It’s becoming almost a rite of passage. Though last in the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League and riding a 21-game losing streak dating to 2003, the Atsugi Falcons always seem to play well against the league-leading Yokosuka Seahawks.

Quarterback Cameron Haines accounted for all three Seahawks touchdowns, the last coming on a 2-yard keeper in the third quarter to break a 14-14 halftime tie and pace Yokosuka (4-1) to a 20-14 victory over Atsugi (0-5 overall, 0-4 league).

Yokosuka remained in first place, a game ahead of defending champion Misawa (3-2), and needs only to win next week at Yokota (2-2) to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

But it didn’t come without a scare from Atsugi.

“Every time we play them, we seem to circle that date on our calendars,” Atsugi coach Daniel Estrada said. “I think they do bring out the best in us.”

Misawa-Kadena rescheduledThe Far East championship battle will have to wait a few weeks.

Defending USFJ-AFL champion Misawa was to travel to Kadena to play the two-time defending Okinawa Football League champion Dragons but that was called off when Misawa could not secure return transportation to ensure their players would be back to work on Monday.

USFJ-AFL Commissioner Kyle Rhodus and Kadena team officials agreed to reschedule the game for Aug. 12. Yokosuka was to visit Kadena that day but according to Rhodus, military commitments will leave just 13 Seahawks available to travel that weekend.

“We were really hoping to play Misawa this weekend and Yokosuka on Aug. 12 so the Dragons could have played every USFJ-AFL team at least once, said Dragons assistant coach Isaac Warren. “But duty comes first. So, I guess playing one more team is better than … playing no other team at all.”

Rhodus said he also would try to reschedule postponed games pitting Atsugi, Yokota and Yokosuka at Kadena for mid-September, after the USFJ-AFL season ends but before the OFL season begins in October.

Typhoon Ewiniar scratched Atsugi at Kadena on July 8; duty commitments scotched Yokota at Kadena on July 22.

“If one of those teams loses in the first round of the playoffs, I will try to send them down to Kadena during championship week,” Rhodus said.

The USFJ-AFL Torii Bowl is scheduled for Sept. 2; its semifinals, for Aug. 26. However, Rhodus indicated that military commitments could force rescheduling for Aug. 19 any playoff game involving Misawa.

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