Eagles close out season by thumping Samurai
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan – In years past, when Robert D. Edgren would give up a touchdown and fall behind Matthew C. Perry, “we looked at it as a mountain to climb,” Eagles coach Jeremy Sanders said.
On Friday, the Eagles figured out how to rally against the Samurai, and in so doing established what Sanders said was the team’s identity heading into future seasons.
Douglas Tackney scored twice to lead Edgren to a season-ending 34-6 victory at Perry’s rainy Samurai Field.
“Beyond the shadow of a doubt, I know now this is the right direction for future Edgren teams,” said Sanders, who didn’t know two months ago if he would even have a team – they needed to beat an Aug. 31 deadline to suit up 18 players in order to have a season.
They did just that, then played a shortened schedule that began on Oct. 6. Edgren finished the shortened season 3-1, all against Division II teams, with the only blemish a 44-22 home loss to Zama on Oct. 19.
After the Eagles fell behind on a short touchdown run by Perry’s Joel Pacleb, “we climbed over the mountain, built the confidence in the team and we were able to establish ourselves,” Sanders said.
On the next series, the Eagles drove down the field and scored on Raphael Lykins’ 3-yard run. “We seized the momentum and kept going forward,” Sanders said.
Tackney increased the lead with a short touchdown return on special teams, then caught a 40-yard pass from Lykins in the second quarter for a score. Bradley McCollum added a 6-yard third-quarter TD run, then A.J. Nelson closed Edgren’s scoring with a 35-yard pass from Lykins.
“His kids were more physical, they played well, they beat us. Size and experience,” said coach Frank Macias of the Samurai (1-4).
In need of running backs due to injury, he moved lineman Marshall China into the backfield. “We took our best player and put him at fullback,” Macias said. He finished with 78 yards on 16 carries and caught a pass for 28 yards.
While Edgren shelves its gear until August, Perry closes its campaign next Friday when the Samurai travel to Nile C. Kinnick for the Red Devils’ homecoming game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.