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Chris Latham of the Kadena Panthers darts right to chase the ball after Kubasaki Dragons running back Tim Gardner is tackled by Kadena’s Sean Shattuck during Friday’s game at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Kadena beat Kubasaki 14-8.
Chris Latham of the Kadena Panthers darts right to chase the ball after Kubasaki Dragons running back Tim Gardner is tackled by Kadena’s Sean Shattuck during Friday’s game at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Kadena beat Kubasaki 14-8. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Chris Latham of the Kadena Panthers darts right to chase the ball after Kubasaki Dragons running back Tim Gardner is tackled by Kadena’s Sean Shattuck during Friday’s game at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Kadena beat Kubasaki 14-8.
Chris Latham of the Kadena Panthers darts right to chase the ball after Kubasaki Dragons running back Tim Gardner is tackled by Kadena’s Sean Shattuck during Friday’s game at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Kadena beat Kubasaki 14-8. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Kubasaki linebacker Boomer McCaw sacks Kadena quarterback Jon Robinson during the second game of the Okinawa Activities Council best-of-three football championship series at Camp Foster, Okinawa, on Oct. 20. Kadena beat Kubasaki 14-8 to sweep the series 2-0.
Kubasaki linebacker Boomer McCaw sacks Kadena quarterback Jon Robinson during the second game of the Okinawa Activities Council best-of-three football championship series at Camp Foster, Okinawa, on Oct. 20. Kadena beat Kubasaki 14-8 to sweep the series 2-0. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Kadena Panthers players pose after beating the Kubasaki Dragons 14-8 on Oct. 20 at Mike Petty Stadium, Kubasaki High School, Camp Foster, Okinawa. Kadena will face Japan Football League champion Yokota in the Far East Class AA semifinal on Nov. 4.
Kadena Panthers players pose after beating the Kubasaki Dragons 14-8 on Oct. 20 at Mike Petty Stadium, Kubasaki High School, Camp Foster, Okinawa. Kadena will face Japan Football League champion Yokota in the Far East Class AA semifinal on Nov. 4. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Kadena Panthers fans celebrate the team’s 14-8 victory over rival Kubasaki on Friday, Oct. 20.
Kadena Panthers fans celebrate the team’s 14-8 victory over rival Kubasaki on Friday, Oct. 20. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Behind an offensive line that plowed the road for a powerful rushing performance by junior transfer Sean Shattuck, the Kadena Panthers seized the Okinawa Activities Council football title from Kubasaki on Friday and dethroned the defending Far East Class AA champion Dragons.

Shattuck, a newcomer from Putnam West High in Oklahoma, ran 13 times for 192 yards, including 76- and 34-yard touchdown runs, and the Panthers (2-0) held off a spirited Dragons fourth-quarter comeback to win 14-8 in Kubasaki’s Mike Petty Stadium.

Kadena won the best-of-three OAC series 2-0, earning the right to travel to Yokota Air Base on Nov. 4 to meet the eight-time Japan Football League champion Panthers in the Far East Class AA semifinal.

“We’re happy,” Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza said. “The kids worked really hard. Kubasaki’s a tough team. They’re coached so well.”

Mendoza’s last experience at Yokota was as Kadena Islanders coach: a 50-6 loss in the Rising Sun Bowl, when Okinawa’s schools each fielded split squads.

That changed with last year’s debut of the Far East playoff system, in which Kadena and Kubasaki field their full varsity teams.

“It’s exciting to go back to Tokyo as Panthers,” Mendoza said.

Elsewhere, Guam High’s dream of an Interscholastic Football League title crashed in flames as Hosea Ware scored four times and three-time defending champion George Washington routed the Panthers 42-12.

In the JFL, Yokota survived a scare and emerged from Misawa Air Base with its 38-game regular-season winning streak intact, barely escaping Robert D. Edgren 14-13.

Yokota running back Anthony McNeill’s reign as holder of the JFL record for rushing yards in a game lasted a week. Larynzo Abernathy rambled for 362 yards on 28 carries with three touchdowns as Nile C. Kinnick pummeled Zama American 34-6.

Kadena 14, Kubasaki 8At Camp Foster, Okinawa, Shattuck admitted he didn’t relish leaving the States to play for Kadena but once he came aboard in August, “everybody talked about being the Far East champion,” he said, adding that he quickly caught the Panther spirit. “We worked our butts off every day. Even Saturdays.”

“We were fortunate to get him,” Mendoza said of Shattuck, who rushed 28 times for 335 yards and four TDs in Kadena’s two victories over Kubasaki, including a 28-14 win on Oct. 13.

Shattuck and Mendoza credited the offensive line for the gaudy totals.

“The line really stepped up,” Shattuck said. “Without them, it doesn’t happen.”

“The offensive line won this game for us,” Mendoza said. “They’ve worked hard.”

Shattuck opened the scoring by rambling through a Kubasaki arm tackle around right end and up the sideline untouched with 2:42 left in the first quarter. He then broke five tackles up the gut on a 34-yard touchdown scamper 4:17 into the third period.

From there, the Panthers hung on, overcoming four fumbles and 14 penalties for 115 yards to keep the Dragons at arm’s length. The last fumble was recovered by Kubasaki’s Jorge Cristobal, who returned it to the Kadena 11 with 2:04 left.

That set up Kubasaki’s touchdown, a 5-yard Michael Dickerson strike to Michael Bennett. Tim Gardner caught a two-point pass from Boomer McCaw to cut it to 14-8, but the ensuing onside kick by Zach Schwartz went out of bounds and Kadena ran out the clock.

