Unbeaten Yokota wins showdown with Kubasaki
Yokota quarterback Stanley Speed looks to run around Kubasaki defender Dequan Alderman, right, during Saturday's DODDS Pacific Far East Division I football game at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Yokota won 31-6.
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – It wasn’t pretty, but Morgan Breazell and Yokota football on Saturday solved their Okinawa demons and crept within a victory of hosting next month’s Far East Division I championship game.
Breazell rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, while Ray Butler added 72 yards on 11 tries to go over the 1,000-yard mark this season, carrying the Panthers past Kubasaki 31-6, nearly a mirror image of the 2011 season’s D-I title-game 34-6 victory at Yokota.
Only this victory came at Kubasaki’s Mike Petty Stadium, a house of horrors for Yokota, which had gone 1-4 and had been outscored 170-82 in five previous encounters against Okinawa teams. And the Panthers won despite two turnovers and four major drive-killing penalties.
“Especially when you’re on the road, you have to play a clean game, make every play for positive yards, make no mistakes,” said coach Tim Pujol of the Panthers (9-0 overall, 3-0 D-I). “We got away with some mistakes.”
Now, Yokota needs only to win at home Saturday over Kadena to assure itself of hosting the D-I title game on Nov. 17 for the second straight year. A Kadena win over Yokota would force a three-way tie including Kubasaki and send the DODDS Pacific mathematicians to the calculators to break the tie.
“We knew going into October that we’d have to win all three” of Yokota’s last D-I games to have a chance to host, Pujol said. “We have one more to go to help us achieve that final goal.”
To host the title game, Kubasaki needs help from Kadena in the form of a blowout road victory at Yokota.
“They’re the defending champions, they’re a great program, great guys, a lot of seniors, and they’re always tough to beat,” said coach Fred Bales of Kubasaki (6-2, 3-1). “They were better than us tonight. We had to play mistake-free ball. We made a couple of errors that turned it around.”
Breazell ran in a 5-yarder to cap an 11-play, 69-yard first-quarter drive. It stayed 8-0 and the teams traded miscues until a bad punt snap that sailed over Kubasaki’s Aaron Stravers’ head set up Yokota at the Dragons 19 just before half. Breazell scored again from the 3 to make it 16-0 at intermission.
Just after the second-half kickoff, Kubasaki coughed up the ball and sophomore Ke’Ondre Davis got the first of his two fumble recoveries. On the next play, Breazell scored from 29 yards out. On the ensuing Kubasaki series, the Dragons drove to the Yokota 1, only to fumble again into Davis’ hands.
“A big play by Morgan to start the third quarter, then that stop at the goal line, those were big,” Pujol said.
Stanley Speed capped Yokota’s scoring with a 2-yard sneak. On the next possession, Kubasaki got its only touchdown from Jarrett Mitchell on an 80-yard run.
Breazell, Butler and Donavan Ball combined for 285 yards on 37 carries and Yokota outgained Kubasaki 337-248 as a team. Mitchell had 131 yards on 12 carries, giving him a Pacific-leading 1,279 on 113 carries. Breazell’s three touchdowns tied him for the Pacific lead (13) with Zama American’s Andre Encarnacion.