Outlaws, Dragons remain class of American military football league
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 17, 2019
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – Defense and special teams ruled the day Sunday as the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League resumed action after one of two scheduled bye weeks.
Daniel Gonzales returned a pick six for the game’s only touchdown as Hansen blanked Ryukyu University 7-0. The Okinawa Dragons outlasted Kinser 10-3 in a battle of special teams, with Jeffrey Botts’ kick-return touchdown providing the difference in the contest.
Hansen 7, Ryudai 0: While the Outlaws offense could not get untracked, the defense “did everything for our team,” Hansen coach Dean McCown Sr. said. “I’m so happy that defense can and will win championships in football.”
Gonzales proved to be the key player for the Outlaws (2-1), breaking up two passes, recording multiple tackles and returning an interception 90 yards for the game’s only TD in the third quarter.
Josh Marvin, Kevin Perez-Pinales and Darius Barnwell also had interceptions. Josh Prince recorded a key quarterback strip sack in the fourth quarter that stopped a key drive by the Stingray (0-3).
“The defense is better, but we need to get the offense on some type of rhythm and get them into the end zone, McCown said.
Dragons 10, Kinser 3: Scott Kolb booted a 33-yard field goal and Botts returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown for the Dragons (4-0 overall, 3-0 league). The Ronins’ lone points came on Zacory Gibb’s 25-yard field goal.
Red-zone penalties stanched any momentum the Dragons tried to build, but “defense held up,” Dragons coach Jermaine Baker said.
“I’m confident that we will come together and be able to score in all three phases of the game. We might be 4-0, but when we can execute in all phases, that’s when we’ll really start winning games.”
Wade Taylor had two sacks and Johnell Strong recorded six tackles to pace the defense for the Ronins (1-2).
The Dragons take on the Stingray at noon and the Outlaws face what McCown calls the “new and improved” Ronins at 5 p.m. next Sunday at Ryukyu Middle School’s Habu Field.
“I cannot wait to see what Coach (Reezy) Hall has up his sleeve for us,” McCown said.