Seniors lead Yokota to another romp
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – For three years, coach Tim Pujol says he’s been watching and waiting for quarterback Marcus Henagan and fullback Jam Harvey to come into their own.
Their senior years have marked the turning point, and as a result, Yokota football looks like the Division I champions of 2011 and 2012.
Henagan accounted for 271 total yards and three touchdowns and Harvey added 94 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries to power Yokota past American School In Japan 48-14, the Panthers’ third lopsided victory this season.
“The work they put in is finally coming to fruition,” Pujol said of Henagan and Harvey. “It makes me feel really good for them.”
Asked if he’s surprised at the Panthers’ success, having outscored three foes by a margin of 159-45, Pujol said: “A little bit.”
“Coaches always go in trying to think positive, work to make the kids better and try to win. It just so happens we’re blessed with excellent players who understand the game really well. It’s fun to coach them. You don’t get a group like this every year.”
Already a half-game ahead of Nile C. Kinnick in bidding for their first DODDS Japan title since 2012, the Panthers are also tied with the Red Devils atop the Kanto Plain standings.
Those are two goals the Panthers are shooting for, as well as earning the Japan berth in the Nov. 7 Division II title game in Yokota’s first season as a small-schools team.
Others contributing to what Pujol called a “solid performance on all sides of the ball” were Shota Sprunger, who had 147 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries; Shomari Tindal, 32 yards and a touchdown on five carries; and Ty Dotson, who scored touchdowns on the ground and in the air.
Robert Johnson had two interceptions for 39 yards in returns, giving him four interceptions in the last two games. Easton Gladue recorded two sacks for Yokota.
Ray Hotta ran 5 yards for a touchdown for ASIJ in the second quarter and finished with a team-high 60 yards on 11 carries. Henrik Olsson had the Mustangs' other touchdown, a 3-yard fourth-quarter run.
“We got hammered,” Mustangs coach John Seevers said. “They (Yokota) have a really good football team. Their quarterback (Henagan) is something special and their offensive line dominated us.”
ASIJ faces a must-win situation at home next Saturday against Kubasaki, while Yokota could take command of the Japan D-II chase with a win next Saturday at Matthew C. Perry. “Now, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and get ready to play the Samurai on their field,” Pujol said.