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IWAKUNI MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Japan — Roy Roach ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns and his brother, Chris, added 75 yards and a TD on Saturday in Yokota’s 51-13 romp over Matthew C. Perry in a Japan Football League game.

The short-handed Panthers (2-0), who dressed 23 players and were missing key starters Karl Gerstner and James Ritton, rolled up 384 yards and seven scores on 41 carries.

Yokota did much of its damage in the second half, after going into the locker room with a 14-7 lead following a 65-yard desperation pass from Perry’s Ricky Brooks to Nate Albia as the half ended.

“We had a very strong second half of rushing,” Yokota coach Tim Pujol said. “They send players from every direction and were outhitting us in the first half. Several of their players did an outstanding job for them.”

Yokota essentially put the game away with two touchdowns in the first three minutes of the second half.

Jeremiah Pearcey returned the opening kickoff 36 yards, then took a handoff on a dive play and ran the last 49 for a TD. Kenny Harris recovered the ensuing kickoff for Yokota at the Perry 34, and five plays later, Roy Roach ran a 25-yard option for a score.

“That brought all the momentum back to our side, then the line started winning the battle” up front, Pujol said.

Roy Roach also scored on runs of 13 yards in the second period and 30 in the third. Chris Roach took a handoff on a trap play 51 yards for a third-quarter TD.

Pearcey got the first of his two TDs on a 10-yard dive in the first quarter. He finished with 107 yards on 10 carries, plus three returns for 100 yards, giving him 207 all-purpose yards.

The Panthers piled up those yards behind a line that was missing Gerstner, their starting center and placekicker. Joe Saffold, a sophomore, filled in a center, while junior Jon Saffold kicked six of seven extra points.

“The Saffolds really came through for us,” said Pujol, adding that Gerstner, sidelined by a left-knee injury, likely would not return to practice until Sept. 22.

Quarterback Shawn Novak threw only three times, completing two for 31 yards. The Panthers forced seven turnovers, with Jason Correll recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass.

Albia had both TDs for the Samurai (0-1), including a 40-yard fumble return in the third period.

Yokota hosts the American School In Japan next Friday, and Perry travels to Yokosuka Naval Base on Saturday to battle JFL co-leader Nile C. Kinnick.


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