Brown, Cruz power Guam High into rare share of first place
AGANA HEIGHTS, Guam — Long accustomed to being curious-looking bridesmaids in helmets and pads, Guam High football is achieving heights never before reached in the program’s 13-year history.
Tegan Brown ran for two touchdowns, David John Cruz added a TD run and Paul Floyd ran and passed for one touchdown each as the Panthers recorded their first shutout of perennial powerhouse and defending champion George Washington 32-0 Saturday at Panthers Field.
“I’m elated,” said second-year coach Billy Henry of the Panthers (2-0), who climbed into a share of first place in the Interscholastic Football League, the latest they’ve ascended to such heights in any season. “We are well on our way to the prize. Two down. We’re on our way.”
It was the Panthers’ first win over the Geckos since taking the IFL’s third-place game 18-6 on Nov. 14, 2008 and only the fourth win for Guam High over George Washington in school history.
Brown led all ball carriers with 168 yards on 25 carries. Cruz pitched in with 109 yards on 17 tries. Floyd was 6-for-8 passing for 74 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to Matt Eaton. Floyd also scored on a 1-yard run.
The best the Panthers have finished in the IFL has been second place in the regular season and third place in the playoffs.
Even with the win over the powerful Geckos under their belts, the road to success for the Panthers remains under construction, Henry said.
“We’re still fine-tuning,” he said. “We have young players who make young mistakes. They (Geckos) stopped our starting offense [and] we had to adjust. We need to fine-tune our discipline and attitude, so we can bang on all 12 cylinders.”
Then, there’s also the challenge of facing contenders Father Duenas Memorial and John F. Kennedy in the coming weeks, plus the IFL playoffs to follow in October. “This is our best start, but we still have four (regular-season) games and the playoffs to go yet,” Henry said.
The win came despite three members of the coaching staff having lost members of their families. “We’re fighting adversity, family tragedies,” Henry said. “We have to keep our focus as well as keeping the kids focused.”