Yokota tops Zama, wraps up league titles
Zama American running back Andre Encarnacion gets an escort from teammate Josh Elliot as Yokota defenders J.J. Henderson and Morgan Breazell close in during Friday's DODDS Japan/Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools football game at Camp Zama, Japan. Yokota won 39-12 and clinched its 12th DODDS Japan and Kanto titles on coach Tim Pujol's watch.
Stars and Stripes
CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Stanley Speed lived up to his surname on Friday. As a result, Yokota won the DODDS Japan and Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools yet again on coach Tim Pujol’s watch.
The senior quarterback lined up at running back in the second half and totaled four touchdowns, finishing with 117 yards on 11 carries, and went 3-for-5 passing for 77 yards in the first half as the Panthers (7-0) pulled away from Zama American for a 39-12 victory at Zama’s Trojans Field.
“We’ve known about his running skills since he arrived here, but the team needed him to do other things,” Pujol said, adding that Speed wanted to be part of the “Killer B” fraternity of Donavan Ball, Morgan Breazell and Ray Butler “and tonight he showed why.”
“We have some plays designed for him, ways to get him the ball” when backup quarterback Marcus Henagan is under center, Pujol said.
“He can do it all. He’s a great player,” Zama coach Steven Merrell said.
With the win, Yokota improved to 4-0 in DODDS Japan and 5-0 in Kanto. Nile C. Kinnick (4-3 overall, 2-2 DODDS Japan and Kanto) cannot catch Yokota, since each team only has one game left in each league, Kinnick at Yokota on Friday.
Pujol’s Panthers have won each league title 12 times.
Though one-sided, it was still closer than Yokota’s 50-0 home win on Aug. 31, which came against a Trojans team beset by injuries.
“Steven has those guys playing well,” Pujol said of a team led by senior fullback Andre Encarnacion (122 yards, 17 carries) and quarterback RayVaughn King, who went 3-for-3 for 69 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown to Michael Torres, and ran for another score.
“Andre’s a load. It’s nice to see them get some guys back. That’s a much better team than we saw in September.”
“It helped having those players back,” said Merrell, whose Trojans are 4-4 overall, 2-3 DODDS Japan and 1-4 in Kanto.
Zama next hosts Robert D. Edgren with host rights to the Nov. 10 Far East Division II title game on the line. Edgren needs a win by 15 points or more; Zama needs a win or a loss by 13 points or less.