Kinnick piling up weapons as well as wins
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – While much attention tends to go to the star running back, quarterback or receiver, special teams can sometimes get lost in all the ballyhoo.
So, when Brady Yoder booted a DODDS Japan-record 48-yard field goal in the second quarter of Nile C. Kinnick’s 31-8 home win Saturday over Seoul American, he checked in as another scoring weapon to complement rushing star Dre Paylor.
“He’s a real find, absolutely,” coach Dan Joley said of Yoder, already an accomplished wrestler and soccer goalkeeper whom Joley plucked onto the Red Devils football team to see what he could accomplish.
So far, Yoder hasn’t missed an extra-point try, and while the 48-yard field goal was kicked with a northerly wind gusting up to 30 mph, it reflected what he’s done so far during workouts, Joley said. “He’s been booming them 40 to 50 yards in practice. He’s the real deal.”
With the win, the Red Devils duplicated their 4-0 start of last season and seized control of the Far East Division I standings. At 2-0, Kinnick stands a half-game ahead of Kadena and defending champion Kubasaki, each 2-1 in D-I.
While saying the team is “excited” to be on top, Joley sounded a cautionary note, especially since the team lost five of its last six games last season after a 5-0 start and the DODDS Japan title.
“We’re taking it one week at a time and looking at the big picture,” Joley said. “If you take things one week at a time, then at the end of the season, good things will happen.”
Joley cited a couple of scoring opportunities that went by the boards and some penalties and other mistakes that could be of potential hindrance down the road. “We still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We left some points out there.”
Neither team threw the ball much, nor would punts travel far when kicking from Berkey Field’s South end; one punt went just three yards, another one 13, assistant coach George Calbert said. “One of those gusty days at Yokosuka,” he said.
Paylor carried much of the offensive load, scoring on runs of 7, 14 and 3 yards and finishing with 236 yards on 26 carries. Paylor trails Pacific-leading rusher Justin Sego of Kadena by 17 yards, 796-779; each has three regular-season games remaining. Kyle O’Brien also rushed for a touchdown.
Defensively, George Calbert, the assistant’s son, led the Red Devils with 16 tackles. Two of them went for losses. He also forced a fumble before leaving the game late with a possible concussion.
The Falcons, who were eliminated from the D-I title chase with the loss, fell to 1-3, three straight losses after an opening win Aug. 29 at Humphreys.
Seoul American got into Kinnick territory once, on its final possession, which Myles Haynes finished with a 1-yard touchdown run.
“You have to play to the whistle. That’s what we failed to do,” Falcons coach Jim Davis said. Do that and good things happen “usually more times than none.”