KADENA AIR BASE, Japan – Returning to the field following a pair of bye weeks, dual-threat Justin Sego, new quarterback JaMario Harris and the Kadena Panthers showed little signs of rust on Saturday.
Sego rushed for three touchdowns and returned a punt for another, while Harris threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to Preston Harris and ran a keeper in for a score to power the Panthers past Daegu 56-26 at Kadena’s Ryukyu Middle School’s Habu Field.
“This was a good game for us coming off those byes,” Panthers coach Sergio Mendoza said, adding that the one-sided score didn’t reflect the nature of their opponents. “Daegu always plays us tough and today was no different. They are tough players, they have good size, they have a lot of heart.”
Sego continued his march toward the 1,000-yard mark, amassing 193 on 24 attempts, giving him 888 on 102 carries. His 54-yard punt-return touchdown came in the first half. “He had a big day,” Mendoza said of Sego, who had two TDs called back on penalties. Darren Gerstner also ran for two touchdowns.
Dual-threat quarterback Caleb Page rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two scores for Daegu. “He did a great job leading the team, ran the zone-read and passed the ball well,” coach Luke Spencer said.
But mistakes on special teams and fumbling the ball away twice in Kadena territory hurt the Warriors, Spencer said.
“We had a few miscues that they scored on,” Spencer said. “They have a fantastic team, and Sego is unbelievable. Kadena is tough, they’re always prepared. But our kids didn’t give up. We had a good showing.”
Kadena gets another week off before hosting Kubasaki on Oct. 25 to decide the island championship; kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Habu Field. The Panthers then finish the regular season at Nile C. Kinnick on Nov. 2; those two games could go a long way toward determining Far East Division I title-game berths.
“We’re excited about playing Kubasaki and Kinnick; those will be good for us,” Mendoza said. Daegu also gets a bye next week, then finishes its regular season Oct. 25 at Seoul American; kickoff is at 6 p.m.