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UPPER TUMON, Guam – Guam High is one step away from defending its Interscholastic Football League title.

Sean Sweet threw for a touchdown, D.J. Cruz ran for two scores and the Panthers defense forced four turnovers and a sack in Saturday’s 18-8 IFL semifinal win over Simon Sanchez at John F. Kennedy High School’s Ramsey Field.

“We’re back in the championship,” coach Jacob Dowdell said of playing at regular-season champion George Washington in Saturday’s IFL title Bamboo Bowl. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. GW blanked Guam High 35-0 on Sept. 3. The Panthers edged the Geckos last Oct. 23 7-6 in the Bamboo Bowl.

Dowdell described the feeling as “incredible, given the adversity the we faced this season,” losing two games to forfeit for turning an incomplete roster into the league prior to the season. “For us to come back in a building year, they did a great job.”

The Panthers beat Simon Sanchez on the field earlier this season 27-0, but were forced to forfeit that contest.

Sweet went 7-for-15 for 165 yards, including a 20-yard TD pass to Damon Dimmick, and ran six times for 32 yards. Cruz had 46 yards on 11 carries, Lordon Aguon had 67 yards on three catches and Matt Eaton a pair of catches for 69 yards.

Defense once more proved to be victory’s foundation, Dowdell said. Logan Dimmick and Tegan Brown each recovered a fumble, Sweet and Brown each intercepted a pass, Nijee Smith had 13 tackles and Theartris Eaton 12 tackles, including a sack.

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