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UNDER a bright and scorching sun, both sides of the University of Guam football field were lined with family, friends and supporters ready to watch some gridiron action in the 2012 Guam National Youth Football Federation League.
In the Manha Division, the HP Giants and Tan Holdings Southern Cowboys provided everyone in attendance with some exciting and intense playing. However, despite a great showing by both teams, only one could walk away victorious. At the end of four quarters of play, the Giants squeaked by the Cowboys and earned a hard-fought 21-19 win.
On the opening drive, the Giants came storming out by pounding the ball for some positive yardage on the ground. The duo of Eugene Arriola and Brendyn Cruz monstered their way downfield and combined for huge yardage to put the Giants just outside the red zone. The Giants eventually nabbed a 7-0 lead after an 11-yard touchdown run by Gabriel Toves followed by a converted PAT by Arriola.
Not wasting any time, the Cowboys responded on their first drive and managed to equalize the game at 7-7. Facing a second and 10 situation, the Cowboys' Jesse Babauta went to the air and connected with a wide open Nico Velez for a 21-yard touchdown pass. On the ensuing play, Tan Holdings was able to convert the PAT.
The see-saw battle by both teams continued as the display of offensive power continued. Several minutes into the second quarter, HP regained the lead after Cruz pounded his way through the Cowboys’ line for six points. A made point-after attempt gave the Giants a 14-7 lead. With less than three minutes in the half, the Cowboys trimmed their deficit to 14-13 after Travan Jacobs worked his way through for a 6-yard TD.
Looking to take back the lead
After returning from the break, the Cowboys were looking to take back the lead. On the first play of the second half, Velez sprinted his way down the sideline for a 40-yard run. However, a tough Giants defense held ground and forced a Cowboys fumble at the 2-yard line.
With only eight minutes of game time remaining, both teams knew what was at stake and continued their strong play. HP upped their lead to 21-13 after Gabriel Toves-Cruz broke free from the Cowboys' defense and scored from 34 yards out. Midway through the quarter, the Cowboys made perfect use of their possession as Babauta and Velez hooked up for another touchdown to make it a two-point, 21-19 game.
As the clock continued to wind down, the Cowboys turned up the defense in hopes of regaining possession. An eventual turnover by the Giants shed some hope for Tan Holdings. However, on the ensuing play the Giants forced a four and out. From that point on, the Giants ran the clock out to end the game.