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Kadena shuts out Kubasaki to sweep series

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 4, 2018

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – A nearly three-week layoff and a game-long rain didn’t seem to slow down Kadena’s dynamic running-back duo of Eric McCarter and Uriah Morris.

McCarter ran and passed for two touchdowns each and he and Morris combined for 186 rushing yards as the Panthers slogged through the rain from approaching Typhoon Kong-Rey to blank Kubasaki 33-0 on Wednesday at Ryukyu Middle School.

“Those two guys put on a show,” Kubasaki coach Fred Bales said.

The game was originally scheduled for Friday but moved up two days in anticipation of the typhoon. With the win, the Panthers swept the regular-season series from the Dragons and captured their third straight Okinawa district title.

“We played more cohesively than we did the last time,” coach Sergio Mendoza said, comparing Wednesday’s victory to the Panthers’ 41-7 season-opening win at Kubasaki on Aug. 31.

This despite the long layoff, during which the Panthers had their scheduled game last Friday at Yokota postponed due to Typhoon Trami. Kadena also had just one practice this week in advance of the Kubasaki game, a Tuesday afternoon walkthrough.

Kadena improved to 3-1 overall, all against Division I teams, and remains in second place behind 2-0 Nile C. Kinnick in the D-I standings. The Red Devils hold a tiebreaker due to their 34-33 win at Kadena on Sept. 8. The Dragons fell to 0-3.

McCarter rushed for 105 yards and two scores on 10 carries and was 2-for-5 passing, both completions for touchdowns of 53 and 34 yards to Rasheed Fountroy. Morris had six carries for 81 yards. McCarter and Morris each ran for two-point conversions and Kadena scored a safety on special teams.

The Panthers also got contributions from new players who had just completed their 10 mandatory practices. “They’re really going to help us out,” Mendoza said.

“We’ll be able to open up the playbook tremendously the rest of the season. I think we’re ready to start playing Panther football,” Mendoza said.

The Dragons cobbled together 127 rushing yards, with Jaylan Penny leading Kubasaki with 40 yards on nine attempts. Hayden Williamson led the Dragons with 19 tackles and Clint Reventlow added 10 and Haydn Peterson eight.

“We got outgunned up front,” Bales said of the line play. “They’re (Kadena) a great team.”

Kadena continues its bid for a sixth straight Far East Division I title-game berth when the Panthers travel to Humphreys Oct. 13; kickoff is at 6 p.m. Kubasaki hosts American School In Japan, still alive for a title shot, on Oct. 19; kickoff is at 5 p.m.

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