Kinnick keeps slim playoff hopes alive
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – Sometimes, the seed of victory gets planted in a previous defeat.
That’s what coach Dan Joley expressed after quarterback Dustin Wilson ran for three touchdowns Saturday and Nile C. Kinnick outgained Seoul American 353-157 in a 27-0 shutout Saturday at Yokosuka’s Berkey Field.
The win kept the Red Devils alive for a berth in the Far East Division I title game Nov. 17, and continued the momentum the team had built eight days earlier in a 49-20 loss at Yokota, in which Kinnick scored all its points in the second half.
“I think these kids know they can play football, after that second half last week,” Joley said. “We feel good about what’s going on right now. The sky’s the limit for these guys.”
The Red Devils (4-3 overall, 1-2 Division I) need help if they’re to secure a D-I title-game berth, needing wins at Kubasaki on Oct. 13 and Yokota on Oct. 19 and for Kadena, Kubasaki and Yokota to knock each other off.
But Joley says anything is possible. “We built some momentum in that second half last week,” he said.
Seoul American (2-4, 0-4) is out of the chase. Especially when the first half of Saturday’s game ended 0-0, Falcons coach Jim Davis – a former Kinnick player and assistant – said Kinnick stood the better chance.
“I was worried about their no-quit attitude” during the Yokota game, Davis said. “I knew we had to get a jump. If the game stayed tight, I knew we were in trouble.”
Each team had chances in the first half, Kinnick reaching the Falcons’ goal line without scoring on its first series and Seoul American getting as far as the Kinnick 17 later in the quarter. Myles Haynes appeared to take an interception for a Falcons touchdown, but it was called back on a penalty.
“I told the guys at halftime, the only team that’s going to beat us is ourselves,” Joley said. “We had turnovers, we didn’t capitalize, but we’d outgained them. It was a matter of finishing, just like with Yokota.”
Wilson broke the ice with a 3-yard scoring run, set up by Quinton Holden’s 32-yard left-end scamper late in the third quarter. On the first possession of the final period, Wilson took a keeper 47 yards for a touchdown.
Following an interception by LaTendre Paylor, Holden raced 28 yards for a TD. Wilson capped the scoring with a 1-yard sneak with 6:08 left. Kinnick scored its 27 points in less than 12 minutes.
Holden had 110 yards on 14 carries and Wilson 101 on 11 attempts. Marvin Newbins and Kai Warford each had takeaways for Kinnick. Curtis Davis recovered a fumble for the Falcons, who got 111 yards on 20 carries from Ronald Dogan.
“Coach Davis has a hard-hitting team. That’s a good team,” Joley said of the Falcons.