MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Robert D. Edgren football might be just about to turn the corner.
The evidence: A 14-0 loss to four-time Japan Football League champion Yokota, in which the Eagles held the Panthers scoreless for more than a half and limited their offense to one touchdown.
“I think they finally realized they can play football. It was nice to see,” said first-year Edgren head coach Jim Burgeson, whose team lost its first two games by a combined 100-6 to Zama American and Nile C. Kinnick.
Edgren (0-3) limited Yokota’s offense to a season-low 228 yards, and amassed 208 yards of offense. The Eagles also forced a turnover and recorded two sacks.
“And to do it against a team of that caliber,” Burgeson added. “That’s a well-coached team with some very good athletes. It came together today. The line arrived. They really made some holes.”
Yokota head coach Tim Pujol, who witnessed Kinnick’s 47-6 victory over Edgren on Sept. 6, was equally impressed.
“A lot can happen to a football team in four weeks,” he said. “These kids have worked hard. Jim has done a great job. They’re going to surprise some people. They played with enthusiasm and energy on defense, and offensively they were disciplined.”
It took a clutch defensive play for Yokota (5-0 overall, 4-0 in JFL) to finally seize the lead early in the third quarter, after Edgren took the opening kickoff and went on a seven-minute drive to the Panthers’ 12-yard line.
Corie White knocked the ball loose from quarterback Bryan Krueger on a blind-side blitz. Linebacker Shaun Bevett recovered and returned it 82 yards for the game’s first score.
“That was the one that really changed the momentum,” Pujol said. “That was such a great play by Corie and Shaun, being in the right place at the right time. That swung the momentum heavily in our favor.”
“That was definitely the play that dictated the outcome of the game,” Burgeson added.
Roy Roach led the Panthers with 126 yards on 19 carries. Jeremiah Pearcey added 54 yards on 10 attempts and Chris Roach finished with 30 yards on four carries, including a 9-yard TD run with 3:40 left. D.J. McCary and Koji Nowell each intercepted an Edgren pass.
Corey Kinchon led Edgren with 85 yards on 21 carries and was 1-for-2 passing for 25 yards. Krueger went 4-for-9 for 43 yards and ran seven times for 34 yards. Kyle Deutsch recorded seven tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery and Krueger added six tackles.
Zama American 42, Matthew C. Perry 0
ATSUGI NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — Fullback Russ Casimire scored on runs of 2, 5 and 10 yards, and Corey Stacy caught a 30-yard pass for his fourth TD in two weeks as the Trojans (3-2 overall, 2-2 JFL) won their third straight after opening with two losses.
Luis Cuadrado added a 20-yard scoring run and Jon Gilgenast scored from 8 yards out in the Trojans’ lone game this season at Atsugi’s Reid Memorial Stadium, considered a second home since more than half of Zama’s enrollment lives on Atsugi.
The Samurai (0-3) penetrated as far as midfield in the second half, after the Trojans, as dictated by league rules when a team leads by 40 or more points, removed their starters and played second- and third-line players.
Seoul American 59, Taegu American 6
CAMP WALKER, South Korea — Kris Stadler racked up 108 yards on six carries, running for touchdowns of 15 and 72 yards as the Falcons (2-0) won their 14th straight dating back to 2001, the second-longest winning streak in the Far East behind Yokota’s 32 straight.
Seoul American, which substituted liberally and played second- and third-stringers from the second quarter on, rolled up 517 yards of offense, while the defense recorded eight sacks and forced four turnovers.
Leo Niewierowski ran 75 yards for a TD on the game’s first play, finishing with 92 yards on four carries. Herald Oertwig added 86 yards and a score on seven tries, Steve Sivak ran four times for 64 yards and a TD and intercepted a pass and Leo Pacheco returned a pickoff 45 yards for a TD.
Quarterback-receiver Ryan Robbins led the Falcons with three scores, sneaking for touchdowns of 7 and 4 yards and catching a 20-yard scoring pass from Bruce Voelker.
Brian McGee returned a punt 70 yards for the only points for the Warriors (0-1) in their season opener.
Guam High 3, Simon Sanchez 0, forfeit
MANGILAO, Guam — The Panthers got their first victory of the season without taking the field.
According to Simon Sanchez athletic director Phyllis Leon Guerrero, the Sharks forfeited the contest at the coach’s request because the team only had 20 players.