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From Andersen Air Force Base to Naval Station, Guam High School players, coaches, families and community celebrated as if it were the new millennium after the Panthers’ historic upset last Saturday over Father Duenas Memorial.

But the party didn’t last long, coach Yvonne Tyrrell said, particularly in the face of Saturday’s more daunting challenge — taking on Interscholastic Football League powerhouse George Washington.

“This will be the most difficult game for us, the greatest hurdle, that we’ll face this season,” Tyrrell said of the Geckos, owners of the Pacific’s longest winning streak at 10 games and winners of the past three IFL championships.

Like Father Duenas prior to last Saturday’s game, the Geckos have been nearly unbeatable to the Panthers in Guam High’s nine seasons in the league. The Panthers have lost nine of 10 meetings to the Geckos, three by shutout, and have been outscored 291-46. Guam High’s only victory over George Washington was 16-14 in overtime during the 2000 season.

Thus, “We are not taking GW lightly,” Tyrrell said.

Still, the Panthers beat Father Duenas, owner of at least a share of five league titles since Guam High entered the league. The Friars beat Guam High all 10 previous times they played, five by shutout and outscored the Panthers 443-41.

“The question coming from the people of Guam is, ‘Is Guam High for real?’” Tyrrell said, citing a Pacific Daily News story that asked that question.

“We have to go out and demonstrate that we are. But yes, we are for real. Whether they [George Washington] takes us lightly, that’s up to them.”

That won’t mean the Geckos will be a walk in the park, and her players seem to have gotten that message. Celebrating the Friars’ victory, Tyrrell said, didn’t last long before preparing for the Geckos began.

“They were deliriously confident until about lunchtime Monday,” she said. “After that, it got down to the same mundane, gruelling practices that we’ve been working on since July. It was back to the drawing board.”

Since lunchtime Monday, the team’s taken the same serious business, let’s-get-to-it attitude since practices began two months ago, Tyrrell said.

“They’re really back down to brass tacks,” she said.

What’s changed, Tyrrell said, is the fact that like a hidden gem that’s forever theirs to be treasured, the Panthers count one epochal victory over Father Duenas as a special, confidence-boosting moment.

“It was a huge boost,” she said.

So, how do you to reinforce the notion that GW looms as a large task, without bursting the Panthers’ newfound confidence?

“The only thing we can say to them is that GW is a formidable team,” Tyrrell said. “We already know that they are. We know we had some sloppy plays [against Father Duenas], we have to fix them, we have to get back to work. The difference is, we have had this victory.”

Without detailing the “sloppy areas,” Tyrrell said the Panthers have focused on fixing them in practice this week.

“We’re working on all that we recognize as our weaknesses and we’re ironing those out. It’s intelligence. What I want from my team is intelligent practices and intelligent playing.”

Tyrrell also doesn’t want the Panthers worrying about other teams’ pedigrees.

“We have never dwelled on the fact that these teams have been island champions,” she said. “We won’t pay a great deal of attention to that. What we focus on is learning our tactics, polishing our plays.”

No matter what the outcome, the Panthers plan to “leave it all out on the field and see what happens” on Saturday, Tyrrell said. “And no matter what happens on Saturday, it will be back to Square One on Monday, next week and every week.”

Standings

Japan

DODDS-Japan Football League

W L Pct. PF PA

Yokota 1 0 1.000 21 12

Zama American 1 0 1.000 7 6

Nile C. Kinnick 1 1 .500 54 40

Robert D. Edgren 0 1 .000 25 49

Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools

W L Pct. PF PA

Yokota 2 0 1.000 65 12

Zama American 0 0 .000 0 0

Nile C. Kinnick 0 1 .000 12 21

American School In Japan 0 1 .000 0 44

Friday’s game

Zama at Kinnick, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s game

ASIJ at Edgren, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 23

Edgren at Yokota, 1 p.m.

Kinnick at ASIJ, 1 p.m.

South Korea

W L Pct. PF PA

Seoul American 1 0 1.000 21 6

Osan American 0 0 .000 0 0

Taegu American 0 1 .000 6 21

Saturday’s game

Osan American at Seoul American, 2 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 22

Osan American vs. Taegu American at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 7 p.m.

Guam

W L Pct. PF PA

George Washington 1 0 1.000 54 0

Simon Sanchez 1 0 1.000 14 0

Guam High 1 0 1.000 14 7

Father Duenas Memorial 0 1 .000 7 14

John F. Kennedy 0 1 .000 0 14

Southern 0 1 .000 0 54

Friday’s game

Southern at John F. Kennedy, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s games

George Washington vs. Guam High at Andersen Air Force Base, 6 p.m.

Father Duenas vs. Simon Sanchez at John F. Kennedy H.S., Upper Tumon, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 22

George Washington at John F. Kennedy, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 23

Father Duenas at Southern, 10 a.m.

Simon Sanchez vs. Guam High at Ramsey Field, John F. Kennedy High School, Upper Tumon, 7 p.m.

The Top Ten

The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes’ 2006 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 9, points and last season’s final rating, as compiled by Dave Ornauer of Stars and Stripes sports. Ratings are based primarily on teams’ win-loss records, quality of wins, strength of overall roster, point differential, team and individual statistics, strength of schedule and strength of leagues. Maximum rating is 500 points:

Record Pts Pvs

1. Kubasaki (Okinawa) 0-0 464 1

2. George Washington (Guam) 1-0 448 2

3. Seoul American 0-0 436 3

4. Yokota (Japan) 2-0 428 4

5. Kadena (Okinawa) 0-0 416 7

6. Osan American (S. Korea) 0-0 404 9

7. Nile C. Kinnick (Japan) 1-1 396 8

8. Zama American (Japan) 1-0 364 —

9. Guam High 1-0 352 —

10. Simon Sanchez (Guam) 1-0 348 —

Week 1 grid honors

Nile C. Kinnick-Larynzo Abernathy 205 all-purpose yards (176 yards, 2 touchdowns, 26 carries; 29 yards, 3 returns), 1 fumble recovery.

Yokota-Anthony McNeill 295 all-purpose yards, 3 touchdowns (226 yards, 2 touchdowns, 30 carries; 66 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 return; 3 yards, 1 catch), 1 fumble recovery.

Week 2 grid honors

Yokota-Anthony McNeill 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, 28 carries. Peter Weaver 4-for-4, 87 yards, 3 touchdowns. Caiveon thomas 103 all-purpose yards (87 yards, 3 touchdowns, 4 catches; 16 yards, 1 return), 1 interception.

Nile C. Kinnick-Larynzo Abernathy 119 yards, 3 touchdowns, 20 carries. Britton Brown 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery. Jeff Galang 73 yards total offense, 2 touchdowns. Clay Atchley 94 all-purpose yards.

Robert D. Edgren-Josh McDonald 99 yards, 1 touchdown, 24 carries. Zach Latimore 175 yards, 2 touchdowns, 6 returns.

Dave Ornauer's Week 3 outlook

Friday

Japan-Kinnick 17, Zama 10.

Guam-John F. Kennedy 14, Southern 7.

Saturday

Japan-Edgren 11, ASIJ 9.

South Korea-Seoul American 13, Osan American 10.

Guam-George Washington 21, Guam High 12; Father Duenas 18, Simon Sanchez 13.

Last week- 4-2, .667.

This season- 6-2, .750.

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