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Yokosuka’s five-year run as U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League champion came to an unceremonious end at the hands of the Yokota Warriors, who dethroned the Seahawks 33-0 Saturday in a semifinal at Yokota Air Base’s Bonk Field.

Yokota (6-1), the No. 2 seed, will travel to Misawa Air Base, where the top-seeded Misawa Marauders (5-1) lie in wait, having survived an early scare in a 41-14 triumph over the fourth-seeded Atsugi White Dolphins (0-7).

Yokota 33, Yokosuka 0Perhaps none of the Warriors felt as gratified as defensive lineman Greg Powell, who suffered through two winless seasons after Yokota made its only championship game appearance in 2000, losing to the Seahawks 12-6.

“It feels great. Long time coming,” Powell said. “Finally, there’ll be a new champion this year. All good things must come to an end.”

Quarterback/coach Jacob Dowdell went 7-for-20 for 148 yards, including touchdown passes of 40 and 39 yards to John Wilson and 2 yards to Bruce Turner. Fullback Deion Williams plunged across for a 1-yard touchdown run. Xavier Reyes ran 11 times for 107 yards and Wilson caught three passes for 118 yards.

Kenneth Abernathy capped the scoring with a 43-yard interception return, and the defense racked up four sacks and forced four turnovers.

The Seahawks (2-4) penetrated only as far as Yokota’s 14-yard line on the final play of the game, a 57-yard pass from Dedrick Hall (3-for-21, 109 yards) to Curtis White, who had all three Yokosuka receptions.

The Warriors now turn their attention to Misawa, which last week derailed Yokota’s bid for an unbeaten regular season with a 14-0 victory.

“This feels good, a good win right here,” Yokota coach Ricardo Young said. “Now, we’re going to go [to Misawa to] take care of business.”

Misawa 41, Atsugi 14At Misawa Air Base, Japan, the Marauders took care of business, but only after the White Dolphins threw a scare into them by taking a 6-0 lead on Phillip Hill’s 6-yard TD run and a 14-13 lead at halftime on J.J. Jones’ 15-yard run.

“They [Atsugi] put forth a good effort and were out to prove a point and make a statement” that they were not to be toyed with, Misawa coach J.D. Hemphill said. “If that team that played us today was together the rest of the season, the playoffs would have been totally shook up. They came and gave us a game.”

That the White Dolphins only brought 21 players and the Marauders scored 28 second-half points were what saved Misawa, Hemphill said.

Fred Ellis ran 3 yards for one touchdown and tossed a 15-yard TD pass to Mark Fox in the fourth quarter. Shanden Lane added a 21-yard scoring run and Mike Jackson caught a 34-yard TD pass from David Valencia in the second half.

“Their running game is their bread and butter,” Atsugi coach Daniel Estrada said. “If you can stop that, you’ll be OK. Otherwise, they’re tough to beat.”

With so few bodies, Atsugi “ran out of gas” in the second half, Estrada said. “Misawa did an awesome job of rotating bodies. We just kind of conked out in the end.”

Jamey Crawford’s 5-yard first-quarter TD run and Jonathan McKenzie’s 2-yard touchdown burst in the second quarter kept Misawa close at halftime. But Atsugi’s performance, and the fact that they have to face Yokota again so soon, have put the Marauders on notice.

“It was a smack in the mouth,” Hemphill said of Atsugi’s effort. “And I thank Atsugi for coming up here to give us that smack in the mouth. They came out and outplayed us. That sent us a message. We need to get on our horse and play football.”

USFJ-AFL playoffs

Semifinals

Saturday, Aug. 20

Misawa 41, Atsugi 14

Yokota 33, Yokosuka 0

Torii Bowl

Saturday, Aug. 27

Yokota at Misawa, 2 p.m.


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