Rising Sun-bound Yokota rolls in JFL season finale
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — While completing another unbeaten Japan Football League season and stretching its winning streak on the field to 38 games, Yokota High School also showed a glimpse of its football future Friday night.
Junior Chris Roach ran eight times for 110 yards and a touchdown and intercepted a pass to power the Panthers past the Robert D. Edgren Eagles 46-0 in the JFL season finale at Yokota’s Bonk Field.
“The future looks great with Chris,” Yokota coach Tim Pujol said of Roach, who took most of the snaps out of the tailback spot in practice last week in place of his brother, Roy, a senior limited to four carries by a bruised arm.
“He stepped up. Tonight, he was fantastic,” Pujol said. “The future looks bright.”
The victory boosted five-time JFL champion Yokota to a 10-0 regular-season as the Panthers tuned up for Saturday’s trip to Okinawa for the Rising Sun Bowl, which they’ll try to win for a fourth straight year.
“You can tell they’re primed for the bowl game,” Edgren first-year coach Jim Burgeson said. “They’re hitting on all cylinders. And we clicked on none tonight.”
Pujol said he took nothing for granted against an Edgren team Yokota slipped by 14-0 in their first meeting Oct. 4 at Misawa Air Base.
And despite the lopsided rematch, Pujol sees a good future for the Eagles also.
“Him [Burgeson] coming and taking over the [Edgren] program raises the bar for our league,” Pujol said of a coach who spent the last few years coaching high school football in Florida. “They’re [Eagles] going to be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. Some of the scores this season bore that out.”
Friday, Chris Roach, expected to be the starter next season, took an option pitchout and ran 66 yards for a touchdown to cap a first half in which the Panthers did all their scoring, including two TDs by the defense.
Kojiro Nowell returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown on the Eagles’ first possession. After Jason Correll’s interception set up Jeremiah Pearcey’s 12-yard TD run, the Panthers’ defense scored again.
A shotgun snap went over the head of Edgren quarterback Bryan Krueger. Chasing it down, Krueger was tackled at the 10-yard line, the ball stayed loose and linebacker Shaun Bevett unintentionally kicked it into the end zone, where he fell on it for a TD.
Pearcey added an 11-yard scoring run, Roy Roach ran 70 yards for a touchdown and Corie White caught a 34-yard TD pass from Shawn Novak.
Roy Roach finished with 92 yards on four carries, backup fullback Keith Harris ran six times for 44 yards and Pearcey three times for 31. Novak went 2-for-4 for 51 yards.