Undermanned Guam looks to carry over last year's momentum
Stars and Stripes | .
published: September 06, 2016
After a rough start, Guam High ended its season last year in near-perfect fashion.
Quarterback Jujuan King pitched the ball to brother Juan, who tossed a halfback pass to Xavier Jones for a touchdown that ended the Panthers’ 20-2 third-place game victory over Southern last Oct. 30.
Fast-forward to the start of the 2016 season, the island’s 50th high school football campaign, which begins Friday with the Panthers hosting Tiyan.
Two of those three key players have graduated, along with multipurpose player Trip Chauret, and the Panthers are left with a pocketful of question marks – particularly a line that’s big, but green.
“If you don’t have a beast of an offensive line down here, you’re just not going to last,” sixth-year coach Jacob Dowdell said. “That’s the key to winning the championship here. You try to put it all together.”
The good news: Dowdell does have a couple of solid anchors in the line, each 6-foot sophomores: C.J. Sharp (280 pounds) and Ronald Leuma (310).
They go with other interior workhorses Avery Fernandez, a senior middle linebacker, plus junior defensive end Makoa Bamba and Dowdell’s son, Jaelyn, a 5-11, 175-pound sophomore center.
The bad news: The Panthers still bring thinner numbers to the table, compared to the two teams that played for the island title last year, perennial power George Washington and reigning champion Father Duenas Memorial, which each bring 60 to 70 players.