Halftime adjustments paid major dividends for the Foster Bulldogs on Saturday, helping them rally past Kadena and clinch the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League’s Southern Division title.
Corey Moore caught two second-half touchdown passes and Jamar Jarrell rushed 62 yards for a score that helped the Bulldogs score 20 unanswered points. They rallied from a 12-3 halftime deficit for a 23-20 victory over the Dragons (1-2).
While the Bulldogs (4-0) sewed up a first-round playoff bye, Yokota showed signs of life after losing its first three games. Last in the Northern Division, the Warriors (1-3) scored 10 unanswered points and held off defending champion Misawa 22-12. The Jets fell to 1-2.
Foster 23, Kadena 20: At Kadena’s McDonald Stadium, the Bulldogs, held to 42 yards in the first half, ditched their spread attack for a conventional pro-I set. They moved Jarrell to tailback in place of injured Dyamon Durant and Jarrell promptly broke his long run that sparked the turnaround.
“Jarrell gave us a boost. He hit the holes pretty hard,” coach Auburne Edwards said. Of his offensive adjustments, he said: “We had to go back to basics.”
Going back to basics gave the Bulldogs “that thing called momentum,” said Moore, who caught a 28-yard TD pass from Frank Bryant following a Michael Redd fumble recovery. “It started with that first touchdown, we started jelling and playing as a team,” Moore said.
Moore later caught a 32-yard scoring pass from Bryant which proved to be the game winner. A day after graduating from Kadena High School, former Panthers star Brandon Harris snagged a 35-yard TD pass that cut it to three points with 2:18 left.
“The Marines came out hungry as a team and we rolled over for them,” Dragons coach Will Cupp said. “Poor execution. We even had calls going our way. We just couldn’t capitalize.”
Foster scored first on a 32-yard Ky Gregory field goal. Kadena seized a 12-3 halftime edge on Jarvis Mitchell’s 25-yard touchdown run and Andre Warren’s 52-yard punt-return TD.
Bryant was 11-for-19 for 142 yards, Moore caught seven passes for 87 yards, Jarrell rushed 14 times for 102 yards and the Bulldogs outgained the Dragons 253-141.
Jimmy Wright was 9-for-21 for 113 yards and Curtis Armstrong recovered a fumble and recorded a quarterback sack for Kadena.
Yokota 22, Misawa 12: At Yokota’s Bonk Field, Frederick Guild intercepted a league-record five passes, two in the end zone and all of which halted Jets’ drives inside Yokota’s 20-yard line. Guild’s feat came a week after Yokota coughed up eight turnovers in a 41-12 loss at Yokosuka (3-0).
Guild “gave our defense a big boost,” coach Herbert Fletcher said. “We came out and played Yokota defense.”
“We threw the ball in bad spots,” Jets coach Jeremy Sanders said, adding that Yokota’s red zone was “our Achilles’ heel.”
Ryan Jones threw a 73-yard scoring pass to Dwayne Mathis, Kevin Fortsen ran 25 yards for a TD and Dell Washington 12 yards for a touchdown and Yokota got a safety when Misawa snapped the ball out of the end zone. Jones finished with 150 yards in the air.
Misawa got touchdown passes of 35 yards to Justin Hampton and 20 to Charles Salter from Deron Frierson, who was 15-for-20 for 152 yards.