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(Stars and Stripes)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – In need of a bounce-back victory after losing a week earlier to Kubasaki, Kadena used an efficient running game to defeat Nile C. Kinnick and seal the Japan Division I top playoff seed.

Anthony Chavez, Cameron Wilson and B.J. Taylor each scored on short runs and the Panthers defense bottled up the Red Devils’ attack en route to a 24-2 triumph Friday at Yokosuka’s soggy Berkey Field.

“Awesome,” Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza said. His Panthers improved to 3-1. “I was proud of the way the boys bounced back after a lackluster effort last week. The elements were really tough and we traveled the same day we played. But the boys rose to the occasion.”

The Panthers don’t play again before hosting the Japan D-I title game on Oct. 28, against either Kubasaki or Kinnick, whichever wins the D-I semifinal game Oct. 21.

“It means we have a long bye period, and we have to be able to stay prepared and work hard” in the interim to get ready for the final, Mendoza said.

Chavez and Wilson each scored on runs of 3 yards, while Taylor ran 5 yards for his score. Jeremiah Drummer ran in a pair of two-point conversions for the Panthers.

The Red Devils got their lone points on a gang-tackle safety in the second quarter but were not able to muster any kind of offensive flow, coach Dan Joley said.

“It was one of the nastiest games I’ve coached in weatherwise,” Joley said. “Kadena was more physical than we were and we turned the ball over too many times.”

The Red Devils host Kubasaki on Thursday in a makeup of their scheduled Sept. 2 game that was postponed due to Typhoon Hinnamnor. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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