Marauders stay afloat in USFJ-AFL playoff race
August 18, 2003
CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa — Herman Coleman ran for a touchdown, passed for another and squelched a pair of Courtney-Hansen drives with interceptions as the Misawa Marauders rallied past the Titans 20-8 on Saturday.
Misawa (4-2) kept its U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League playoff hopes alive, moving into a second-place tie with Kadena. Three-time defending league champion Yokosuka (4-1) was idle but remained atop the standings.
It was a solid ending to a rough road trip for Misawa, which began its two-game road swing through Okinawa by losing 26-6 to Kadena on Wednesday.
“We had our backs to the wall, and the team recognized that,” said Misawa coach John Hemphill, adding that he wasn’t pleased with his offense, which produced 361 yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m not happy with our performance, but I’m happy. We got it done. We got done what we had to. But we have a lot of work to do.”
The Titans (3-4) got on the board first, with diminutive tailback Shawn Alderman’s 3-yard TD set up by Rafael Dominguez’s 47-yard pass to Mike Cook.
But it was all Marauders from that point.
Coleman, who racked up 153 total yards, brought Misawa within two points just before halftime with a 4-yard scoring run.
He put the Marauders ahead midway through the third quarter with his arm. He went just 4-for-12 passing, but three completions came on the game-turning drive that ended with a 24-yard TD pass to Michael Jackson.
Misawa’s defense, which got a sack from Chancer Burton and an interception by Hazim Glover, held firm from there, halting a last-ditch drive at the Misawa 21 with 38 seconds left.
Misawa added a TD in the closing seconds, on James Coleman’s 76-yard scamper.
Coleman led the Marauders’ rushing attack, which netted 264 yards on 44 carries, with 94 yards on seven tries. Jackson caught three passes for 70 yards. Alderman paced the Titans with 82 yards on 19 carries.
Though Misawa and Kadena are even in the standings, the Dragons hold the tiebreaker edge for second place by virtue of their win Wednesday. The Marauders are just a half-game ahead of Atsugi (3-2) for the third and final playoff berth.