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TOKYO – There was no question Kubasaki could play good defense, coach Fred Bales said. His Dragons offense was simply having trouble finding the end zone.

At least up until Friday.

That’s when e two units came together resoundingly, as Kubasaki forced eight American School In Japan turnovers, converting four into touchdowns, with quarterback Lucas Kappen accounting for three of them, in a 28-7 romp, Kubasaki’s first win of the season.

“We had a rough start to the season, but our boys are all in and they’ve been improving every week, and we’re proud of that effort and commitment,” Bales said.

Micah Truman and Elijah Ferrell-Ayers led the way on defense, each picking off two passes, while Haydn Peterson forced two fumbles and Vincent Rodriguez, Thiago Facchini, Anthony Munoz and Sebastian Stone each recovered fumbles. Mark Podzon and Clint Reventlow each had seven tackles.

Kappen led the way on offense, going 10-for-12 passing for 137 yards, including touchdown passes of 22 yards to Truman and 60 to Rodriguez. Peterson rushed 11 times for 77 yards and a touchdown and Kappen had 48 yards on 10 carries, including a 1-yard sneak for a touchdown. Malik Brown added 60 yards on eight attempts.

“We got off to a good start on offense and we made a lot fewer errors and it allowed us to move the ball, move the chains and score points,” Bales said.

This was the first of two meetings between the two teams at Mustang Valley this season.

ASIJ was scheduled to travel to Kubasaki for a game Sept. 20, but it was postponed due to Tropical Storm Tapah and rescheduled for Nov. 1, with the Dragons visiting Mustang Valley a second time. DODEA funds its teams for travel to venues for football games; ASIJ must self-fund for such trips.

The Mustangs (0-2) were able to move the ball, but made too many mistakes, coach Tim Jacobsson said. They were able to avert a shutout when Ken Mah ran 5 yards for a touchdown with 39.2 seconds left.

“We didn’t do ourselves any favors,” Jacobsson said. “We put ourselves in a hole and couldn’t dig ourselves out. The boys finally found their groove and played with heart in the second half.”

Each team is still alive for a berth in the Nov. 9 Far East Division I title game but must win out and get plenty of help. The Dragons next visit Kadena, which has already clinched a berth in the title game, at 6 p.m. Friday, while the Mustangs next visit Humphreys at 6 p.m. Oct. 19.

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