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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – Senior halfbacks Shariff Coleman and Thomas McDonald picked up Friday where they left off last season, combining for six touchdowns and leading Kadena to a rout of Seoul American.

Coleman ran eight times for 139 yards and two touchdowns and McDonald gained 144 yards and three touchdowns on nine attempts as the Panthers blanked the Falcons 57-0 at Ryukyu Middle School. The 2009 season ended with Kadena routing Seoul 44-0 in the Far East Division I title game.

It was the first regular-season meeting between the two teams. With the win, coach Sergio Mendoza improved to 3-2 all time against the Falcons, the first time he’s had a winning percentage against them. The two losses came in heartbreaking fashion, 12-6 in overtime and 22-21 in the 2006 and ’08 Division I title games.

“They made a commitment to work harder and [they] did that,” Mendoza said. “They didn’t want to lose in the last second or by a point or two to Seoul anymore.”

For the second successive summer, many Panthers players bought into Mendoza’s off-season conditioning program and it bore results.

“They’re dedicated,” he said. “We have some players who stepped up and did some good things. Our quarterback (Lotty Smith) looked confident under center.”

That said, Mendoza feels his team can work on tackling better and his running backs hitting the holes quicker and faster. “We have some things we need to work on,” he said.

Rodney Goodson ran for touchdowns of 9 and 30 yards on his only two carries and Coleman also returned a kickoff 62 yards for a TD to open the second half. As a team, Kadena ran 26 times for 386 yards and seven touchdowns.

For the second straight week, the Falcons “didn’t tackle at all,” Seoul coach Billy Ratcliff said. “Basic fundamentals. Blocking and tackling. We didn’t string together six or seven good plays; it was a good play followed by a penalty or a missed block. We’ll be a better team later this season.”


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