in full stride, made the interception.
With a few players to beat, Blas sprinted for the final score.
“When I first saw the ball, it was so unexpected,” Blas said. “I tucked it in and just took off.”