Third time was nearly the charm for the CNMI Sharks who were seconds away from a win before Team Guahan stole the victory in the end of their friendly match, 16-14, last Saturday at the CPA Airport Field.
The host team was up, 14-10, with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Guam on third down when quarterback Daray Davis and wide receiver Jon Mayo teamed up in the game-winning play. Davis after taking the snap checked on the field and just before CNMI Shark’s defense ganged up on him, he threw a 70-yard pass to Mayo, who was sprinting to the right sideline and caught the ball just past the 20-yard mark. The Sharks’ Alex Standish tried to tackle Mayo, but the latter was too quick and run to the end zone for his second touchdown in the game. Mayo’s first TD came in the opening quarter off a 76-yard pass from Davis and Team Guahan also scored on a try for an 8-6 advantage. The CNMI, on the other hand, drew its first TD from Ben Jones, who scored off a 37 sweep.
Standish gave the Commonwealth its second TD, which came with less than a minute remaining in the closely fought match, to lift the home team to the 2-point advantage. The touchdown was also recorded on the third down with Sharks quarterback Jerome Norita taking the snap and running to his left to avoid Team Guahan defenders before throwing to Standish. Standish, who used his height advantage to get the pass against two Team Guahan defenders, caught the ball nearly in the middle within the end zone
After Standish’s TD, the CNMI faltered on its two-point conversion, while Team Guahan was left with 50 seconds to put up a final stand. The visiting team then had an incomplete pass in the first down with Emmanuel Withers losing the handle, while in the second down, Davis’ throw was short and got to no one. The two missed opportunities gave Team Guahan 36 seconds to orchestrate another play and this time Davis found his target in Mayo.
“He is my go to guy. With the time winding down, I know I have to make a move and be accurate on my pass. I saw the defense coming to me and at the same time, I saw Jon running,” Davis said.
“Somebody has to step up with the game on the line and I am happy that I was able to do that. After I got the ball, I knew someone is chasing me, so I gave all the speed I got,” said Mayo. “This is the biggest TD that I scored so far.”
After Mayo’s dagger, the CNMI Sharks had only 22 seconds to pull a miracle, but failed as they made three incomplete passes, allowing the visiting squad to escape with the win.
Team Guahan coach Joey Guerrero lauded his players for making things happen in the closing seconds of the match.
“It’s not over until you hear the final buzzer. We designed that play and it worked. Our players did not give up until the end,” said Guerrero, who tipped his hat to the CNMI Sharks for giving his team a run for its money.
“They have improved a lot. The players worked together well. They really gave as a good game. If they will continue to play like this I will not be surprised to see them one day competing in a high-level tournament and winning, too,” Leon Guerrero said.
Sharks head coach John Blanco, despite the sorry loss, praised his players.
“Keep you heads high. You did a very good job out there and played your hearts out,” said Blanco.
Last Saturday’s 2-point loss was the closest defeat the Sharks absorbed against Team Guahan, which is composed of season players from various teams in Guam. Team Guahan won in 2014, 37-14, and 20-0, last year.