MANGILAO, Guam – Guam High got plenty of reason to celebrate its homecoming: Capturing the regular-season title and first-round playoff bye for the second straight year in the Interscholastic Football League. The Panthers gained that honor after defending champion Simon Sanchez edged Father Duenas Memorial 25-18 on Saturday at George Washington High School. Guam and Simon Sanchez each finished 5-1, but the Panthers held the tiebreaker edge by virtue of their forfeit win over the Sharks on Aug. 24. “It’s good to be champions again,” Guam head coach Jacob Dowdell said. Most of his players didn’t go to the game; they were attending their homecoming dance at their schoool in Agana Heights, about 15 minutes away. “I think I’ll go to the dance. Check on them. Let them know what happened,” Dowdell said. The first-round bye is huge for the Panthers in their playoff preparation; it gives them an extra week to heal injuries and plan for the winner of the John F. Kennedy vs. George Washington quarterfinal. Guam’s semifinal game will be played either Oct. 18 or 19. “It gives us time to reflect, where we’ve been and where we’re going, game plan, get some rest and get ready for the playoffs,” Greg Jacobs, Dowdell’s longtime assistant, said. Before the playoffs even commence with that JFK vs. GW game on Oct. 11 comes Monday’s IFL coaches meeting, at which the All-Island team will be selected. Dowdell said he feels his senior tandem of quarterback Lorden Aguon and linebacker Tegan Brown have a good shot at being named Players of the Year. “Good things come to those who wait,” he said. Aguon earned Offensive MVP honors last year, while Brown finished second in the Defensive MVP balloting. “L.J’s proved it. Tegan’s proved it,” Dowdell said.

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