Rising Sun Bowl football: Yokota captures fifth straight title, 50-6
November 15, 2004
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — What was expected to be the closest Rising Sun Bowl in years turned into one of the most lopsided in the six-year history of the DODDS All-Japan football championship.
Chris Roach ran 17 times for 203 yards and a touchdown and returned a punt 70 yards for a score as Yokota made it “one for the thumb,” winning for the fifth straight year 50-6 Saturday over the Kadena Islanders.
From the opening series, the six-time JFL and Kanto Plain champion Panthers outplayed the Islanders in nearly every department, outgaining them 404-108, not punting once and not allowing a first down until nearly halfway through the third quarter.
“Defense wins championships. Our defense shut them down,” senior Kenny Harris said.
“And our offense moved the chains,” senior lineman Shane Andersen said.
“The defense did an outstanding job of taking away the run, and getting the ball back to our offense,” coach Tim Pujol said. “It wasn’t perfect; we had some mistakes and missed assignments. But we had a lot more big yardage plays for our backs than I expected.”
Pujol said he expected a closer contest after watching the Islanders drub the Kadena Buccaneers 37-12 on Nov. 5 in the Okinawa Activities Council title game.
“I have a lot of respect for the game plan they had on offense,” Pujol said. “I have to give credit to the defense for containing the line and their backs.”
Roach joined his older brother Roy (2003) as the Rising Sun Bowl MVP.
“The bigger the game, the bigger he plays,” Pujol said.
Roach tipped his helmet to the line and fullback Shamarr Howell for plowing the road for him.
“The line has been blocking hard all year,” he said. “They deserve the credit. I follow them. The holes were huge.”
Yokota even showed some spark in the passing game. Shawn Novak went 3-for-4 for 103 yards, including touchdown passes of 64 and 21 yards to D.J. McCary.
“D.J. bailed me out on a couple of big plays,” Novak said. “Everything clicked. This was the best game of my career.”
The Islanders were held without a score until Stcyr Madayag’s 11-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Arnold Tillman.
“That’s a fantastic team, no doubt about it,” Islanders coach Sergio Mendoza said.
He said Kadena might have given Yokota a better game had the school put its best talent on the field, instead of its traditional split-squad format.
“It’s like playing with one hand behind your back,” he said. “We’re not surprised by the outcome. Until [we] put full squads together, this is going to be the outcome.”
Will the Panthers be back to start fitting the other hand with Rising Sun Bowl rings?
“We’ll have to sit back and look at who’s coming back,” Pujol said. “Right now, I just want to enjoy today. I’m very happy for the seniors. It’s always a nice way for them to end the season.”
Yokota 50, Kadena Islanders 6
At Yokota Air Base, Japan
Kadena Islanders 0 0 0 6 6
Yokota 10 20 14 6 50
Yokota—FG Stefan Welch 34, 3:41
Yokota—Chris Roach 8 run (Stefan Welch kick), 7:15
Yokota—Shamarr Howell 9 run (Stefan Welch kick), 2:11
Yokota—D.J. McCary 64 pass from Shawn Novak (Stefan Welch kick), 6:05
Yokota—D.J. McCary 21 pass from Shawn Novak (kick failed), 10:35
Yokota—Chris Roach 70 punt return (Stefan Welch kick), 1:49
Yokota—Jamal McNeill 32 interception return (kick failed), 3:13
Kadena Islanders—Arnold Tillman 11 pass from Stcyr Madayag (kick failed), 1:41
Yokota—Josh Cunningham 29 run (Eric Childs kick), 9:20
First Downs 16 6
Rushing 30-303 30-91
Passing yards 103 11
Comp-att.-int. 3-4-0 1-8-1
Total offense 38-404 39-108
Return yards 128 57
Total yards 532 165
Turnovers 2 2
Penalties-yards 2-15 1-5
Rushing—Yokota, Chris Roach 17-203, Josh Cunningham 3-45, Shamarr Howell 4-19, Kenny Harris 2-14, Scott Monahan 1-13, Jamal McNeill 2-10, Shawn Novak 1-(minus 1); Kadena Islanders, Keith Loving 17-42, David McCowan 9-39, Ted Awana 4-10.
Passing—Yokota, Shawn Novak 3-4-0-103; Kadena Islanders, Stcyr Madayag 1-8-1-11.
Receiving—Yokota, D.J. McCary 2-85, Jamal McNeill 1-18; Kadena Islanders, Arnold Tillman 1-11.