Hansen, Okinawa continue to dominate military football league
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 21, 2018
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – Hansen’s Outlaws and the reigning league champion Okinawa Dragons each scored shutout victories Saturday coming off the April 14 bye, setting up a showdown next Saturday with the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League regular season title on the line.
Defense ruled the day for both winners. Three of Hansen’s touchdowns came on defense in a 46-0 shutout of Kinser. Meanwhile, the Dragons intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles and scored twice on defense to blank Ryukyu University 20-0.
The Outlaws (4-0) and the Dragons (3-1) face each other at 4 p.m. Saturday at Kadena’s McDonald Stadium. Ryudai (1-3) and Kinser (0-4) square off in the 10 a.m. game.
Hansen 46, Kinser 0: The bye week “came at the perfect time and helped my guys recover from the war in Week 3,” Outlaws coach Dean McCown said of their 14-12 win April 7 against the Dragons, a game that saw numerous injuries and three player ejections.
Joshua MacGibbon returned two interceptions for touchdowns and Joshua Marvin ran back a fumble for a score and also had an interception. Darius Brown had six tackles and three sacks for the Outlaws.
Aaron Walker and Mark Gregory combined for 62 yards and three rushing TDs on 12 attempts. Quarterbacks Aaron Ingram and Derrian Burton combined to go 5-for-10 for 47 yards, including a touchdown from Burton to Kalin Rowe.
“We still have a lot of work to do if we want to be champions,” McCown said.
Okinawa 20, Ryudai 0: Tony Queen returned from an injury against Hansen to haul in a touchdown pass, Forrest Privett ran for a touchdown and E-Quantey Mason returned a punt for a score for the second time this season.
The Dragons’ defense put all of its efforts into stopping Stingray’s player-coach Riichiro Shinjo, who had eight catches for 133 yards in Ryudai’s 28-0 win over Kinser on April 7. The Dragons held Shinjo to no catches on Saturday.
“Anyone can eat but him,” said coach J.B. Baker about Shinjo, who used to play for the Dragons. “He’s a special player; I hated losing him. But it’s better for the league” that the Stingray entered the USFJ-AFL this season under Shinjo. “He’s a great player and coach.”
Baker called the Dragons’ defense “the players of the game today.” Their defensive coordinator Luis Moret Jr. was not at the game due to military commitments “but the defense stepped up their game and represented well.”
It could have been a wider margin, but the Dragons had two touchdowns called back on penalties.