Sharber leaves sidelines, leads Foster to win
Camp Foster Bulldogs coach-quarterback Gerald Sharber looks for room to run against Camp Hansen Wolfpack defenders Nicholas Placke, Matthew Kearnely and Kyle Haupt during Saturday's U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League South Division championship game at Camp Foster, Okinawa. The defending champion Bulldogs blanked the Wolfpack 32-0 to advance to their third Torii Bowl league title game in four years. Pressed into emergency service after starter Sanford James went down with an Achilles' tendon injury, Sharber, who had not suited up since playing in 1998 for Western Kentucky, went 8-for-10 for 134 yards and a touchdown.
Who says they forget?
Fourteen years after last donning a uniform and pads, Foster coach Gerald Sharber replaced injured starting quarterback Sanford James and sparkled, throwing and running for a touchdown each as the Bulldogs routed Camp Hansen 32-0 Saturday.
The win gave the Bulldogs (5-0) their third U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League South Division title in four years, as well as host rights to the league’s Torii Bowl title game on Aug. 4 against the North champion to be determined.
Misawa Air Base (3-2) took the first step toward that goal, getting two rushing touchdowns from Douglas Brown and beating Yokosuka Naval Base 22-6. The Jets travel to North regular-season champion Yokota on Saturday; the winner visits Foster in the Torii Bowl.
South Division championship
Camp Foster 32, Camp Hansen 0
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – “I’m too old for this,” said Sharber, 36, who last suited up for Western Kentucky in 1998. He had nary a practice under his belt for Foster, but determined that replacing James, who suffered an Achilles’ tendon injury, was the best course of action.
“When he (James) walked over and sat down, I said to myself, ‘OK, time to go to work,’” Sharber said.
“No better person to do the job,” said James, who was 2-for-4 for 34 yards before limping off the field after Foster’s first series.
Sharber responded crisply, overcoming six sacks to go 8-for-10 for 134 yards, including a 32-yard TD pass to Allein Powell. He also sneaked 3 yards for a score, Anthony Glover rushed for two touchdowns and Tony Moses took a reverse 68 yards for a TD.
The Bulldogs defense did the rest, sacking quarterback Daren Monk six times and forcing four turnovers. Erwin Johnson recorded 2½ sacks, Michael Stevenson, Sherman Vicks and Julio Alonzo each picked off passes and Zack Zindler recovered a fumble.
“Bulldog defense. Lights out,” linebacker Rohan Paul said of a unit that held the Wolfpack to 82 net yards. “This is championship defense.”
Monk was 9-for-26 for 94 yards. Derrick Williams recovered a fumble and had a sack while Nicholas Placke recorded 2½ sacks for Hansen (3-4).
North Division semifinal
Misawa Air Base 22, Yokosuka Naval Base 6
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Brown rushed for touchdowns of 75 and 5 yards and Brian Childress added a 15-yard run as the Jets advanced to the North Division final against Yokota for the third straight year.
And coach Jeremy Sanders said he would try to bring more than the 14 players he took to the Jets’ last regular-season meeting at Yokota, a 21-13 loss on July 7. “We’re going to get the logistics of it ready and try to make it,” he said.
Aaron Bradley scored the Jets’ other points with a 20-yard field goal.
Yokosuka (0-6), which won the first five titles and seven of eight after the league went to its current format in 2000, lost its 16th straight game, regular and postseason. It last won a league game 6-0 over Misawa on May 15, 2010.