Relentless Kadena too much for Kubasaki
October 1, 2010
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Aaron Ahner had missed most of the season with an ankle injury. Shariff Coleman sat out the second half of Kadena’s game last week with a hamstring cramp.
The two made the most of their opportunities back in the Panthers’ lineup Friday.
Ahner caught touchdown passes of 46 and 18 yards from Lotty Smith and Coleman totalled 178 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries as Kadena once more had its way at Kubasaki’s homecoming game, routing the Dragons, 56-16.
“We knew that we had to get healthy and be ready to play when the time was right, and this was when the time was right. They were healthy and ready to go, on all four cylinders,” Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza said.
With the win, defending Far East Division I Kadena ran its Okinawa Activities Council win string over Kubasaki to 13 games dating back to the 2006 season.
But Friday’s win wasn’t easy, particularly in the first quarter, when the teams matched each other score for score.
Thomas McDonald got the first of his four touchdowns on a 33-yard scamper, but Kubasaki’s Deon Lewis promptly answered on the next play, a 56-yard run. Coleman replied with an 80-yard touchdown run, then in the quarter’s closing seconds, Kubasaki quarterback Cristian Rivera ran it in from 7 yards out.
“We knew they had a lot of weapons and they’re going to get some plays off those weapons,” Mendoza said. “We had to nullify that as best we could. There were moments when we were giving up big plays, but we tightened the screws down.”
And from there, it was all Panthers.
McDonald finished with 119 yards on 15 carries and Smith ran nine times for 108 yards and a touchdown, giving him 172 yards total offense. Kadena as a team ran 54 times for 443 yards, had 507 yards of offense and 599 total yards. Ahner also had a sack, as did Moises Charles, and James Nollie recovered a fumble.
“We got some things done, (but we) didn’t make enough plays and our defense didn’t tackle,” said coach Fred Bales, whose Dragons are 2-14 against Kadena since 2005.
Kubasaki (3-1) visits the Panthers (5-0) on Friday at Kadena Air Base’s Ryukyu Middle School, needing a victory by 41 or more points to gain the OAC’s berth in the Division I playoffs.
“We have to play fundamentals, stay sound on defense, work on our O-line play and come back hard next week,” Bales said.
Lewis compiled 175 all-purpose yards on 13 touches. Rivera added 124 yards total offense, going 8-for-17 in the air for 102 yards, and Brandon Crawford finished with 107 yards on five catches.