ASIJ improves to 2-0 as Yokota struggles continue
Yokota's J.J. Henderson takes a touchdown catch into the end zone leaving American School In Japan defenders in his wake during Friday's Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools football game at Yokota Air Base, Japan. ASIJ won 42-20.
Stars and Stripes
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – A balanced attack featuring the arm of veteran David Hernandez and the continued rise of their new backfield kept American School In Japan on the winning track Friday.
Hernandez threw and ran for a touchdown each, Sam Linder scored twice and Ryan Murphy and Antonio Malacad once each as the Mustangs galloped to a 42-20 victory over Yokota at the Panthers’ Bonk Field.
“It was fun. We don’t get to do this very often,” said veteran Mustangs defensive coach John Seevers of the victory over Yokota. “We have a good bunch of players, some good senior leadership and good commitment from everybody. Yokota’s very young, they’re down a little bit, but they’ll be a good team next year.”
ASIJ improved to 2-0, while the Panthers lost their third straight, their longest losing streak since 2009, and fell to 1-3.
Malacad rushed 12 times for 113 yards, Murphy 16 for 110 and Linder 14 for 79. Hernandez ran three times for 31 yards and was 5-for-9 for 141 yards in the air, including a 31-yard TD pass to Connor Hadden. ASIJ intercepted three passes and Ed Pond led the defense with nine tackles.
Yokota has gone to the air this season more than it has since the 1986 season, the last time the Panthers’ offense tilted more to the air than the ground.
Marcus Henagan was 22-for-33 for 281 yards, including touchdown passes of 29 yards to J.J. Henderson, who caught eight passes for 146 yards, had 33 yards on seven carries and 116 yards on five returns.
“We were having success throwing the ball,” Yokota coach Tim Pujol said. “We definitely leaned heavily on the passing game tonight.”
A.J. Leake caught four passes for 86 yards, Ke’Ondre Davis caught a 5-yard TD pass and finished with 64 yards on five catches and Nick Peterson had 84 yards on five receptions.
“Those four kids all caught and can run after they catch the ball,” Pujol said. “We’re all interested to see how that develops over the season. Our tackling improved over last week, I was pleased with that.”
Yokota next hosts Kubasaki on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a rematch of the last two Far East Division I title games, each won by the Panthers by vast margins. ASIJ travels to Misawa Air Base for a Friday date with Robert D. Edgren at 7:30 p.m.