Post date: Oct 17, 2016 12:48:34 PM

By Robert Balajadia

Forfeits were unfortunately the headlining story of the opening round of the 2016 IIAAG football playoffs with the Southern Dolphins and Sanchez Sharks each giving the FD Friars and GW Geckos a first-round BYE.

The two other opening round games, the JFK Islanders vs. Okkodo Bulldogs and Guam High Panthers vs. Tiyan Titans, will carry on as scheduled.

Friday night, the Islanders hosted the Bulldogs with both teams playing hot-potato with the pigskin in the 4th quarter. Despite the ball switching hands many times in the second half, the Islanders defeated the Bulldogs 16-6 to advance to the semifinals next weekend.

Islander safety Nolan Chamberlain had his best defensive game of the season by intercepting three pass, including an 80-yard return in the 4th quarter. Teammate Tyler Pangelinan also had a big day on defense by hauling in two interceptions of his own.

“I just knew that I needed to make a big play happen to close the game out and it felt great to get that last touchdown for my team,” said Nolan on his big defensive play.

Clinging to a 9-6 lead late in the final period, Islander Chase Spotanski coughed up the rock at his own 35-yard line and Bulldog Mikey De Leon scooped up the loose ball for a short return. Okkodo then gained two first downs to get inside the red zone on run plays to put the pressure on the Islander defense.

With the game on the line, Chamberlain leaped through the middle of his zone coverage and snatched the pass in the air to then go untouched for his big 80+yard return for the game clinching 16-6 score.

Wendy’s Player of the Game Nolan Chamberlain.

JFK’s Justin Camacho scored the games first score in the 1st period from six yards out, followed by a Tyler Pangelinan PAT for the 7-0 lead. Bulldog Curtis Afleje answered back in the 2nd period with a score of his own, but a missed PAT from Bulldogs Jesse Rojas left the score in favor of JFK, 7-6.

JFK struggled to get their offense going after scoring on their opening drive, but Chamberlain explained that they were just out of sync.

“We gained some good yardage, but we just had trouble putting everything together for scoring drives,” said Chamberlain.

The Islanders managed to get a safety on Okkodo in the 3rd period to extend their lead 9-6 before Chamberlain’s late heroics.

The next game for the Islanders is a rematch with the FD Friars whom they faced in the opening week of the season. Chamberlain explained that FD can expect to see a much improved JFK team.

“We’re a much closer family then we were before. We’ve learned so much about each other and that’s only going to help us since we can rely on each other,” stated Chamberlain.