Fultz’s 3 TDs help Hansen oust Kadena; Yokota clinches North
Kadena Dragons quarterback Matthew Fuller is brought down by Camp Hansen Wolfpack defenders Kentrell McCoy (58), Derrick Williams (94), Kyle Haupt and Joseph Jackson during the South Division quarterfinal in the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League playoffs on July 7, 2012, at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. The Wolfpack routed the Dragons 30-0.
James Fultz hadn’t played in nearly two months, spending time at home to take care of family, and even turned in his gear at one point. A recent conversation with quarterback Daren Monk brought Fultz back to the Camp Hansen Wolfpack on Saturday, with impressive results.
Monk threw touchdown passes of 44, 21 and 38 yards to Fultz, while the Wolfpack defense recorded four sacks and forced five takeaways as Hansen overwhelmed Kadena 30-0 in the first round of the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League’s South Division playoffs.
“He knows the routes, he’s a smart receiver and he and I click well,” said Monk, who enjoyed his finest day of the season, 8-for-14 for 183 yards and four touchdowns, but was also picked off three times.
Meanwhile, Yokota Air Base ended the North Division’s regular season unbeaten (4-0) and earned a first-round playoff bye by edging Misawa Air Base 21-13 at Yokota’s Bonk Field. Misawa (2-2) hosts Yokosuka (0-4) in Saturday’s first-round game; Yokota hosts the winner on July 21.
Camp Hansen 30, Kadena Air Base 0
Saturday’s one-sided verdict was a far cry from the teams’ encounter the previous week, which Hansen (3-3) came back to win 24-8, and Kadena’s 36-6 rout of the Wolfpack on May 12.
Monk and Wolfpack outgoing assistant coach Michael Harris credited a July 4 practice, at which the entire team worked on virtually every aspect of their game. “That practice made the difference,” Harris said.
Hansen scored on its first four possessions, aided by a shanked punt and two fumble recoveries. Hasani Ferraro caught a 28-yard touchdown pass and Michael Dudley ran 1 yard for Hansen’s other scores.
Fultz had four catches for 116 yards and Ferraro two for 27. Kyle Haupt and Nicholas Placke each had two sacks and Placke a fumble recovery.
Safety Jason Sirmons picked off two Monk passes and Emanuel Griffin ran 11 times for 111 yards for the Dragons (2-3). Reginald Mebane and Randall Machuca were each ejected late in the fourth quarter.
The ejections enraged Kadena coach Bob Friend, who felt the referees let the game get “out of control,” but gave credit to the Wolfpack. “They showed up to play. They deserved to win,” Friend said.
Yokota Air Base 21, Misawa Air Base 13
Chris Ekstrom did it on both sides of the line, stripping the ball out of a Misawa players hands that John Devine covered in the end zone, running 3 yards for a score and also intercepting a pass. “He made key plays at the right time,” Warriors coach Selwyn Jones said.
Darone Frierson had Yokota’s other TD, a 1-yard keeper. The Jets replied with Douglas Brown’s 65-yard scoring pass to Tony Delin and Jonathan Segarra’s 30-yard touchdown run, in what Jones and Jets coach Jeremy Sanders called a “typical black-and-blue North Division game.”
“Definitely one that lived up to the name,” Jones said.
“Knock-down, drag-out, shoot-’em-out,” said Sanders, adding that his team is primed to handle Yokosuka, then Yokota. “We have something to look forward to.”