Misawa puts Yokota's lights out in first night game
Stars and Stripes June 9, 2003
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Three running backs scored on short runs as the Misawa Marauders rallied past the Yokota Raiders 18-6 Saturday, spoiling Yokota’s first night home game in the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League.
Misawa (1-0) moved into a first-place tie with Atsugi (1-0), which beat Yokota 6-0 last week in the season opener. The Raiders (0-2) are 1-11 since the start of the 2001 season.
Before a crowd of 450 at Bonk Field, the Raiders took a 6-0 lead on a fake punt. Duane Stevens, lined up between the center and punter, received the snap directly and rifled it to a wide-open Andre Fortenberry in the left flat for a 38-yard scoring play near the end of the first quarter.
Tailback Derrick Magee tied it with a 4-yard run with 5:15 left in the first half, capping a short drive kept alive by a personal foul and an offsides penalty.
Fullback Sylvester Barner gave Misawa a 12-6 lead with a 1-yard dive 5:41 into the third period. Fullback Chris Chaney ended the scoring with a 4-yard burst with 12:41 left, capping a drive helped by interference and personal foul calls on the same play.
“We went to a new offense to get as much talent on the field as we could,” Misawa coach John Hemphill said.
“I’m a bit stubborn. I like to stay with the same people. But we implemented it, and it worked.”
Without completing a pass in nine attempts, the Marauders gained 195 yards on 65 plays with 11 first downs. Fumble recoveries by James Standifer, Rio Thompson and Steve Robinson kept Yokota within striking distance.
Defense played a huge role for the Marauders. Hazim Glover, Courtney Haralson and Kenji Blackwell each intercepted Yokota passes, and Marc Fox picked up a fumble and ran it back 47 yards to set up Misawa’s final TD.
“We had good pressure from the corners and good pressure up the middle,” said Hemphill, whose defensive unit held Yokota to 140 yards on 53 plays. “We ran a lot of stunts to throw off their blocking schemes.”
Yokota fared better offensively, gaining almost twice as many yards as it did against Atsugi, but couldn’t finish drives, coach Chuck Wichert said.
“We played well between the 20s, but we had too many mistakes, poor execution, too many penalties and careless errors,” he said, noting that Yokota receivers dropped two sure TD passes on fly patterns.
Both teams hurt themselves with penalties. Each was flagged 11 times for 204 yards.
Yokota hosts three-time defending league champion Yokosuka on Saturday at 7 p.m., while Misawa entertains Atsugi next week.