CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – Just when all seemed lost for Humphreys, a pair of brothers named Gregory came through.
Deontaye Gregory, a junior quarterback, threw 25 yards to his senior brother Sh’Voda Gregory Jr. for the game-winning touchdown with 2 minutes, 42 seconds left as the Blackhawks rallied to edge Kubasaki 6-2 Friday at Blackhawks Field.
It was the first points of the season for Humphreys and they could not have come at a better time as the Blackhawks pulled out a must-win to stay alive in the chase for Far East Division I playoff space.
“Four quarters of good football is what it was,” Blackhawks coach Steven Elliott said. “The fans got their money’s worth.”
It was a defensive struggle, what Dragons coach Fred Bales called “the most physical second half of football I’ve seen in a long time.”
The Dragons (0-3) took a 2-0 lead in the second quarter when Haydn Peterson made a tackle of a Blackhawks ball carrier in the end zone.
From there, the defense held firm until the last touchdown pass. Six times the Blackhawks (1-1) entered Kubasaki’s red zone, and six times the Dragons defense denied them, once when Zander Munoz blocked a Humphreys field-goal try. And twice the Blackhawks fumbled the ball away in the Dragons’ red zone.
“You start to get concerned” when that happens, Elliott said. “We need to keep two hands on the ball and we have to clean up some penalties; those ate us up. But I never lost faith in these guys. They will play to the final seconds. You can’t lose faith in a four-quarter team.”
Deontaye Gregory finished 3-for-7 for 66 yards. David Key rushed 23 times for 208 yards and Brenton Carver added 101 yards on 14 attempts plus 10 tackles. Junior Gregory caught four passes for 109 yards.
Steven Petracca had two interceptions for the Blackhawks, one coming on the play after the Blackhawks scored the go-ahead touchdown.
Jayden Brinkerhoff added 12 tackles and Dontrell Powers 10. Collin Metcalf and Sean Cook each recovered fumbles and Junior Gregory forced a fumble.
Kubasaki, too, had its opportunities to punch the ball into the end zone, including a first-and-goal on the Dragons’ first offensive series.
“We didn’t have the plays we needed to push it in,” Bales said. “We came here to compete for four quarters and win and we came awfully close. Hat’s off to the Blackhawks. They got the points to win it.”
Lucas Kappen was 5-for-7 for 47 yards for the Dragons. Peterson had 12 tackles, three for losses and a forced fumble; Clint Reventlow also had 12 tackles, Jaylan Mayers seven tackles and an interception and Malik Brown had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Kubasaki next travels to American School In Japan for a 2:30 p.m. Friday kickoff at Mustang Valley. The Blackhawks next face a critical road trip on Oct. 12 at defending Far East Division I champion Nile C. Kinnick. ebo Naval Base.