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Heroes turned up on both sides of the ball to power Misawa and Foster to the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League’s division titles with victories on Saturday.

Quarterback Douglas Brown threw a touchdown pass and ran for two scores as the Jets rallied from a 16-12 halftime deficit against defending league champion Yokota for a 24-22 win at Hillside Field that gave Misawa (3-0) the North title. The Warriors fell to 1-2.

Receiver-turned-cornerback Wyley Flowers intercepted three passes, running one back for a TD, and set up another score by covering a muffed punt return and Foster (3-0) bagged the South crown by downing Kadena 20-6 at blustery Ryukyu Middle School. The Dragons fell to 1-2.

“Word to the wise: Don’t throw the ball to the Foster Bulldogs,” Flowers said after his spectacular defensive performance. He ran back an interception 92 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-6 with 3:50 left in the third period.

On Kadena’s next possession, he intercepted Jason Young again, then when the Bulldogs stalled and punted, Flowers fell on a ball touched by Dragons return man Kevin Brennan. Two plays later, James Sanford found Ricky Shorter through an open seam for a 49-yard TD to cap the scoring.

“He’s probably one of the two best athletes we have on the team,” Bulldogs coach Gerald Sharber said of Flowers. “If you’re looking for an athlete, you look at him. He can play anything. He’s a true player. It’s a team game, but sometimes one player makes a team.”

Kadena struck first when Emanuel Griffin scored on a 6-yard run, set up by Brett Combs’ interception and 35-yard return on the first play of the second quarter.

Foster went ahead to stay just before halftime on Damian Peterson’s 2-yard run and Madison Axel’s two-point conversion, set up by a wind-driven Kadena punt that went for minus-seven yards to the Dragons’ 2.

Kadena’s single-wing offense gained 291 rushing yards in its previous encounter with Foster; on Saturday, the Dragons were held to 83 total.

“We made a lot of defensive adjustments,” assistant Paul Nuttall said.

“Offensive line execution. That’s what it was,” Kadena coach Ted Danecki said.

The game was played through the remnants of Tropical Storm Meari, producing 50-mph gusts and occasional wind-driven showers. “You have to come out in conditions like these and just play,” Sharber said.

At Misawa, Brown hit Donterrio Irby from 30 yards out for one score, then ran for touchdowns of 3 and 5 yards. “He carried the team today,” Jets coach Ben Mathe said.

Misawa had but one practice in the preceding two weeks due to duty commitments. “I couldn’t be any more proud,” Mathe said. “The character of the team showed when a special thing like this happens. Yokota came up and played hard. Typical black-and-blue North Division game.

Jason Williams capped the scoring with a 2-yard TD run for the Jets. Yokota’s Ryan Jones replied by accounting for all three touchdowns, a 5-yard run and TD passes of 65 yards to Robert Harris and 75 to Lamon Irvin. Gabe Huizar, a recent Yokota High School graduate, booted a 44-yard field goal to cap the Warriors’ scoring.

“Tough loss,” Yokota coach Selwyn Jones said, acknowledging that the road to a Torii Bowl title repeat now runs through Hillside Field in the North Division playoff final Aug. 6. “We have to come back up here and beat them.”


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