Paylor runs wild as Kinnick breaks Yokota hex
Nile C. Kinnick sophomore running back Dre Paylor eludes a Yokota defender during Friday's DODDS Japan-Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools Division I football game at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Paylor rushed for a Japan-record 371 yards on 30 carries and scored four times as the Red Devils won 55-27, their first win over the Panthers since Oct. 16, 1998.
Stars and Stripes
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – He’s only a sophomore, yet Dre Paylor has run wild in the first three games of the DODDS Japan football season. And coach Dan Joley believes the best is yet to come.
“Dre is a special person who’s got such incredible upside; I have to kick myself to remind me that he’s only a sophomore,” Joley said after Paylor broke the Japan single-game rushing record and scored four touchdowns in Kinnick’s landmark 55-27 win Friday over Yokota.
It was the first win for the Red Devils against the Panthers since a 28-0 shutout Oct. 16, 1998, also at Berkey Field, a span of 5,439 days.
“It’s over and I couldn’t be happier,” Joley said, citing players such as seniors Ian O’Brien and Dustin Wilson who’ve endured many games on the other end of such scores.
“For them to be a part of this … they believed when we went to Camp Fuji” for a week of conditioning and training in August “and they never turned away.”
Wilson, the starting quarterback for three years, called Friday’s victory a great moment for the school. “Football sets the tone, it floods into other sports,” he said. “This wasn’t just about us 20 guys, but the whole school.”
Joley credited the play of the offensive line for allowing Wilson and Paylor among others to do their thing.
“They were phenomenal,” Joley said. “They (Yokota) lined up eight in the box and we pushed them all over the field.”
Yokota, decimated by graduation last June, is under .500 in DODDS Japan for the first time since the start of the 2002 season and it’s the first time in 15 years the Panthers have started 0-2 in the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools.
Friday’s game turned into a pitched battle of super sophomores, Paylor and Yokota’s J.J. Henderson and Marcus Henagan, as well as seniors Wilson and Yokota receiver A.J. Leake.
Paylor finished with 371 yards on 30 carries and four touchdowns, breaking the Japan mark of 362 set by Kinnick’s Larynzo Abarnathy seven seasons ago. Paylor has 782 yards and eight touchdowns on 78 carries in three games this season.
It was the third-highest single-game total in Pacific history; David Smalls of Seoul American rushed for a record 421 yards against Osan American, also in 2006. Simon Sanchez's Corey Dunlap-Buckmon is No. 2 with 384 yards in a 2001 game.
Wilson rushed nine times for 116 yards and three touchdowns and was 2-for-6 for 15 yards and a score. Paylor also had nine tackles - two for losses - plus an interception, while Tyler Shilton added 12 tackles, three for losses. Greg Bacon recovered a fumble.
Kinnick scored the first two times it had the ball before Yokota replied with a touchdown late in the first quarter. Kinnick then scored twice, leading 30-6 before the Panthers mounted a charge and got within 36-21 late in the third period before the Red Devils pulled away.
Henderson finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and 216 all-purpose yards. Henagan posted the Panthers’ highest passing totals in coach Tim Pujol’s 14-plus years, going 11-for-22 for 207 yards and ran eight times for 42 yards. Leake caught six passes for 159 yards with two TDs.
Despite the defeat, Pujol said he was pleased with those performances, in particular Henagan’s.
“Weren’t they great?” Pujol said. “A lot of good things happened for them. I was so proud of Marcus. So much to build on, but so much to work on.”
Kinnick next visits Seoul American on Saturday; kickoff is at 2 p.m. Yokota hosts American School In Japan on Friday; kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Rushing record book
Top 10 single-game rushing performances in Pacific high school football history:
David Smalls, Seoul American Falcons, 421 yards, 29 carries, Oct. 4, 2006, 58-32 win over Osan American Cougars.
Corey Dunlap-Buckmon, Simon Sanchez Sharks, Guam, 384 yards, 28 carries, Oct. 27, 2001, 66-0 win over John F. Kennedy Islanders.
Dre Paylor, Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils, Japan, 371 yards, 30 carries, Sept. 6, 2013, 55-27 win over Yokota Panthers.
Laryzno Abernathy, Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils, Japan, 362 yards, 28 carries, Oct. 20, 2006, 34-6 win over Zama American Trojans.
Corey Dunlap-Buckmon, Simon Sanchez Sharks, Guam, 351 yards, 26 carries, Nov. 9, 2001, 84-6 win over Guam High Panthers.
Ronald Dogan, Seoul American Falcons, 350 yards, 16 carries, Sept. 27, 2012, 47-18 win over Osan American Cougars.
Larynzo Abernathy, Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils, Japan, 343 yards, 39 carries, Oct. 27, 2006, 26-20 win over American School In Japan Mustangs.
Terry Stephens, Osan American Cougars, Korea, 343 yards, 25 carries, Oct. 30, 2004, 40-12 win over Taegu American Warriors.
Donald Wimes, Kubasaki Shogun, Okinawa, 331 yards, 24 carries, Oct. 3, 1986, 50-26 win over Kadena Islanders.
Terry Stephens, Osan American Cougars, Korea, 327 yards, 13 carries, Oct. 2, 2004, 26-0 win over Taegu American Warriors.