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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Outgained in every department, Yokosuka relied on a turnover-hungry defense and punt block-happy special teams play to earn a return trip to the Torii Bowl.

Blocked punts by Giovanni Casillas and Marcus Steed set up touchdown runs by Lorenz Piper and the Seahawks forced five turnovers and three sacks to beat Yokota 14-6 in Saturday’s U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League semifinal on rain-slickened Berkey Field.

"It’s hard to get an offense going in this mess. Solid defense, special teams — they won the game for us," Yokosuka assistant coach James Price said. "They came out to make a statement and they did."

After losing three of their last four games, the Seahawks next hit the road for the third time in two months to visit regular-season champion Misawa, the fourth time the teams have met in the Torii Bowl.

All that after Yokota outgained the Seahawks 160 yards to 49, got 10 first downs to Yokosuka’s three and even matched Yokosuka’s takeaways with five.

"But we had a lot of opportunities that we let get away from us," Yokota assistant coach Herbert Fletcher said. "We beat ourselves. We left some plays on the field we should have made."

Casillas’ block set up the Seahawks at the Yokota 3, from where Piper rushed for the game’s first touchdown with 3:23 left in the first quarter. Piper scored again from the 5 as the fourth quarter began following Marcus Steed’s punt block.

From there, Yokota launched a relentless assault on the Yokosuka end zone, only to come up short in three trips inside the Seahawks’ 20. Quinton Toney finally solved the Seahawks’ defense with a 2-yard TD run with 1:34 left.

Michael Yard promptly recovered a Seahawks fumble to give Yokota one more chance at the Warriors 49 with 1:29 left. But Larry Latimer intercepted a pass that went through the hands of Yokota’s C.J. Jackson to seal the outcome.

Seven times the USFJ-AFL’s champion, Yokosuka won its previous three Torii Bowl encounters with Misawa, all at home. This is the first time Yokosuka will play the Torii Bowl at Misawa, where the Jets are 2-0 against the Seahawks this season.

"They had their way the last two times," Price said. "We will be ready to play that game."

Torii Bowl kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Misawa Air Base’s Hillside Stadium.

USFJ-AFL Postseason

USFJ-AFL Postseason

Saturday, Aug. 23

Semifinal

Yokosuka 14, Yokota 6

Torii Bowl

Saturday, Aug. 30

Yokosuka at Misawa, 2 p.m.

Saturday’s summary

Yokosuka 14, Yokota 6

At Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan

Yokota 0 0 0 6— 6

Yokosuka 8 0 0 6—14

Yokota Yokosuka

First downs 10 3

Rushes-yards 55-135 42-50

Comp.-Att.-Int 3-17-2 3-10-1

Passing yards 25 (-1)

Total offense 72-160 52-49

Sacks-yards lost 3-16 1-7

Returns-yards 2-66 4-39

Penalties-yards lost 10-65 8-52

Individual statistics

Rushing—Yokota, Quinton Toney 10-100, Michael Tuck 20-46, C.J. Jackson 11-13, Donald White 1-13, Quinton Floyd 1-3, Lee Sinclair 1-2, Derek Sherman 5-(-49). Yokosuka, Terrell Bennett 22-49, Lorenz Piper 8-20, Giovanni Casillas 1-3, Tony Seaman 4-(-5), Robert Cole 7-(-15).

Passing—Yokota, Michael Tuck 3-17-2-25. Yokosuka, Robert Cole 3-10-1-(-1).

Receiving—Yokota, C.J. Jackson 2-15, Lee Sinclair 1-10. Yokosuka, Terrell Bennett 1-4, Joel Cesar 1-3, Lorenz Piper 1-(-8).

author picture
Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.
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