Foster-Futenma clinches Okinawa league season title
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Chris McDougal is more accustomed to working his magic while under center. But on Sunday, his defensive heroics gave Foster-Futenma the biggest prize of the Okinawa Football League’s regular season.
McDougal picked off an Adam Hendrickson pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter, the only points the Bulldogs would need as they blanked defending champion Kadena 7-0, clinching the regular-season title and handing the Dragons their first loss in 19 games.
It was sweet vindication for a Bulldogs team that last season appeared primed for a championship run but was forced to forfeit five victories for using an ineligible player.
“It feels good,” coach James Moore said. “Especially for the players from last year. They really wanted this.”
The victory gives the Bulldogs (5-1) the top seed in the OFL playoffs, scheduled to begin Nov. 19. Foster-Futenma will play a semifinal clash against either the Kinser Knights or the Courtney-Hansen Titans, who concluded their regular season by shutting out Ryukyu University 26-0.
Foster-Futenma 7, Kadena 0The Dragons, who beat the Bulldogs 6-0 three weeks earlier, and Foster-Futenma each finished the regular season with 5-1 records. But since the Bulldogs held a 1-point differential edge over Kadena in head-to-head play, Foster-Futenma edged out the Dragons for the regular-season title.
“We beat everybody at least once in the regular season this year. That gives us a bit lift going into the playoffs,” Moore said.
Kadena had not lost in 15 games since the OFL’s inception last fall. The Dragons also won their last four games en route to a second-place finish in their final season of USFJ-AFL membership.
The defeat came in a defensive-oriented game similar to the teams’ first meeting of the season, in which the teams combined for 56 offensive yards. Each team did better offensively, with Kadena totaling 154 yards and Foster-Futenma 105.
But it was the Bulldogs’ defense that carried the day, Kadena coach Will Cupp said. “Their defense stepped up to play,” he said, adding that without McDougal’s pickoff touchdown, “I don’t know if anybody would have won this game.”
Each side missed several scoring opportunities. Tim Hill had a 39-yard interception-return touchdown called back on a penalty, and a Bulldogs’ rushing TD also got called back on the ensuing drive. Chris Brooks dropped a pair of sure touchdown passes.
Kadena got into scoring position a few times, but missed a field goal, lost a fumble and threw another interception.
Hendrickson finished 10-for-19 for 108 yards, but threw his fifth and sixth interceptions in two weeks. Tim Armstrong paced the Bulldogs with 52 yards on 11 carries.
Courtney-Hansen 26, Ryukyu University 0James Randall ran 10 times for 85 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run, and Will Shepherd added a 5-yard TD run, Maurice Johnson scored from 20 yards out and David Burnell ran 10 yards for a score for the Titans.
The victory eliminated any fading chance that the Stingray (0-5) had of securing a playoff berth, which the Stingray would have done by beating the Titans and then topping Kinser next week.
Johnson finished with 45 yards on six carries, and Burnell, the Titans’ all-purpose yardage leader, gained just 25 yards on five third-quarter carries as coach Rodney Best rested him. Vedel Poindexter had two sacks, giving him a league-leading seven on the season, and Jonathan Molloy got his league-high fourth interception.
Okinawa Football League standings
Okinawa Football League standings
W L Pct. PF PA
x-Foster-Futenma 5 1 .833 173 19
y-Kadena 5 1 .833 163 37
y-Kinser 2 3 .400 56 126
y-Courtney-Hansen 2 4 .333 96 91
Ryukyu University 0 5 .000 0 215
x-clinched regular-season championship
y-clinched playoff berth
Sunday, Nov. 6
At Camp Foster, Okinawa
Courtney-Hansen 26, Ryukyu University 0
Foster-Futenma 7, Kadena 0
Sunday, Nov. 13
At MCAS Futenma, Okinawa
Kinser vs. Ryukyu University
End regular season