Father Duenas Memorial School Friars football team dominated all aspects of the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam regular season game on Thursday night, but only managed a 1-1 draw against the Harvest Christian Academy Eagles, proving that FD is almost beatable.
Before the second round, in Toto, the Friars held the advantage of the two-game series 1-0. But in that first meeting, where FD beat the Eagles 3-1, Harvest blanked the brown and gold in the second half, proving they could slow down the undefeated Friars.
Twenty-two minutes into Thursday’s game, the Friars’ EJ Sablan redirected a Nainoa Norton header past Harvest goaltender Josiah Jones. After Sablan’s lightly tapped shot fell into the lower right corner of the net, Harvest head coach Kevin Elwell switched goaltenders.
Traven Kaae, who had replaced Jones, played 58 minutes and stopped every shot he faced.
“I felt like the goal should have set the pace,” said Sablan. “For me, I don’t think we played a good game.”
As time ticked by in the first half, a minute after the stoppage time, Harvest’s Justin Guilliod hit Friars goaltender Jacob Toves with a header. Guilliod, with a clear path to the goal, waved his teammate, one of his best friends, Raito Atsuta, to throw the ball in his own way. Greeting the ball over a defender of the Brothers, Guilliod created the tie.
“If I’m being honest I felt the rush and the adrenaline rush of this goal,” said Guilliod. “It was my first goal of the season, and I was – honestly – shocked.”
Guilliod, a 15-year-old sophomore, credited his team with the victory.
“I like our hunger, our commitment. I like our restlessness – our defense is amazing, our offense is even better. Levi Buckwalter, David Thompson, Matt Hodgins, Caleb Elwell, all these guys, they’re amazing on the pitch, and they know what they’re doing.
At halftime, with the game tied 1-1, Sablan and Norton burst onto the pitch. Two minutes after halftime, Norton sent an explosion just over the crossbar. Six minutes later, Kaae saved one of Sablan’s shots, a ball aimed just inside the left goal post.
With two minutes remaining on the clock, the Brothers’ Kane Bamba suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury. Unable to get up and leave the field on his own, the brother was pulled aside and taken in an ambulance.
When play resumed, Sablan was denied two more shooting attempts. Disappointed with his performance and that of the Friars, Sablan knows that FD will have to play better in the playoffs.
“We cannot accept that the ship is playing like this,” he said.
“I think I could have done a lot better. I am not satisfied with this evening. It won’t happen again, I’ll tell you, ”Sablan said.