By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 6, 2017
American School In Japan Mustangs
2016 season record — 7-1 overall, won school’s first D-I title 35-18 last Nov. 12 over Kadena.
Head coach — Roy Tomlinson, first season (has served as Mustangs’ offensive coordinator since 2005). Replaces John Seevers, head coach for 33 seasons.
Returning players — 13.
Returning starters — 8.
Key performers — Jack Ambrosino, Sr., QB (59-for-109, 1,007 yards, 11 TDs); Nash Rasmussen, So., LB (transferred from Utah); Jake Noddin, Sr., RB (235 yards, 1 TD, 50 carries; 44-yard TD catch); Jo Tsusaka, Sr., RB (478 yards, 8 TDs, 74 carries; 124 yards, 3 TDs, 4 catches; 3 interceptions); Oliver Rogers, Jr., WR (116 yards, 1 TD, 8 catches); David Dickson, Sr., L; Andrew Howe, Jr., RB (512 yards, 4 TDs, 64 carries; 41-yard TD catch);
Strengths — Solid skills-positions players, returning and incoming.
Drawbacks — Having to replace a handful of key contributors, including the team’s three leading tacklers and two primary receivers.
Overview — Contending, though an injury or two could derail things, especially in the interior. If they’re able to overcome losses in the line with more quickness and speed, ASIJ could easily return to the D-I title chase.