Kubasaki also suffered its share of miscues, losing two fumbles dropping five passes, three of them to wide-open receivers behind the Kadena secondary.

“We needed to catch passes and make plays,” Dragons coach Fred Bales said. “Too many missed opportunities.”

George Washington 42, Guam High 12At Mangilao, Guam, Ware ran for touchdowns of 65, 60, 60 and 15 yards, Jude Shimizu added a 3-yard TD on a quarterback sneak and Mychal Borja returned an interception for a score as the Geckos (7-0) shattered the Panthers’ title dreams.

Cameron Yecki hooked up with Chris Hoyle for a 25-yard TD pass in the second quarter, then ran from 1 yard out near the end of the third quarter to account for Guam High’s scoring.

“They played football tonight,” coach Yvonne Tyrrell said of her Panthers. “They did come to play. GW ... just put it to us again. We got outplayed, but honorably.”

Guam High’s season is far from over: The Panthers (3-4) play the loser of Saturday’s Simon Sanchez-Father Duenas Memorial game for third place in the IFL next Friday, then host Seoul American in the Far East Class AA semifinal on Nov. 4.

Nile C. Kinnick 34, Zama American 6Abernathy’s performance at Camp Zama resulted in the third-best game total in Pacific history and also carried him past McNeill for the JFL season lead with 1,319 rushing yards on 176 carries, plus 16 touchdowns.

“The line was blocking. They were there, throwing blocks for him 20 yards downfield,” Kinnick coach Gary Wilson said of the Red Devils (4-3), who snapped a two-game losing streak. “I think Larynzo’s got to give some of his game stickers to the linemen.”

“We could not stop him,” said coach Victor Rivera of the Trojans (1-5), who’ve lost five straight since opening the season with a 7-6 victory over Robert D. Edgren. “He was fantastic.”

Quarterback Jeff Galang went 5-for-8 for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

Grant Rodgers and Chad Atchley each caught TD passes, Andrew Preston had a sack and 12 tackles, Drew Dietrich added 11 stops and Joseph Richmond and Ian Vasquez had 10 tackles each.

Zama’s lone bright spot was Quinton Howard’s 25-yard second-quarter touchdown run.

Yokota 14, Robert D. Edgren 13At Misawa Air Base, it appeared as if the Eagles (3-4) would come away with a victory. David Leh cut a 14-7 deficit to one point with a 3-yard run with 5 minutes left — and on the two-point conversion attempt, Leh fumbled but the ball bounced into the hands of teammate Zach Latimore, who ran it into the end zone.

But the linesman whistled the play dead as Leh fumbled. Edgren coach Chris Waite and Yokota coach Tim Pujol conferred with the officials, who said the ruling on the field was an inadvertent whistle, and the only options were to do the play over or take the result of the play — which had Leh down short of the end zone. Leh came up short on the retry for point.

“It was hard to take,” Waite said.

Edgren had another chance to win on fourth-and-goal with 6 seconds left from Yokota’s 6-yard line but Caiveon Thomas blocked Neils Johnson’s 23-yard field goal attempt.

Peter Weaver was 3-for-6 for 58 yards and a 36-yard TD pass to Thomas, while Darnell Murphy scored on a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter for Yokota. McNeill was held to a season-low 82 yards on 16 carries and trails Abernathy with 1,211 yards on 166 attempts. Edgren’s first score came on Josh Ray’s 6-yard first-quarter pass to Cassey Bennett.

“Edgren is tough,” Pujol said of the Eagles, who host Osan American in the Class A championship on Nov. 4. “This is a complete team. Osan’s got their hands full.”

Pacific prep football

Pacific prep football

DODDS-Japan League

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Yokota 5 0 1.000 123 73

Nile C. Kinnick 3 3 .500 144 103

Robert D. Edgren 2 4 .333 93 119

Zama American 1 4 .200 52 117

x-clinched eighth straight Japan Football League title, will host Far East Class AA semifinal Nov. 4 against Okinawa Activities Council champion Kadena.

Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Yokota 4 0 1.000 127 53

Nile C. Kinnick 3 2 .600 124 78

Amer. School In Japan 1 2 .333 17 78

Zama American 0 4 .000 27 86

x-clinched eighth straight Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools title

Friday, Oct. 20

Nile C. Kinnick 34, Zama American 6

Yokota 14, Robert D. Edgren 13

Friday, Oct. 27

Zama American at Yokota, 7 p.m.

American School In Japan at Nile C. Kinnick, 7 p.m.

End regular season

Okinawa

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Kadena 2 0 1.000 42 22

Kubasaki 0 2 .000 22 42

x-Wins Okinawa Activities Council best-of-three championship series 2-0, clinches berth in Far East Class AA semifinal Nov. 4 at Japan Football League champion Yokota.

Friday, Oct. 20

Kadena 14, Kubasaki 8

Guam

Postseason

Quarterfinals

Friday, Oct. 13

Guam High 26, John F. Kennedy 0

Saturday, Oct. 14

Simon Sanchez 22, Southern 6

Semifinals

Friday, Oct. 20

George Washington 42, Guam High 12

Saturday, Oct. 21

Simon Sanchez vs. Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington High School, Mangilao, 7 p.m.

Third-place game

Friday, Oct. 27

Guam High vs. Simon Sanchez/Father Duenas loser at higher seed, time and site to be determined.

Bamboo Bowl

Saturday, Oct. 28

George Washington vs. Simon Sanchez/Father Duenas winner at higher seed, time and site to be determined.

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