Support our mission

IKEGO HEIGHTS NAVAL HOUSING FACILITY, Japan — Jacob Dowdell remembers all too well the last time the Yokota Warriors began a U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League season by winning their first four games.

It was last season. But the then-Raiders came back to the pack because of injuries and duty commitments. They lost their last three contests.

“You’re always cautious of situations like that,” said Dowdell after Yokota improved to 4-0 Saturday by beating the five-time defending champion Yokosuka Seahawks 20-6.

“You learn from your mistakes,” said Dowdell, the Warriors’ quarterback and head coach. “You learn to not be overconfident. You play every play. We’re going to take it one game at a time, one play at a time, utilize all of our people and work around injuries and deployments.”

In defeat, the Seahawks, who lost their second straight, matched their 1-2 record of last season. But they finished the season with five straight victories.

“They’re the team to beat right now,” Seahawks coach James Lomax said of Yokota.

The Warriors’ victory came in a mistake-filled contest. The teams combined for 17 turnovers, on a steamy, sunny afternoon that contrasted sharply to the rainy weather that drenched the two games the previous week.

Everado Armendariz got Yokota on the board in the first quarter by recovering a Seahawks fumble in the end zone. Dowdell then hit John Wilson with an 81-yard touchdown pass and Eli Wolin tacked on the extra point, making it 13-0 at halftime.

Lavoris Harris passed 22 yards for a score to receiver Curtis Wright in the third period to cut the lead to 13-6. But Corey Fields’ 41-yard interception return for a touchdown later in the quarter made it 20-6 and capped the scoring.

Dowdell finished 7-for-23 for 180 yards but the Warriors’ rushing game, which thrived in its previous two contests, ended up with no net yards. The Seahawks “have a good defense,” Dowdell commented.

Dedrick Stiff, Jonathon Pitts and Greg Watkins each had eight tackles for Yokota. Kevin Garner intercepted two passes and broke up three others, Ron Carmichael added a sack and a pickoff and Ronnie Hicks also had an interception.

For the Seahawks, who entered the game with half their roster deployed and left with many young newcomers to take their places, it’s back to the drawing board.

“We have to tighten up in practice and play with more heart,” Lomax said. “I can only coach them so much. Heart and courage — that’s up to the players to take care of.”

USFJ-AFL standings

USFJ-AFL standings

W L Pct. PF PA

Yokota 4 0 1.000 83 21

Misawa 2 1 .667 42 18

Yokosuka 1 2 .333 18 34

Atsugi 0 4 .000 15 85

Saturday, July 16

Yokota 20, Yokosuka 6

Saturday, July 23

Atsugi vs. Yokosuka at Ikego Heights Naval Housing Facility, 4 p.m.

Yokota at Misawa, 2 p.m.

Saturday, July 30

Misawa at Atsugi, 6 p.m.


Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up