Matthew C. Perry senior running back Caeleb Ricafrente races ahead of Yokota defender C.J. Thomas toward the end zone as Samurai quarterback Garrett Macias watches.

Matthew C. Perry senior running back Caeleb Ricafrente races ahead of Yokota defender C.J. Thomas toward the end zone as Samurai quarterback Garrett Macias watches. (Kai Lange/Special to Stars and Stripes)

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan – Game-long rain and sloppy, muddy conditions that leave a team ground-bound and unable to throw might be a problem for some teams.

But not for Frank Macias and his Matthew C. Perry Samurai.

“My kids thrive on that. That’s just normal Samurai football,” said Macias, whose team gained 388 yards, all on the ground, and scored every time they had the ball in a 52-19 rout Saturday of Yokota that propelled Perry into the Far East Division II title game Nov. 5.

The Samurai host Humphreys in Perry’s second trip to the championship. They hosted Daegu in the 2014 final and lost 60-50.

From the moment Saturday dawned rainy and chilly at Iwakuni, smiles came to the faces of players and coaching staff, said Macias, whose team is the only one left in Japan that plays on natural grass.

“This was our element, absolutely,” Macias said.

Setting the pace was Pacific touchdown leader Caeleb Ricafrente. The senior power back ran 19 times for 193 yards and three touchdowns.

Andrew Borrero added 65 yards and two scores on 11 carries, Ethan Peterson 65 yards and a TD on 16 tries and Zach Brosn a TD and 68 yards on seven carries.

Macias credited the play of the offensive line, which he says is “just overpowering now,” particularly senior center Lucas Holsopple. “He’s blowing people off the ball.”

The Samurai went no-huddle most of the way, with quarterback Garrett Macias making audible calls 40 percent of the time, Frank Macias said. Perry did not punt once; in fact, the Samurai have not punted in four games, since a 48-18 loss Sept. 24 at Nile C. Kinnick.

For Ricafrente, it marks the first time he’ll play in the D-II final; he missed the 2014 contest due to a broken elbow.

“This is a great opportunity; this means a lot to me,” Ricafrente said. “It will be a good chance for me to show what I have in the championship, and to do it at home, that’s a big one for us, again.”

Brown led the Samurai defense with seven tackles and two sacks. Borrero and Elijah LeBron each had six tackles and Mason Graydon five tackles and a fumble recovery.

Perry’s defense held Yokota to just 89 yards rushing on 25 carries, just over 2 yards per carry.

“We didn’t do a good enough job of winning the line of scrimmage either on offense or defense,” coach Tim Pujol said. “We went all out to try and shut them down defensively and we didn’t do a good job of that. We lost the line of scrimmage.”

While the conditions were mucky, “we didn’t make too many mistakes that were the fault of the conditions,” Pujol said.

T.J. Reney was 4-for-10 for 97 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to Marquis Smith-Brown, who also returned a kick 90 yards for a score. Jalen Harrison added a 1-yard touchdown run. Smith-Brown finished with 185 all-purpose yards.

Yokota closes its season on Saturday at American School In Japan; kickoff is at 1 p.m.

Perry’s regular season is done; now comes the waiting for Macias, Ricafrente and four other players on the Samurai roster who remember the 2014 D-II final loss to Daegu.

“They still feel the sting of losing on our field,” Macias said. “We don’t want to end that way this year. One more before mission accomplished.”

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