YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – Lead blocker Jesse Hogan, back in the lineup Friday after missing two weeks with a hamstring pull, helped Devin Day and the Yokota Panthers to one of their best offensive games of the season.

Hogan, a sophomore, helped Day secure 135 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns, powering Yokota (4-0) past host Nile C. Kinnick 42-0. The lopsided victory was a big step toward a possible sixth straight DODDS Far East Division I playoff berth.

“We have a mantra, we want to block from snap to whistle and he’s one guy you can see on film who always does that,” coach Tim Pujol said of Hogan. “When the ball’s in play, Jesse’s looking for somebody to hit. And we were missing that the last couple of weeks.”

While Day ran his DODDS Japan-leading total to 12 rushing touchdowns on the season, Yokota scored on all sides of the ball and took full advantage of five turnovers, converting them into 27 points.

Quarterback Myles Andrews, very much OK after he seemed to injure his left knee on the last play of last week’s 17-0 win over Zama, threw 16 yards to Jordan Herrera for a touchdown.

He also returned a misplayed lateral 24 yards for a score from his free safety spot. Jesse Christmas also got a defensive lineman’s dream gift, an interception which he returned 3 yards for the game’s final TD.

The game was played with a running clock from 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the second period under the DODDS Japan district mercy rule.

Despite the big victory, Pujol feels his Panthers have much to work on – specifically the extra-point kick. Yokota missed four of them.

“At some point, that’s going to hurt you. We need to convert those,” Pujol said. “And we still have some assignment mistakes on both offense and defense. We need to correct them and become a smarter football team. I think we can do that.”

Kinnick, meanwhile, must continue to improve its execution, first-year head coach Daniel Joley said.

“They’re learning the offense still. But the mistakes are killing us,” Joley said. “I can draw plays all day long, but if we can’t execute them, there’s absolutely no way. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Dre Ward led the Red Devils with 87 all-purpose yards. Dustin Kimberll had 70 total yards, including 56 on a kick return, before leaving with a left knee injury in the second quarter.

Kinnick (0-3) needs to beat Yokota by 43 points or more on Oct. 8 at the Panthers’ home Bonk Field. “I think there are some spots where they are vulnerable. But there’s not very many of them,” Joley said.

Yokota has a week off before traveling to Zama American on Oct. 1, with a chance to clinch at least a tie for its 11th DODDS Japan title in 12 seasons under Pujol.

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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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