TOKYO – The game was in doubt until the final moments, but Mustang Valley enjoyed a happy homecoming thanks to the passing touch of Brandon Rogers and the receiving hands of Ryan Murphy.

The two seniors hooked up for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 56 seconds left, lifting American School In Japan to a come-from-behind 28-21 win Saturday during what the school calls “Spirit Day.”

The win improved the Mustangs’ record to 2-1. It was a contest that longtime ASIJ coach John Seevers classified as a “barnburner.”

“It was a good win. It’s always a battle with Yokota,” said Seevers of a rivalry that dates back to 1973, with Seevers having coached the Mustangs for most of that time. “We have a good history going.”

It was a battle between ASIJ’s passing attack and the Panthers’ trademark ground machine. The Mustangs gained 227 of their 346 yards in the air, while Yokota racked up 246 rushing yards to just 24 passing.

Rogers went 18-for-27 for those 227 yards and two touchdowns, each to Murphy, and also ran 2 yards for a score. Murphy, too, had a rushing touchdown. Yokota got a pair of 1-yard scoring runs by Jamarvin Harvey and an 8-yard TD dash by Shota Sprunger. Marcus Henagan was 4-for-12 for 24 yards.

The Mustangs pulled ahead 20-6 at halftime, but Yokota stayed in it thanks to Harvey’s touchdowns, setting the stage for the Rogers-to-Murphy game-winning TD.

For the Panthers, it leaves only one goal left to chase, the DODDS Japan title. They won’t play against Matthew C. Perry, but starting Friday, they do face Nile C. Kinnick, Zama and Robert D. Edgren back-to-back, the first two at home.

“I told the guys I’d like for us to finish the season 3-0,” coach Tim Pujol said.

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