Kadena stays in hunt by dropping Seoul
Stars and Stripes
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea – Justin Sego gave Kadena just enough to overcome Seoul American for a second time this season.
The junior returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown and rushed 20 for another and the Panthers survived two lost fumbles on the goal line and two touchdowns called back on penalties to win 13-6 Saturday at Seoul American’s Sims Field.
With the win, Kadena leaped into second place in the chase for berths in the Nov. 9 Division I title game. They’re even with Kubasaki at 2-1 in D-I, but the Panthers hold the superior point differential. The Falcons (1-3) lost their third straight and fell to 0-2 in D-I. Nile C. Kinnick leads at 2-0.
Coming off a bye week following a 49-26 comeback win over Kubasaki on Sept. 13, Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza said he’d feared his team might be rusty.
“Not to take anything away from Seoul American, they played aggressively and had good execution, but we played our worst game of the season,” Mendoza said. “It was like we hadn’t played at all. Coming off a bye week, it’s tough to come back with razor sharpness. We’ll go back home and get back to work.”
Sego’s punt-return TD came after the Falcons’ first possession, and his rushing score came in the second quarter. John Stoll got the Falcons on the board with his 3-yard TD at the start of the fourth quarter. Stoll finished with 94 yards on 15 carries and Desmond Patton caught 11 passes for 59 yards.
The Falcons had other chances to score, but were stopped twice short of the goal line by Kadena.
“Our defense really matured during this game, a positive to take into next week,” Mendoza said.
The defeat leaves the Falcons with what coach Jim Davis termed a “slim chance” at a slot in the D-I title game.
“We’ve improved a lot,” Davis said. “It’s tough when you’ve dropped two already, especially when Kadena, Kubasaki and Kinnick are playing so well.”
Kadena next entertains two-time defending D-I champion Yokota on Saturday; kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Ryukyu Middle School. The Falcons are off for two weeks before traveling to Yokota on Oct. 19; kickoff is at 7 p.m.