MANGILAO, Guam – For the third time in four years, Guam High can do no better than finish third in the island’s Interscholastic Football League.
Solomon White ran for a touchdown and passed for another to give the Panthers a 16-7 halftime lead. But George Washington rallied for a third-quarter touchdown and a field goal to edge the Panthers 18-16 in Saturday’s semifinal at Geckos Field.
“We had opportunities in the end to win it; we just didn’t execute, and they did,” coach Jacob Dowdell said.
Hurting the Panthers’ chances in the second half was losing lineman Ronald Leuma to cramps, forcing Dowdell to use linemen about half of Leuma’s 300-pound size and shy on experience.
“We have enough to get to the playoffs. We just don’t finish,” Dowdell said. With the defeat, Guam hosts John F. Kennedy in the third-place game Friday; kickoff is at 7 p.m. The Geckos face defending champion Father Duenas Memorial on Saturday in the championship Bamboo Bowl.
The Panthers won the third-place game in 2012, 2013 and 2015 after winning the league title in 2010, then losing the final in 2011.
White finished 12-for-31 for 150 yards, including his 65-yard touchdown pass to Juan King Jr. King and Avery Fernandez led the Panthers with 17 tackles each.
“I’m proud of the way we played,” Dowdell said. “Everyone played hard to the end. Hat’s off to GW. We knew we had to get up on them early.”