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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A stingy defense and a power running game paced by newcomer Carl Harris turned Saturday’s U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League season opener into a rout.

Harris ran 19 times for 111 yards and five TDsand the Yokosuka Seahawks forced eight turnovers — two for TDs — and held the Yokota Warriors to 30 net yards in a 48-6 romp on a dreary, chilly night at Berkey Field.

"This is how we’ve played for years. We’re stingy, and we play hard," coach Robert Cole said of the Seahawks’ defense.

Derreck Traylor recovered three fumbles, one for a touchdown, and recorded a sack, while Anozie Uzomanzie had a sack and recovered a fumble for a touchdown on the game’s first play.

"We’re a cohesive unit," Traylor said. "It gets no better than having a returning 11. We stepped it up. Great way to start."

They did that without USFJ-AFL Defensive Player of the Year Steven Fox, out with a broken ankle. "We’re going to play for him," Traylor said.

With returning tailback Frederick Farmer also sidelined, Harris stepped in. Behind veteran linemen such as Brian Pratt and Tim Graves, Harris ran for four first-half touchdowns.

His 5-yarder in the third quarter put Yokosuka ahead by 30 points, triggering the mercy rule and a running clock the rest of the way.

"The kid is a beast," Cole said of Harris. "He has shown us something. He’s got some speed. He’s got vision."

Mike Ott sneaked 3 yards for Yokosuka’s last touchdown. Mike Thomas and Dale Rieck also recovered fumbles, Trell Corbin had a sack and newcomer Lorenz Piper ran eight times for 46 yards and blocked a punt.

Yokota’s defense also gave Yokosuka fits, forcing six turnovers and two sacks, but the Warriors couldn’t convert any of the turnovers into points.

"Yokosuka is a seasoned team," said coach Christopher Bell, who suited up at quarterback for the outmanned Warriors, who have only six returning players. "I’m proud of the guys. By midseason, we’ll be where we need to be. This was a start. You’ll see a different outcome at midseason."

Michael Maturan, John Preston and Lee Sinclair intercepted passes. Chad Wrightsman, Justin Rozman and John Blanchard recovered fumbles, and Wrightsman and Dionte Bridges each had sacks. Michael Tuck went 3-for-10 passing for 85 yards, including Yokota’s only touchdown, a 69-yard completion to Quinton Floyd.

Saturday’s opener kicked off the USFJ-AFL’s ninth season. Just three teams take the field this season: Yokosuka, Yokota and the Misawa Jets – the fewest since the 1997 season.

Each team plays each other home and away; Yokota is using Berkey as its home field while Bonk Field at Yokota High School undergoes renovation. The three teams will also play home and home against the Kadena Dragons of the defunct Okinawa Football League.

The season runs through Aug. 16. The stepladder playoffs begin Aug. 23 with the second-place team hosting the third-place team.

The regular-season champion hosts the Torii Bowl on Aug. 30.

USFJ-AFL

W L Pct. PF PAYokosuka 1 0 1.000 48 6Misawa 0 0 .000 0 0x-Kadena 0 0 .000 0 0Yokota 0 1 .000 6 48x-plays USFJ-AFL teams as an exhibition squad.

Saturday, May 31Yokosuka 48, Yokota 6Saturday, June 7Misawa at Yokosuka, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, June 11Kadena at Yokosuka, 6 p.m.Friday, June 13Kadena vs. Yokota at Yokosuka Naval Base, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 15Kadena at Misawa, 10 a.m.

Saturday, June 21USFJ-AFL All-Stars vs. Asahi Silver Star at Kawasaki Stadium, 5 p.m.

Saturday, June 28Yokota at Misawa, 2 p.m.Yokosuka at Kadena, 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 5Misawa vs. Yokota at Yokosuka Naval Base, 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 12Yokota at Yokosuka, 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 19Yokosuka at Misawa, 2 p.m.Yokota at Kadena, 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 26Misawa vs. Yokota at Yokosuka Naval Base, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 2Japan National Team at Yokosuka, 3 p.m.Misawa at Kadena, 6 p.m.

Saturay, Aug. 9Yokosuka at Misawa, 2 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 16Yokota at Yokosuka, 6 p.m.

End regular season

Playoffs

Saturday, Aug. 23

SemifinalNo. 3 team at No. 2 team, site and time to be determined

Torii Bowl

Saturday, Aug. 30Aug. 23 winner at regular-season champion, time and site to be determined

Team capsules

Yokosuka SeahawksYokosuka Naval Base, JapanHead coach-Robert Cole, sixth season.2007 record-6-1, .857, 176 points for, 11 points against. Won seventh USFJ-AFL regular-season and league championship in eight seasons.Returning players-20.Returning starters-12.Base offense-Multiple.Base defense-4-3.Key returners-Derreck Traylor, DT; Michael Ott, QB; Larry Latimer, LB; William Batten, S; Stryon Linder, S; Montrell Corbin, DE; Tim Graves, C (15th season); Frederick Farmer, TB; Brian Pratt, G.Key newcomers-Carl Harris, TB; Lorenz Piper, TB.Outlook-Contending. Depth, experience and some great newcomers bode for a deep run at an eighth USFJ-AFL crown.

Yokota WarriorsYokota Air Base, JapanHead coach-Christopher Bell, third season.2007 record-5-3, .625, 69 points for, 62 points against. Regular-season and league runner-up.Returning players-6.Returning starters-3.Base offense-Missouri/Texas Tech spread.Base defense-Multiple.Key returners-Michael Mathis, WR-RB; Lee St. Clair, WR-S; Dionte Bridges, LB; Tabari Thompson, MLB.Key newcomer-Michael Tuck, QB.Outlook-Rebuilding. Many veterans departed, replaced by young players whom Bell hopes he can mold into a winning unit by midseason.

Misawa JetsMisawa Air Base, JapanHead coach-Jeremy Sanders, first season.2007 record-3-4, .429, 48 points for, 97 points against.Returning players-20.Returning starters-12.Base offense-I.Base defense-4-4.Key returners-Cornelius Walker, S; Leroy Moody, MLB; Corey Hollingsworth, G.Key newcomers-Justin Jordan, TE; Jamario Patterson, RB; Lorenzo Bookhart, WR.Outlook-Rebuilding. Despite large number of experienced players, many old faces have departed, new coach implementing new system.

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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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