ASIJ romps past Yokota to end perfect season
Stars and Stripes
TOKYO - For the first time in more than three decades, American School In Japan football has put together an undefeated season.
David Hernandez passed for three touchdowns and rushed for one more and Ryan Murphy, Zach Noddin and Antonio Malacad each rushed for touchdowns as the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools champion Mustangs routed Yokota 49-19 on Friday in their season finale.
It’s the Mustangs’ first unbeaten campaign since going 6-0 in the 1981 season, and the win capped ASIJ’s first season sweep of the Panthers since 2009. Yokota suffered its first losing season at 4-5 in the 15-year Tim Pujol coaching era.
“It feels fantastic,” defensive coordinator John Seevers said, crediting the work of the team’s other two coaches, Craig Karnitz and Roy Tomlinson, for cobbling together “one of the better teams we’ve had at ASIJ.”
Hernandez was 10-for-16 for 156 yards and ran four times for 39 yards. On the season, he accounted for 25 touchdowns, completing 68 of 124 passes for 1,259 yards and rushing for 479 yards on 50 carries.
The Mustangs combined for 324 yards on 45 carries. Murphy had 96 yards on 14 tries, Noddin 53 on 10 and Sam Linder 62 on eight. Brandon Rogers caught five passes for 70 yards and a score and Nic Robison added a touchdown catch.
Ed Pond, one of three ASIJ senior defenders headed for a service academy next fall along with Ansel Marsh and Ryan Glasenapp, led the defense with 10 tackles. Hernandez recovered a fumble and Mizuki Shumsky intercepted a pass.
“ASIJ played a flawless game,” Pujol said, noting that the Mustangs didn’t turn the ball over and punted just once. “They did a good job defensively. We made a few mistakes and they took advantage of each of them. They were fantastic. They’re a really good team.”
Yokota, which still has a very remote chance of defending its back-to-back Far East Division I titles, got 158 yards and all of its three touchdowns on 20 carries from sophomore J.J. Henderson. He finished the season with 1,218 yards and 18 TDs on 157 attempts.
Nick Pederson, another sophomore, added 62 yards on eight carries for Yokota, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. Marcus Henagan was 15-for-24 for 142 yards, Ke’Ondre Davis caught six passes for 58 yards and A.J. Leake four for 62.
“They’re definitely an improved team from the last time we played them,” Seevers said of a 42-20 road win last month.