Tomodachi Bowl to feature plenty of yard power
Plenty of backfield star power will line up for Team USA in this year’s Tomodachi Bowl friendship football game, the final pieces of which are being put together by the coaching staff.
The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. March 9 at Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s freshly turfed Reid Memorial Stadium. Because the American School In Japan won the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools title last fall, Team USA will employ offensive coordinator Roy Tomlinson’s hybrid wing-T offense, and the numbers Team USA will bring to the table are simply enormous.
ASIJ quarterback David Hernandez, who will play next fall at Bentley College in Massachusetts, will pilot the offensive program, with his 376 yards and 11 touchdowns on 45 carries and 63-for-112 passing for 1,259 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Running behind him, among others, will be Jarrett Mitchell of Kubasaki, the school’s career leading rusher in the Far East playoff era. He had 1,820 yards on 149 carries last season, including an Okinawa-record 379 on 14 carries at Robert D. Edgren on Sept. 28. Mitchell leaves Kubasaki with a career 3,970 yards on 357 carries.
Joining Mitchell will be Nile C. Kinnick’s Dre Paylor, he of 2,002 yards on 250 carries, just the second back to reach the 2,000-yard mark; and Justin Sego of Kadena, with his 1,410 yards and 20 touchdowns on 177 carries. The backup QB is Dustin Wilson of Kinnick, who amassed 840 yards and 22 touchdowns on 140 attempts, while also connecting on 64 of 138 passes for 960 yards and eight scores.
That whole package of 8,667 yards of total offense garnered last fall will run behind an offensive line featuring four ASIJ linemen and Kinnick’s Ka’i Warford at center.
This will be the fourth in a series of games that Team USA has played against squads of Japanese players from Kanagawa Prefecture, which has had a long history of playing postseason friendship and All-Star games against the Kanto Plain.
The first game took place in 2010 at Kawasaki Stadium and the two in 2012 and 2013 were staged at Yokosuka Naval Base and Yokota Air Base. The 2011 game was scheduled for March 13, but was canceled due to the Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami which devastated Japan’s northeast coast.