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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – In what coach Roy Tomlinson referred to as a “defensive shootout,” his American School In Japan football team came away with a victory thanks to the right toe of Tyler Cross.

The senior placekicker’s extra-point boot to cap the game’s second series gave the Mustangs a one-touchdown lead and they held on to edge Kubasaki 7-6, spoiling the Dragons’ homecoming and sweeping the season series. ASIJ blanked Kubasaki 17-0 on Sept. 7 at Mustang Valley.

“They (Kubasaki) outplayed us (but) we did just enough to win,” Tomlinson said after the Mustangs improved to 4-2 overall and 3-2 against Division I opponents.

“They were solid defensively, they moved the ball on us; they just couldn’t make scoring plays,” Tomlinson said of his foes.

The grass field, made moist by week-long rainfall, slowed down the pace of both teams, Tomlinson said. “Our game is predicated on a much faster field,” he said; every other D-I field is covered with field turf.

“We competed well against a good team; we came up short and we hated to lose,” said coach Fred Bales of a Dragons squad that fell to 0-4.

ASIJ struck first, with Oliver Rogers scoring on a 2-yard quarterback sneak. Cross’ placement made it 7-0 and it stayed that way until the third quarter.

The Mustangs could have made it more, driving from their 10-yard line to the Dragons’ 5, but ASIJ turned the ball over just before half, a fumble recovered by Clint Reventlow.

“That was a big play,” Bales said, one that carried momentum over to the second half, when the Dragons cut the margin to one point on a touchdown run by Hayden Williamson. ASIJ blocked the subsequent extra-point try and that margin stood up at the end.

Kubasaki drove a couple of times into Mustang territory late in the second half, only to fumble the ball away.

The last of the failed Kubasaki drives was sparked by a crucial interception by Horton, which he returned 35 yards to midfield, but the Dragons couldn't capitalize.

“We had our chances late,” Bales said. “But that’s life. That’s football.”

The Mustangs next visit Zama on Friday at 7 p.m. Kubasaki next travels to Nile C. Kinnick for a Friday game that’s a makeup of a scheduled Sept. 28 date that was postponed due to Typhoon Trami.


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