Big plays help Mustangs sweep Edgren
Stars and Stripes
TOKYO – Ken Yajima recorded 152 all-purpose yards, caught a 40-yard touchdown pass and intercepted two Robert D. Edgren Eagles passes, while David Hernandez threw three TD passes and Haru Kent scored three times as ASIJ grounded the Eagles 47-14. The game’s last 20 minutes, 37 seconds was played with a running clock.
“The kids played very well. They responded very well” to a 42-7 Yokota thrashing eight days earlier, said longtime coach John Seevers of ASIJ, which evened its record at 3-3 and swept the season series from Edgren (2-5), which lost its second straight. ASIJ beat Edgren 48-18 on Sept. 21 at Misawa Air Base.
Before a throng of nearly 1,000 at Mustang Valley, including ASIJ graduates from as far back as 1978, the Mustangs got contributions on all sides of the ball throughout the contest.
Kent rushed 11 times for 66 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 32 yards and a score. Yajima ran eight times for 38 yards and had 74 yards on four returns in addition to his pickoffs and touchdown catch. Zach Noddin and Kazu Chen each ran for touchdowns during running-clock time.
Hernandez connected on 10 of 13 passes for 209 yards, also finding Drogin James for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Max Linder also had two takeaways, a fumble recovery and an interception. The Mustangs as a team forced six Eagles turnovers and outgained Edgren 413-205.
The Eagles largely played with an eye toward Friday’s showdown at Zama American, which will determine which of the two teams will host the Far East Division II title game on Nov. 10.
The Trojans beat the Eagles 40-26 on Oct. 5 at Misawa Air Base. A Zama win or a loss by 13 points or less gives Zama host rights.
Coach Blaine Miller’s Eagles ran two running plays for every pass play, a bit out of character for a team that does most of its damage in the air. Backup quarterback Leo Austin did throw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Khalil Williams, who had 196 all-purpose yards on eight touches.
“We’re going to have to get a run game if we’re going to win” the D-II title, Miller said. “In the fourth quarter, we established a little, and we have to do that to have a chance against Zama.”
Despite losing its last two games, Edgren’s spirits are still high, Miller said. “They still have something to play for.”
“Edgren has a lot of skills players who are dangerous; Zama will have its hands full,” Seevers said.
ASIJ next hosts Nile C. Kinnick on Oct. 26 and closes its Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools season by entertaining Zama on Nov. 2.