USFJ-AFL football: Dowdell, Warriors ground Falcons to improve to 2-0
June 12, 2006
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Quarterback Jacob Dowdell and the Yokota Warriors have traversed this road before — more times than they care to remember.
Dowdell ran 2 yards for a touchdown and passed 10 yards to Bruce Turner as the Warriors rallied for the second straight week, scoring 20 points in the second quarter on the way to a 20-3 victory over the Atsugi Falcons on Saturday.
The victory put the Warriors alone in first place atop the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League standings. Yokota is 2-0 for the third straight season — but in 2004, a 4-0 start preceded a three-game losing streak, and last year’s 4-0 start served as a prelude to a 30-21 Torii Bowl loss to Misawa to close another heartbreaking year.
“We have to stay healthy, we have to execute, we have to be consistent,” said Dowdell, the team’s quarterback in all three of those seasons. “Starting a season hot is great but we have to catch balls, make reads, we have to be consistent throughout.”
As in the Warriors’ 8-6 season-opening victory over Misawa on June 3, Yokota fell behind early. A fumble recovery by Atsugi’s Chris Perry at the Yokota 13-yard line set up a Patrick Oliveri 27-yard field goal to open the second quarter. It would be Atsugi’s deepest penetration of the contest.
The Warriors stormed right back, with Kevin Hill carrying three times for 40 yards, helping set up the Dowdell-to-Turner TD combo that gave Yokota the lead for keeps. Hill ran 2 yards for a touchdown on Yokota’s next drive.
Then came the backbreaker: Mardie Wilson blocked an Atsugi punt and fell on the ball at the Falcons’ 2-yard line. From there, Dowdell ran in a quarterback draw for the game’s final margin just before halftime.
But take away that second period, and the last 7:48 of the game in which Yokota possessed the ball, and it was an even contest, Dowdell said.
Coach Dan Estrada and the Falcons “put the wood to us early,” Dowdell said. “They gave us a dogfight. It took a while for us to get things together.”
In the end, Yokota outgained Atsugi 232-78, holding the Falcons’ running game to just 2 yards on 17 attempts. The Falcons lost for the second time in two games this season and for the 18th straight time dating back to 2003.
Dowdell went 5-for-15 for 78 yards, Turner caught four passes for 64 yards, Hill ran 12 times for 66 yards and Bobby Boone 10 times for 41. Ron Carmichael recorded an interception. Corey Fields had 70 yards on 4 returns.
Atsugi quarterback Barry Smith went 14-for-26 for 90 yards, completing eight passes to J.J. Jones for 45 yards and four to Mario Cruz for 28 yards. Adrian Knight and Charles Hunt each intercepted one Dowdell pass.
“Yokota has that smash-mouth running defense that put us on our heels,” Estrada said. “We were executing early. We had some miscues. But if we can execute, we can get that ‘W’ eventually.”
W L Pct. PF PA
Yokota 1 0 1.000 28 9
Yokosuka 1 0 1.000 20 14
Misawa 0 1 .000 6 8
Atsugi 0 2 .000 17 40
x-Kadena 0 0 .000 0 0
x-will play six games as non-league entry.
Yokota 20, Atsugi 3
Saturday, June 17
Misawa at Yokosuka, 6 p.m.
Yokota/Atsugi vs. Asahi Silver Star at Kawasaki, 6 p.m.