TOKYO – Coe Laughlin rushed for three touchdowns and American School In Japan tuned up for its first Far East Division I championship game appearance by beating Yokota 53-16 in Saturday’s regular-season finale.
The Mustangs (6-1) scored six times on the ground, threw just one pass and also scored twice on defense, holding the Panthers (5-3) to 184 yards of offense.
“It was a nice effort from everybody, a lot of kids got playing time,” said John Seevers, in his 40th year coaching with the Mustangs program.
They’ll host two-time defending champion Kadena on Nov. 12 in the D-I title game. “We’re ready for that big one on the 12th,” Seevers said.
Laughlin rushed five times for 83 yards. Jo Tsusaka added 66 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and Andrew Howe 55 yards and a TD on four tries. Yoshiki Takahashi scored on a 3-yard run.
ASIJ scored on the game’s first play when defensive lineman Anthony Jeler took a deflected pass and returned it 21 yards to the end zone. Joseph Ettison scored near the end of the third quarter on a 38-yard fumble return.
Yokota broke a 34-0 shutout when Kishaun Kimble-Brooks ran 1 yard for a score. The Panthers capped the scoring on T.J. Reney’s 1-yard toss to C.J. Thomas.
Reney was 7-for-19 for 74 yards and Sean Caffrey went 3-for-8 for 16 for Yokota. Brooks led the Panthers with 75 yards on 12 carries and had 33 yards on two returns. The Panthers threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles.