Backfield depth propels Zama past Osan
Stars and Stripes
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea – With senior running back Mitchell Harrison still sidelined until late September, coach Steven Merrell needed to seek backfield alternatives for his Zama American football team. Holden Limas and David Coleman have paid huge dividends thus far for the Trojans.
Coleman rushed for touchdowns of 1 and 5 yards and Limas had his first career 100-yard game on Saturday as the Trojans took charge of the chase for Far East Division II title-game berths, winning 19-2 at Osan American’s Cougars Field.
“He’s a wonderful kid, great to work with, he’s very coachable and he’s outstanding on the field,” Merrell said of Limas, who has 199-yards on 17 carries in his last two games. Limas also had eight tackles on Saturday.
Coleman finished with 72 yards on eight carries. Senior Andre Encarnacion rushed eight times for 107 yards, 95 of them coming on a fourth-quarter touchdown run that sealed the contest.
On the heels of their 45-12 home victory a week earlier over Daegu, the Trojans - in their first trip to Osan in school history - improved to 2-2 on the season and 2-0 in Division II, a half-game over Robert D. Edgren (1-0).
“The kids enjoyed the trip, but they also realized it was a business trip. They stayed focused on doing what they needed to do,” Merrell said. “We were here for business and we took care of business.”
Zama’s “bend but don’t break” defense, as Merrell described it, gave up no points to Osan. The Cougars got their lone points on special teams when Zama snapped the ball out of the end zone.
Junior receiver Ibrahim Mustapha caught five passes for 62 yards for Osan (0-2), which now needs to beat two-time defending D-II champion Daegu twice to have a shot at a berth in the D-II title game Nov. 10.
“We need to execute,” Cougars coach Duke Allen said of his young team, among which one-third never played football before this season. “The guys played tough. We just wore down. They’re hanging together. There are some good things happening here. We’re looking forward to taking on Daegu.”
Osan visits Daegu while Zama travels to Nile C. Kinnick on Friday.