This article has been corrected
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Kubasaki’s linemen showed the way Friday and Jarrett Mitchell twice scampered through holes into the end zone. As a result, the Dragons are within a victory of a berth in next month’s Far East Division I football title game.
Mitchell had 133 yards on 12 carries, caught three passes for 48 yards and returned an interception 36 yards for the Dragons, who beat Kadena 32-21.
The win gave Kubasaki (6-1 overall, 4-0 D-I) its first season sweep of the Panthers since the Far East playoffs’ inception in 2005.
It also was the Dragons’ third straight win over Kadena and their final tune-up for Saturday’s home battle against Yokota. A win would put the Dragons in the driver’s seat for host rights to the D-I title game on Nov. 17.
“We’ve been working week by week” toward the title game, coach Fred Bales said. “We’ll celebrate this victory for a while, then we’ll turn the page again in a couple of days and it will be Yokota week.”
Bales credited the play of senior linemen Charles Martin and Fred Suniga, sophomore Josiah Allen, junior Byron Redifer and junior tight end Kareem Key for making “the difference in the game, especially in the second half when we needed to move the chains and keep the ball out of Kadena’s hands.”
Mitchell leads the Pacific with 1,148 yards on 101 carries, and has scored 11 touchdowns.
Aaron Stravers had a team-leading 11 tackles and ran 12 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Smith went 3-for-4 for 90 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Alderman, and ran for 29 yards and a touchdown on five attempts.
Kadena (3-3, 2-2)), which lost its third straight and was missing six starters, scored most of its points in the fourth quarter. Justin Sego, hobbled by a hip pointer, came off the bench in the second half to score on a 5-yard run. “He showed a lot of heart and courage,” coach Sergio Mendoza said.
Joey Dyer ran a 40-yard reverse for a score and Dominic Shea scored on a quarterback sneak for the Panthers.
“It was an exciting fourth quarter and a really good high school football game,” Bales said. “We were fortunate enough to come out with the win. (Kadena) is well-coached, super-spirited and they played with a lot of class.”
The Panthers finish their regular season Nov. 3 at Yokota. Following Kubasaki’s hosting Yokota on Saturday, the Dragons travel to Singapore to face the Falcons on Nov. 3.
CorrectionAn earlier version of thisarticle errononeously stated that Kubasaki clinched a spot in the D-I title game with the victory. In the new Far East playoff format, Kubasaki, Kadena and Yokota are all still alive.