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DESPITE some on-and-off rain showers throughout the day yesterday, action in the Guam National Youth Football Federation rolled on at the University of Guam football field.
In the last scheduled game of the day, the HP Giants and GTA TeleGuam Raiders battled one another in the Matua division. When the time on the clock expired and the final whistle was blown, the scoreboard reflected the Giants walking away with a slim 8-6 season-opening victory.
Ground and pound offense
Electing to receive first, the Giants immediately went to work as they used the ground and pound offense early in the game. The trio of Marcus Manglona, Rico Cotelesse and Joseph Sanchez got the Giants' offense going as they combined for 37 big yards in four plays. Despite giving up a huge chunk of yardage, the Raiders managed to hold defensively and eventually forced the Giants to turn the ball over on downs.
On their first series, GTA TeleGuam felt the wrath of the Giants as a stifling defense forced a fumble that was eventually recovered by Damon Hocog. Taking over on the 26-yard line, the Giants looked confident to march the ball downfield. However, the Raiders exposed their strength on defense as well when Aaron Pangelinan intercepted a pass from Jujuan King. The remainder of the opening quarter came to a close with neither team able to put points on the board.
After turning the ball over on downs to start the second quarter, the Raiders gave the Giants another chance at scoring. It was on their first drive of the second period where the Giants capitalized to score a touchdown. Facing a first-and-10 situation from the 25-yard line, the Giants’ King connected with Napu Topasna for a 25-yard TD reception and a 6-0 lead. On the PAT, Topasna was able to split the uprights and increase the Giants lead to 8-0.
Clinging on to a one-possession lead, the Giants knew their lead wasn’t a secured one with 20 minutes of gridiron action left. The Raiders gave their opponents much to worry about in the second half as they were able to cut their deficit down to two points. With only 3 yards before the end zone, GTA TeleGuam’s Reynold “R.J.” Rokop busted through the Giants’ line for six points. But the PAT was no good to keep it a tight 8-6 game.
The HP Giants held ground defensively despite some legitimate threats from the Raiders late in the second half. However, time eventually was working against them and the Raiders weren’t able to post anything on the board to give the Giants the slim margin of victory at the final whistle.
Guam National Youth Football Federation gridiron action will resume play next weekend with games scheduled at the University of Guam field as well as Eagles Field in Mangilao.