Story and photo by Greg Mitchell,
FLEACT, Yokosuka Public Affairs
Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka’s Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils saw their 5-game win streak come to a halt, losing to the American School in Japan (ASIJ) Mustangs in a physical
contest, 33-27 at ASIJ’s Chofu campus, Sept. 28.
Mustang quarterback David Hernandez passed for three touchdowns to wide receivers Joe Walker, Connor Hadden and Brandon Rogers and rushed for another, and running back Ryan Murphy rushed for the Mustangs’ other touchdown, keeping ASIJ undefeated for the season.
“This was a game of momentum,” said head coach Dan Joley. “We’d take it and give it back. It was two good football teams. I didn’t like the outcome, but it was a great game. The kids will learn a lot from this and have the opportunity in two weeks to fix the outcome, and I think they’ll be ready.”
Kinnick again worked from behind the push of their starting linemen and quarterback Dustin Wilson had 10 carries for 51 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns, while also going 5 of 12 for 72 yards passing. Red Devils running back Latendre Paylor lead Kinnicks’ ground attack with 141 yards on 26 carries, scoring on a 53 yard run and an 89 yard kickoff return.
Defensively, the Red Devills were led by constant pressure being applied by defensive tackle Ian O’Brien, who had two quarterback sacks. Linebacker Kyle O’Brien and defensive end DeAnthony Evans each recorded eight tackles.
Despite the disappointing outcome of the game, Joley had nothing but praise for the efforts of the players.
“There were some great efforts, individual and team efforts – but most importantly today the team had the opportunity to be involved in a real football game; to experience playing at the top level,” said Joley. “When we told them that this would be the best team they faced all year, we weren’t lying; they just played toe to toe with arguably the best football team in Japan – next to themselves. Today was the first time the boys have been tested all year. It was the first time they looked at the clock, saw its seven minutes to go and we’re down a score and we need the ball back.
Even with the loss, Kinnick is still in position to win their first DODDS Japan championship.
“We will focus on Edgren for this upcoming week, and then we will have the chance to correct everything we did wrong today in two weeks against ASIJ again during our homecoming game,” said Joley.
Up next for Nile C. Kinnick will be another road contest as the Red Devils will visit the Edgren Eagles for a rematch Oct. 4 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.