Can Guam High finally reach the big time in two playoffs?
Stars and Stripes August 29, 2009
It’s time, coach Billy Henry believes.
Guam High has endured years of disappointments and near misses. The Panthers are 0-4 in the DODDS Far East football playoffs and have managed two third-place Interscholastic Football League finishes in their 11-season history.
One of those third-place finishes came last season. Now, Henry, who assumes the team’s helm from the departed Brandon Miller, feels the Panthers are talented and committed enough to take the next step.
Henry sees last year’s finish as a "badge of honor. They can hold their heads high that they got third place. But I want to display it as a challenge to not just meet but exceed their goals."
After coaching in Hohenfels, Germany, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Henry transferred to Guam and feels he brings new styles of defense in addition to years of coaching experience.
"I didn’t come to overhaul but to fine-tune the program," Henry said.
He’ll count on returning leaders Raul Bryand, a senior linebacker, and Devon Jacobs, a junior receiver, along with newcomers Star Motley and Marcus Dollard.
The Panthers were to open Saturday, but the game was postponed because host Okkodo had not yet received its equipment. A makeup date was not immediately announced.
Henry’s charges will employ a spread-option attack and a 4-3 defense to fend off their opponents in the seven-team IFL. Each team plays each other once during the regular season.
"We would love to exceed what we’ve done. I believe we won’t go back," Henry said. "We’re getting better by the day. I believe in these kids. Their commitment and excellence gives them the opportunity to meet and possibly exceed their goals."
Those goals include opportunities to win titles in two playoffs. The IFL conducts its three-week playoffs in October, and the Panthers travel to Okinawa for the Class AA playoffs in November.
Henry describes that as a "rare opportunity. We greatly appreciate that we have an opportunity to be in two leagues and have an opportunity to play. It’s fantastic, wonderful. The kids are excited about it."