Okinawa holds onto military football lead
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 24, 2019
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – Having traded one set of Dragons clothing for another, former Kubasaki receiver Juan Guerrero is now making contributions for his new team, the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League-leading Okinawa Dragons.
The 2018 Kubasaki graduate caught a 31-yard scoring pass as the Dragons strengthened their league lead, blanking the Ryukyu University Stingray 20-0 on Sunday at Ryukyu Middle School’s Habu Field.
“He’s a great addition,” Dragons coach Jermaine Baker said of Guerrero.
Mark Daraphone also caught a touchdown pass, of 38 yards, and Wellington Daniels ran 11 yards for a score as the Dragons swept the season series from the Stingray, which upset the Dragons in the 2018 semifinal 32-14 last May 26 at Habu Field. Ryudai is 0-4 this season.
Second-place Hansen (3-1 league) stayed within a game of first place by shutting out Kinser 14-0. The Ronin fell to 1-3.
Dragons 20, Ryudai 0: Jeffrey Botts and Dakota Phimmasone of the Dragons each intercepted passes to help stanch the Stingray’s offense.
The Dragons’ linebacking corps “made big plays all over the field and the defensive line put constant pressure on the Stingray, which we needed it we were to have any chance of stopping their passing attack,” Baker said.
It could have been a bigger victory for the Dragons (5-0 overall, 4-0 league) had not three Reggie Hunter rushing touchdowns been called back due to penalties.
“It kills me because that young man plays with so much passion, and the offensive line makes huge holes, and big plays get taken away from us by shooting ourselves in the foot,” Baker said. “But we will continue to get better.”
Hansen 14, Kinser 0: Following a scoreless first half, Brandon Stevenson hit Michael Mauger for a 35-yard touchdown pass, then Kamren Moore sealed the contest with a 40-yard interception-return touchdown.
“Our defense was once again lights out (and) our offense has finally bought into the system” that the offensive coaching staff “has put together and Stevenson was the main reason for the big game,” Outlaws coach Dean McCown Sr. said.
The USFJ-AFL takes its second bye week next Sunday, then play resumes on April 7 with Hansen facing Ryudai at noon and the Dragons facing Kinser at 5 p.m..