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With two weeks left in the regular season, things looked mighty good for the Guam High football team. The Panthers sported a 4-4 record, the best in school history after eight games, and were poised to do damage in the Far East and Interscholastic Football League playoffs.

Then, the bottom fell out. The Panthers lost their last five games, including Friday’s 14-8 loss to the Simon Sanchez Sharks in the IFL’s third-place game.

Still, Brandon Miller, after his first season as head coach, feels there are reasons for optimism as he looks ahead to 2008. The biggest one being the team building that Miller hopes will feed on itself now that the season’s over.

“Championships are built in the offseason,” Miller said of the out-of-season conditioning and weight training that have become staples of winning programs from sea to shining sea and throughout the Pacific.

“We want to get everybody on the same page. The biggest thing is team building. We haven’t been together long enough to be successful. Keeping them together and working in the offseason is important.”

Miller says he’ll have plenty to work with — about 15 on the Panthers roster return next season, virtually the entire offense and the interior defensive line. Outside linebacking and secondary will need replacement parts, he said.

In Friday’s third-place contest, Shane Aguon’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Jerren Rodriguez broke an 8-8 tie with four minutes left.

Guam High tied the game when Torus Washington tossed a 41-yard scoring strike and a two-point conversion pass to Rey Tenorio earlier in the period.

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