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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – A Yokota ground game that looked like the Panthers of old got a strong boost from a freshman ground gainer who may be the face of the team’s future.

Tre Bailey rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries and Yokota became the second team to clinch a semifinal berth in the Far East Division I playoffs by routing Nile C. Kinnick, 65-6, at Yokota’s Bonk Field. The last 2½ quarters were played with a running clock.

Bailey spearheaded a ground attack that posted 372 yards 38 attempts. Six different players scored touchdowns.

“It’s been awhile since we put up numbers like that,” coach Tim Pujol said after Yokota secured host rights to the D-I semifinal on Oct. 29 against the winner of the Oct. 3 Guam High at Kadena play-in game. Yokota has never won a D-I title.

With junior Scott Hanson (foot) unable to play, “we decided to give Tre a look and he really came through,” Pujol said. Bailey scored on runs of 5, 20 and 2 yards.

“He’s got a really bright future,” Pujol said. “He has the ability to break tackles on first contact, he has speed and great vision; I think he’s a promising runner.”

Japan’s leading ground gainer Morgan Breazell added 121 yards on 11 carries, including a 1-yard TD run. Trenton “Tractor” Traylor rushed seven times for 75 yards, including scoring runs of 2 and 45 yards.

Michael Litman ran 2 yards for a touchdown and finished with 20 yards on eight carries; he also had 18 yards on two returns and an interception. Stanley Speed scored on a 5-yard run and Jesse Christmas scooped up a fumble and ran it 21 yards for a score. Lee Twyman was a perfect 9-for-9 on extra-point kicks.

Kinnick’s lone highlight came in the second quarter when Dustin Wilson hit Cory Smoak on a 45-yard scoring pass.

“Just the perfect storm,” Red Devils coach Dan Joley said. “We turned it over and gave them short fields all day long.”

Yokota (4-0) next visits American School In Japan (2-1) at 6 p.m. Friday, a game that was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Kinnick (2-3) next hosts Seoul American (2-2) in a Division I play-in game at 7 p.m. Oct. 3.


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