USFJ-AFL football: Defense powers Yokosuka to 2-0 start
Smashmouth offense and stingy defense continue to be the Yokosuka Seahawks’ strongest allies early in the 2008 U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League season.
Lorenz Piper ran for a touchdown, quarterback William Batten accounted for the other two scores and the Seahawks’ defense forced three fumbles and recorded four sacks in Saturday’s 18-0 shutout of the Misawa Jets.
"They’re the cornerstones of our team," coach Robert Cole said after his defending champion Seahawks improved to 2-0 on the season; they routed Yokota 48-6 in the May 31 season opener. "Defense, running the ball hard and wearing out the other guys."
Piper ran 18 times for 79 yards, including a 2-yard first-quarter TD run. In the third quarter, Batten sneaked over from a yard out and hit Lamar Harris for a 42-yard scoring pass on Yokosuka’s only completion.
Piper, a newcomer, has 125 yards on 26 carries this season; his backfield mate, Carl Harris, also a newbie, has 142 yards on 29 tries.
On defense, Delrick "Tractor" Traylor recovered his fourth fumble of the season, while Trell Corbin had a recovery and two sacks. Marcus Steed had a sack and a recovery and Dale Reick a sack. Yokosuka has forced 11 turnovers and recorded seven sacks on the young season.
Misawa got inside Yokosuka’s 20-yard line twice, but failed to capitalize on either opportunity.
"We had a lot of miscues on offense, and our field position was terrible as a result," Jets coach Jeremy Sanders said. "But I’m proud of our guys. When the fourth quarter rolled around, they played tough, played with pride, didn’t let them score."
"Those guys (Jets) played their backsides off," Cole said.