UPPER TUMON, Guam – Earlier this week, Lewis Harris was accorded all-island honorable-mention Offensive MVP and second-team safety honors. On Saturday, the Guam senior gave an indication why he was so honored, even in a playoff defeat.
Harris caught 12 passes for 185 yards and recorded 16 tackles in his final game as a Panther, a 20-13 Interscholastic Football League quarterfinal loss at John F. Kennedy.
The Islanders move on to the IFL semifinals next Saturday against Father Duenas Memorial, which eliminated Southern 41-6 in Saturday’s other quarterfinal. Okkodo visits regular-season champion George Washington in the other semifinal.
Trailing 13-0 early, the Panthers rallied to tie it 13-13, but made what Panthers coach Jacob Dowdell termed young mistakes, a couple of penalties and missed tackles that allowed the Islanders to pull ahead in the second half.
“It is what it is,” Dowdell said. “I’m proud of the effort that everyone put forth. When we were playing, who we were playing, these guys showed up and played hard.”
While Lewis exited with a big game, versatile sophomore Juan King also put up some big numbers. Playing on both sides of the ball, King was 18-for-23 passing for 243 yards, picked off a pass and forced a fumble.
“He was all over the field. He showed why he’s such a good utility player,” Dowdell said.
It’s the earliest the Panthers have been eliminated for IFL title contention since 2005 and the first time Guam (0-7) has endured a winless season.
But Dowdell, ever the optimist, said he viewed the outcome as a launching pad for future success.
“We get one choice when we wake up: Live and enjoy,” Dowdell said. “I’m super proud of these kids. Putting up a good fight with a chance to win at the end. We’re looking forward to spring football and we’ll just keep building from there.”