Sports — 28 August 2005 — by E-Jay Hill

It all started with a 20-minute half format, with no intermission. That soon had to be abandoned because of time constraints. The organizers decided to go into 15-minute halves with no intermission.

In Game One, the new entrants to the league, FC Belize, couldn?t put it together. It was obvious that they had not practiced as a team before the marathon. That led to their losing 2?0 to a strong Mango Creek FC squad that consists of former Sagitun players with some new faces as supporting cast. Gilmore Palacio split the uprights six minutes into the second half after the half ended in a scoreless deadlock. A very promising rookie, Deon Burgess, nailed down the win two minutes before the long whistle in the 38thminute.

Mango Creek, besides the Muschamps, has Robbie Cadle back along with the aforementioned rookie, Deon Burgess, the son of Orville ?Spiderman? Burgess and nephew to ?Big Bad? Bent Burgess. The young Burgess told Amandala Sports, ?I was waiting for the opportunity.? A statement that was echoed by last season?s coach of the year, head coach Jorge Nunez, who coached the Calcutta Bulls last year and is now in Independence with the new franchise.

Game Two had two Cayo District teams, Cayo Avengers and Belmopan United, going at it. In the end Belmopan United took an easy 3-nil win over a weak looking Cayo Avengers. Belmopan United have the core of Builders? Hardware Bandits returning to their stomping grounds. Locho Coye is still holding it down in the sweeper position. Super midfielder, Deris ?Columbia? Benavides, Deon Frazier, Kenneth Budna, Lincoln and Oliver Wiltshire, and certainly a extremely talented rookie in Lionel Frazier, (Deon Frazier?s brother), will be bringing much excitement to the field.

Oliver Wiltshire got it started in the 7thminute followed by ?Columbia? Benavides in the 26thminute. Gary Wiltshire provided the last screws with his goal in the 39thminute.

Game Three, which was the battle for early bragging rights in Griga, was between New Site Erei, featuring a re-energized and comfortable looking ?Tilliman? Nunez getting an easy 2?1 win over Wagiya FC. New Site toyed with Wagiya, who for the most part appeared confused and out of sync. Erei, on the other hand, displayed much better ball handling and ball possession in the win.

Both New Site goals were spectacular. The first one came from ?Tilliman? dialing long distance from outside the 18-yard box in the 5thminute of play, and the other came from Harrison ?Kafu? Roches setting off a bomb past the Wagiya goalkeeper. Wagiya?s goal came courtesy of a New Site foul against Honduran import, Edwin Ferunda, inside the box. Ferunda rose to the occasion to place a low grass cutter past Woodrow West.

The fourth of seven games had Calcutta Bulls shutting out Benque Viejo D.C. United 2 nil, giving them a rude welcome to the BPFL. Rene Rodriguez got on board with the first goal and former Juventus midfielder Merlin Tek provided the other.

You would think that a big name team like San Pedro Seahawks would easily dispose of Hankook Verdes in Game Five, but looks are deceiving. San Pedro, with John Ismael Trapp, Orland Lyons, Vallan Symns, Yellowman Rowley, Lionheart Hendricks, Charlie Slusher and Elroy ?Bibb? Kuylen, had to go to the penalty spot to get their win after playing to a nil-nil draw in regulation. The first shot at penalty by Hankook Verdes? Marlon Meza went wide and that was Verdes? mistake, because Oliver ?Lionheart? Hendricks, John Trapp, Charlie Slusher, Elroy Kuylen and Vallan Symns all converted for the 5 ? 4 win while for Verdes, Jose Lara, David Trapp, Richard ?Cheatie? Jimenez and ?Cheats?? baby brother, Daniel Jimenez, made theirs.

A replay of the FFB?s ?A? Tournament championship came up as Game Six, and that too went into a penalty shootout, with the Placencia Pirates taking it 7?6 in sudden death. Harry Neal, Ashley Torres and Keon Leslie converted in the first round while Elias Doniaver and John Glen missed for the Pirates. For Boca, Wilmer Garcia, Marvin Alvarado and Sandro Centeno made theirs – Roberto Bernardez and Julio ?Chucky? Valle missed. In sudden death Dalton Eiley, Mervin Leslie, Alex Jones and Kenroy Hanson converted for Placencia while Walter Jimenez, Jose Lemus and Isaias Reyes scored for Boca, but Victor Morales missed and gave the Pirates a ticket to advance to the next round.

Kremandala FC took the field for Game Seven with their new head coach, Charles Hyde, Jr., who told Amandala Sports that he has been brought out of retirement back to the field after doing a brief stint with Coke Milpros in the eighties before the arrival of head coach Winston Michael.

Deon McCaulay got Kremandala on the scoreboard early, striking in the 5thminute, but Freddy Tun equalized for Juventus 4 minutes later in the ninth. It was a 1?1 tie at the break. Five minutes into the second half, Kremandala?s Paul Nunez unleashed a bomb for the go-ahead goal and Dennis ?Girl Problem? Serrano blew out the candle in the 17thminute of the second half, for the 3?1 win over the defending BPFL champions Juventus. Kremandala?s Mark ?Kelo? Leslie, who was out with an undisclosed injury, didn?t see game time.

In the playoffs Mango Creek FC shut out Belmopan 1 nil on a goal from Marcos ?McGoo? Souto, who had originally appeared in the opening ceremony with the San Pedro Seahawks, but went back to Mango Creek due to contractual release problems. With that win, Mango Creek advanced to take the first semi-final spot.

New Site Erei also advanced to the semis, on a 1 nil win after Harrison ?Kafu? Roches struck ten minutes into the game.

San Pedro Seahawks were once again forced to the penalty spot to advance – they defeated Hankook Verdes in the shootout. Placencia Pirates sent Kremandala FC packing out of the semis, also in penalty shootouts.

The semis and the championship were decided from the penalty spot. Mango Creek advanced to the final round, defeating New Site Erei, 5?3, and San Pedro Seahawks were also sent packing, losing 4?3 to the Placencia Pirates, setting up a mid-south marathon championship game.

Mango Creek FC lost to Placencia, 3?1, in penalty kicks. In the championship game Gilmore Palacio was the only player converting for Mango Creek, with Marcos Souto, Darren Hinds and Hilly Muschamp missing, and Placencia?s Elais Doniaver, Ashley Torres and Harry Neal all shaking the nets to take the marathon championship to the Placencia Peninsula. Congratulations, Placencia!!

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