TOKYO — Chris Roach ran 30 times for 178 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Yokota Panthers cap their fourth straight unbeaten regular season by shutting out the American School In Japan 27-0 on Saturday at Mustang Valley.
Yokota, which hasn’t lost since Sept. 23, 2000, ran its on-field winning streak to 47 games, including 26 straight in Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools play.
The Panthers forfeited two games during the 2002 season for using an ineligible player.
The Mustangs finished 1-7 overall and winless in the Kanto Plain for the first time in 15 seasons.
But “it wasn’t easy,” Yokota coach Tim Pujol said. Aside from the temptation for the Panthers to look ahead to Saturday’s Rising Sun Bowl against the Okinawa Activities Council champion Kadena Islanders, Yokota was missing four starters due to injury.
“We had to work for it. It was a battle,” Pujol said. “We knew we weren’t at full strength. ASIJ played a great game. They ran and passed the ball successfully and (defensive coordinator John) Seevers had a good game plan for us defensively.”
Pujol gave plenty of playing time to a handful of second-line players who hadn’t seen much action, particularly in the line, which was missing three starters.
“It was nice to give those understudies that game experience,” Pujol said. “That we held out some starters helped us focus on this game. The challenge was there.”
Roach, who concluded the regular season with 1,400 yards and 21 TDs on 166 carries, amassed 221 all-purpose yards, scored on runs of 3, 6 and 15 yards and intercepted a pass.
Kenny Harris started at fullback in place of injured Shamarr Howell and responded with 92 yards, including a 10-yard TD run, on 12 carries.
Defensively, Jamal McNeill had a team-leading 13 tackles plus an interception and a fumble recovery. Jonell Rosales contributed nine tackles, D.J. McCary added an interception and Ryan Kruelen recovered a fumble.
Kanto Plain Assoc. of Secondary Schools
W L Pct. PF PA
x-Yokota 6 0 1.000 183 21
Nile C. Kinnick 4 2 .667 140 55
Zama American 2 4 .333 74 158
American School In Japan 0 6 .000 32 205
t; 55Zama American24.33374158American School In Japan06.00032205
x-clinched sixth straight Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools title.
Friday, Nov. 5
Nile C. Kinnick 46, Robert D. Edgren 12
Saturday, Nov. 6
Yokota 27, American School In Japan 0
END REGULAR SEASON
Saturday, Nov. 13
Japan Football League All-Star Game, Berkey Field, Yokosuka Naval Base, 1 p.m.
Rising Sun Bowl VI, DODDS All-Japan championship, Kadena Islanders at Yokota, 7 p.m.