MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The Matthew C. Perry High School “Samurai” football team played the Nile C. Kinnick High School “Red Devils” at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 1, 2017.
Hosting their season opener at their new sports stadium, the Samurai, a Division II team, faced off against their Division I opponent, the Red Devils, from Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
“This was our season opener, so it was a great opportunity to get our feet wet against a D1 foe, and I am honored to be able to be the coach to open this new facility,” said Frank Macias, the Samurai’s head coach. “We are the defending Division II champions, and we returned with 16 players from last year's championship team. Kinnick is big, strong and fast, and we’re the only team to beat both Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific champions last season. They are experienced, returned with numerous starters and are primed to make a run at their first ever Division I championship.”
Last year, the Samurai emerged as the Far East Division II champions, finishing the season with a record of 7-1, with their only loss coming from Kinnick High School.
The Samurai football team trained hard throughout the summer and were eager to face one of their more challenging opponents from last year in their new sports stadium.
At the end of the fourth quarter, the Red Devils beat the Samurai 33-0.
“I appreciate all of my teammates, especially the coaches, because they help me keep my head up and are always pushing me,” said Ethan Cecil, a tight end and defensive end with the Samurai. “Whenever I mess up, my head gets out of the game, but they help me keep my focus and continue playing.”
Macias said he is confident the team will bounce back and be where they want to be by the end of the season.
“I am very proud of my boys,” said Macias. “It’s the beginning of a very long season and it is my hope that our team develops cohesion and displays the same grit that exemplified the 2016 squad. We graduated numerous star athletes and leaders and this year's crop of seniors need to be able to step into those roles. It is a long season and I believe we will develop into a team to be reckoned with.”