DEDEDO, Guam – Offense had ruled the day in Guam High’s season opener. Saturday, it was the defense’s turn to step up against a Simon Sanchez team that seems to always play the Panthers tough, coach Jacob Dowdell said.

Four Panthers posted double-digit figures in tackles, Guam High stopped five goal-line drives and L.J. Aguon threw a third-quarter touchdown pass to Marcus Domingo that proved just enough for Guam High to hold off the Sharks 6-2 in an Interscholastic Football League game at Okkodo High School.

“A battle royal. We squeezed it out,” Dowdell said of a Sharks team that hasn’t beaten the Panthers in six seasons, but has not lost to them by more than 18 points in that span. “Simon Sanchez always plays us hard. Our defense stepped up tonight.”

While Brandon Saville and Tegan Brown each recorded 11 tackles and Cabe Robit and Damian Dimmick had 10 each, Juwan Jacobs continues to be a breakout defensive star after missing last season with a knee injury.

The younger brother of former Panther star Devon Jacobs had an interception and broke up a fourth-quarter pass to kill fourth-quarter Sharks drives. “He’s been a pleasant surprise,” Dowdell said, adding that Saville and Brown “stepped up and showed great leadership.”

On offense, the Panthers struggled, but outgained the Sharks 242-125. Aguon went 8-for-15 for 134 yards and rushed for 25 yards on seven carries. Dimmick added 62 yards on seven attempts.

Having a tough go with the Sharks was something the Panthers needed, Dowdell said, with a rematch of the last two Bamboo Bowl IFL title games, against George Washington, upcoming Saturday at Guam High.

“This allowed our defense to be tested,” Dowdell said.

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