Jets continue late-season rise; Foster wins defensive struggle
Behind the touchdown-passing touch of quarterbacks Darone Frierson and Travis Heywood, the Misawa Jets continued their late-season rise Saturday — and after an 0-3 start, they have an outside shot at the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League’s North Division title.
Frierson and Heywood each tossed a pair of TDs, and Dee Quimby ran 4 yards for another as the Jets thrashed former league power Yokosuka 33-3 at Misawa Air Base’s Hillside Stadium.
“The defense played out of its mind; the offensive line came together,” Jets coach Ben Mathe said.
“They looked really good,” Yokosuka coach James Price said.
Meanwhile, defending champion Foster improved to 4-2 with a slim hope at winning the South Division and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, surviving a defensive struggle with Kadena 6-0.
Misawa 33, Yokosuka 3
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Misawa improved to 2-3 with a road trip June 26 at division-leading Yokota remaining. Yokota is 3-1, but Misawa could steal the division title if Yokota loses Saturday at Kadena and Misawa wins at Yokota.
“We told the guys … our destiny is in our hands. We have to keep playing Jets football,” Mathe said.
Jets football has meant riding the arm of Frierson, tied for the league lead with eight touchdown passes. He hit Ben Venezuela from 40 yards and Dontario Erby for 20 before tweaking an ankle and leaving in the third quarter.
Heywood relieved and threw a 50-yard TD pass to Erby and a 7-yarder to Justin Hampton.
The visiting Seahawks fell to 1-5, their worst regular-season record since 1986. Yokosuka got its lone points on the opening drive, when it recovered a Misawa fumble and got a 25-yard Chris Tedeschi field goal. An eight-play goal-line stand kept Yokosuka out of the end zone late.
Foster 6, Kadena 0
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Foster receiver Corey Moore proved the lone bright light in a desultory offensive performance by both teams. The two combined for just 80 offensive yards and seven first downs.
Moore caught five passes for 79 yards, including the game’s lone touchdown, on a 29-yard pass from Frank Bryant with 47 seconds left in the third quarter. Foster improved to 4-2 and Kadena fell to 1-2. Bryant and Frierson are tied for the league lead in TD passes.
“He’s always going to be a player who, if you need something, he’ll get it,” Foster offensive coordinator Gerald Sharber said, adding that a sprained left ankle has left Moore a “game-time decision” in Foster’s prior two games.
“You can never question his heart,” Sharber said.
Both defenses sparkled, combining for nine quarterback sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Kadena’s Johnny Cervantes recorded three sacks and Eric Dagin a fumble recovery and a sack. Manny Garza of Foster nearly ran an interception back for a score but was halted at the 3-yard line just before halftime.