YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Call senior back Chris Roach Yokota’s “All-Purpose Man.”

He racked up 277 total yards, rushing three times for touchdowns and returning an interception for a score, and the defense held Zama American to minus-48 yards as the Panthers rode a huge first half en route to a 34-0 shutout of the Trojans Friday at Yokota’s Bonk Field.

To Roach, none of his exploits would be possible without somebody plowing the road for him.

“It’s only because of Shamarr,” Roach said of junior Shamarr Howell, who plays fullback and in tandem with Roach in the defensive backfield and on kick returns.

“Defense, offense, special teams, he’s the key block,” Roach said. “When somebody misses a block, he picks up two or three key blocks down the field. I just follow No. 35 (Howell) wherever I need to go.”

Roach finished with 233 yards on 23 carries.

Roach has amassed 492 yards and astonishing 10 TDs this season as the Panthers (2-0) won their 41st straight game on the field. Yokota forfeited two games during the 2002 season.

Despite the one-sided score, not everything went in Yokota’s favor. The Panthers’ offense was shut out in the second half. Yokota hadn’t been held scoreless in a half since 2001.

Uncharacteristic penalties and missed assignments proved to be Yokota’s undoing in the second half Friday, coach Tim Pujol said.

“We definitely have some things to work on,” he said, partly blaming the slowdown on having some players playing on both offense and defense. “These things are fixable. I think it was a good test for the guys in the line. And the defense played outstandingly.”

As to the Trojans’ offensive woes — they’ve been held to 69 yards on 76 plays in their first two games — coach Ron Geist feels his team (0-2) is just a few key blocks away from becoming a dangerous team.

“Our offense is always one block away from going,” he said. “One guy just not picking up his man. But our defense came alive in the second half. If we put it together, we should win the rest of our games.”

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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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