TOKYO – Running backs Andrew Howe and Rhys Gallagher not only helped American School In Japan run its football winning streak to two games – they helped the Mustangs remain alive for a chance to defend their Far East Division I crown.

Howe and Gallagher each rushed for three touchdowns and ASIJ celebrated its annual “Spirit Day” by crushing Seoul American 55-14, moving to within a game of last year’s runner-up Kadena, which lost 45-40 in a shootout Saturday at Nile C. Kinnick.

“We played the way we should play football today,” coach Roy Tomlinson said after ASIJ ran its record to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in D-I, having outscored its last two opponents 89-20. “We played our best game of the season today.”

ASIJ, thought to be out of the running a couple of weeks ago, can clinch a berth in its second straight D-I title game if the Mustangs can win on the road Oct. 13 at Kadena, and would also need the Panthers to lose Friday at Kubasaki.

One thing at a time, Tomlinson said. “We have to beat Kadena; that’s going to be a challenge,” he said.

Howe finished with 84 yards on six carries, while Gallagher ran eight times for 42 yards and Josh Larsen also ran for a touchdown. The Mustangs had 429 total yards, 211 on the ground.

Jack Ambrosino was 12-for-17 for 218 yards and a touchdown pass to Oliver Rogers. Dean Hahne had four receptions for 102 yards, Rogers two catches for 44 yards and Jake Noddin 30 yards on three catches.

ASIJ’s defense picked off four passes, two of them by Rogers, including an over-the-shoulder one-handed catch that Tomlinson called “amazing.”

ASIJ raced to a 41-7 lead at half. Seoul American, 0-4 overall and 0-2 in D-I got its lone first-half points on Jordan Ooka’s kick-return touchdown, then Brent Carver ran 1 yard for the Falcons’ second-half touchdown.

The Mustangs get a week off before traveling to Kadena; kickoff is at 6 p.m. Oct. 13. Seoul American next plays at home, hosting Osan; kickoff is at 6 p.m. Friday.

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