Guam set for an unusual spring football season
Stars and Stripes March 31, 2023
At long last, and after several delays, high school football season begins Friday on Guam.
And with the season’s start, postponed from last fall to this spring due to equipment problems affecting several teams, Guam High continues its process of rebuilding an offensive and defensive line depleted by graduations.
“This is the biggest rebuild we’ve had in the line” since the 2007 and 2008 seasons when the Panthers went a combined 10-15, said Jacob Dowdell, in his 10th season as coach at Guam High and his 31st season of coaching overall.
His Panthers finished second in the Interscholastic Football League regular season and playoffs in late fall of 2021, the IFL’s last complete season.
That season was delayed from its usual August to October schedule because of lingering restrictions due to the COVID pandemic. The 2020 season was canceled altogether due to the onset of coronavirus.
Pads and helmets didn’t make it to Guam in time for several teams to be able to begin in the fall. And the first week of scheduled games, March 24-25, was delayed a week.
The season starts Friday and ends with the IFL title game on May 27.
The Panthers have a wealth of skill-position players returning from the Guam High team that lost the last IFL championship game 26-8 to Father Duenas Memorial.
That bounty includes junior quarterback Aaron Johnson, the island’s champion track and field sprinter. Junior DeShawn Beard returns in the backfield, and junior twins Cameron and Justin Brantley anchor the defense at outside linebacker.
But only Troy Camacho, a senior center and nose tackle, returns in the line.
“We just have to grow the young ones,” Dowdell said. “You have to be creative. Keep the quarterback protected. One advantage is that we have the fastest kid on island at quarterback, and we’re going to need every bit of it for him to stay upright.”
The Panthers begin their season Saturday at 7 p.m. at George Washington. The rematch of the 2021 championship game against Father Duenas is scheduled for April 21 at 7 p.m.