SINGAPORE – A stingy Singapore All-Star defense both shut down Kadena’s running game and netted the game’s final touchdown in an historic first meeting between the two programs on Saturday at Singapore American School.
Jeff Scott ran 12 yards for a touchdown early in the third period and Matt Conklin capped the quarter with a 27-yard interception return as the Falcons beat an Okinawa Activities Council team for the first time, rallying past the three-time Far East Division I champion Panthers 14-6.
“Big victory for us,” said Jamie Matisin, who’s coached in the Singapore American Community Action Council’s senior league for 37 years but had never beaten an Okinawa team before.
He compared the win to Singapore’s first in inter-area play in November 1998, a 7-6 win over the Korea All-Stars at Yongsan Garrison. “To stand head-to-head with a Pacific power like Kadena, that was big for us,” Matisin said.
The SACAC, the equivalent of a military youth services program, fielded three senior teams for the 2012 season, the Oilers, Vikings and Bulldogs. For the Kadena game and three more later this fall against DODDS teams, the best players were taken off the three teams and had four days to prepare for Kadena.
Matisin credited the play of line standout Sam Woo on offense and defense, and Josh Dawe, who played linebacker and gained critical yards in key situations on offense, Matisin said.
“We put our best athletes on defense and told the guys to keep it close and that’s what happened,” Matisin said of a unit coached by his longtime assistant Tim Taylor. “That interception-touchdown got the guys fired up. Kadena punted a lot. They had no consistent running game all day long.”
To score, the Panthers went to the air in the first quarter, a 40-yard TD pass from Maverick Giron to Josh Garrick. It stayed 6-0 through halftime until Scott’s TD put the Falcons ahead to stay.
“They beat us in every aspect of the game,” Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza said.
Singapore sends its All-Star team to Korea next, for games on Monday at Osan American and on Saturday vs. Daegu at Seoul American High School’s Sims Field. The Falcons conclude their schedule by hosting Kubasaki on Nov. 3. Kadena (3-2) next hosts Kubasaki on Friday, its homecoming game.