Kinnick bounces back to edge ASIJ
American School In Japan Mustangs running back Zach Noddin looks for running room between teammates and Nile C. Kinnick defenders during Friday's Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools football game at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Kinnick won 13-6.
Stars and Stripes
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – Prior to coach Dan Joley’s arrival three years ago, a 42-0 loss like the one Nile C. Kinnick suffered to Kadena a week ago might have demoralized the Red Devils for the rest of the season.
But not this year.
“I’m really proud of the way the kids have responded,” Joley said Friday after Dustin Wilson rushed for two touchdowns and the defense picked off three passes in Kinnick’s 13-6 victory over American School In Japan at Yokosuka’s Berkey Field.
Joley credited the play of Wilson, the defense and in particular the offensive line, which had been manhandled against Kadena (Kinnick was held to minus-10 yards in the loss to the Panthers).
On Friday, Kinnick (3-1) did not throw a pass and spread the rushing wealth around to the tune of 250 yards. Wilson rushed seven times for 64 yards, including touchdowns of 18 and 7 yards.
“I took the heat for the loss to Kadena,” Joley said, adding that he had the “wrong game plan. So after I apologized to the team on Monday, I told them we were going back to what we do right. I looked at each of the offensive linemen and told them this will be won or lost with you. And they responded.”
Marcus Boatwright added 53 yards on nine carries, and had 10 tackles plus an interception on defense that set up Wilson’s game-winning 7-yard TD late in the third quarter. Quinton Holden added 65 yards on 12 attempts.
Lineman Sam McSwain had one of the three interceptions, returning it 36 yards to the 20 to set up Wilson’s first score. Marcel Holden intercepted a pass to seal the victory. Dakota Rogers had eight tackles and Alex Banks six tackles plus a sack.
“Wilson put this game on his back. He was awesome,” Joley said.
Coming a week after ASIJ’s heartbreaking 27-21 home loss to Yokota, the Mustangs also coughed up a fumble on their first possession after they’d driven to Kinnick’s 10-yard line and appeared ready to draw first blood. The Mustangs dropped to 0-2, their worst start since going winless in 2007.
“Kinnick played great,” ASIJ coach Craig Karnitz said. “They were effective, especially on the ground. They deserve a lot of credit coming back after a loss like that. He (Joley) had them ready to play. We made mistakes and they capitalized on those mistakes.”
Taichi Nishiwaki scored ASIJ’s lone touchdown on a pass from David Hernandez that tied the game 6-6 in the third quarter.
Kinnick next hosts Zama American while ASIJ entertains Robert D. Edgren on Friday.