Unbeaten teams meet in key Guam matchup
Stars and Stripes
With no game to coach last weekend, Jacob Dowdell put on his scout cap and found himself a very, very interested spectator at Saturday’s Father Duenas Memorial vs. Southern football game on Guam.
He had good reason: Both the Friars and Dowdell’s Guam High Panthers are 3-0 entering their head-to-head showdown Saturday at George Washington High in Mangilao. The Friars loom as the Panthers’ biggest obstacle in the route back to the Interscholastic Football League title they last won two years ago.
What he learned from last Saturday’s 44-0 romp by Father Duenas wasn’t much more than Dowdell already knew. He and Friars coach Bruce Meno go “way back,” and the two engaged in 7-on-7 drills over the summer, at which the Friars’ greatest asset was put on display.
“Speed, hands down, across the board, they’ve got speed,” Dowdell said of a team that accentuates the pass, featuring quarterback Tyler Okiyama and receiver tandem Bryton Cepeda and Nicolas Aglubat.
“They are extremely quick and fast, from one end of the field to the other. Their quarterback has a good arm, very accurate and they have a couple of very good, go-to receivers,” Dowdell said.
To combat that pass attack and their speed, Dowdell made no secret of the strategy he plans.
“This is going to be a statement game by Juwan Jacobs,” Dowdell said of one of the three senior players - including quarterback Lorden Aguon and two-way star Tegan Brown - who serve as the team’s fulcrum.
Jacobs, Dowdell said, will be deployed against Cepeda with the intent of locking him down.
“There’ll be no secret to what we do. Everybody knows what we’ve got,” Dowdell said, adding that Jacobs will “no longer be in the shadow” of his older brother and former Panthers star Devon Jacobs. “This will be Juwan Jacobs’ game.”
The winner of Friday’s battle gains the edge in the annual IFL battle for the regular-season championship and the all-important first-round playoff bye that accompanies it.
Dowdell said he expects a large turnout for the game, kicking off at 7 p.m., including airmen on assignment to Andersen Air Force Base from Barksdale Air Force Base, La. “We appreciate them coming out and giving us fan support,” Dowdell said.
Saturday’s other big contest pits Kubasaki at Yokota in a rematch of the last two Far East Division I title games. Jarrett Mitchell and the Dragons hope to avenge those games, 34-6 and 55-8 losses. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. at Bonk Field.
That game will pit Mitchell, the reigning Pacific rushing champion who has 617 yards on 59 carries with six touchdowns, against Yokota sophomore J.J. Henderson, he of 484 yards and seven touchdowns on 38 attempts.
Among Friday’s contests is the second go-round between DODDS Japan and Kanto Plain leader Nile C. Kinnick, visiting Zama American at Naval Air Facility Atsugi; kickoff is 7 p.m. Kinnick won 27-19 in the Aug. 23 opener at Yokosuka Naval Base.
Unbeaten American School In Japan travels to winless Robert D. Edgren; kickoff is 7:30 p.m.