Zama triumphs in rematch with Kinnick
Zama American Trojans running back Mitchell Harrison gets tackled by Nile C. Kinnick defender Alex Banks during Friday's DODDS Japan-Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools football game at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Harrison scored a touchdown in his first game back after shoulder surgery, and the Trojans rallied to beat the Red Devils 14-13.
This article has been corrected
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – Zama American’s “Thunder and Lightning” backfield struck together for the first time this season, and helped the Trojans reverse the outcome of their season-opening loss to Nile C. Kinnick.
Andre Encarnacion ran for a touchdown and David Coleman added a two-point conversion with seven minutes left, rallying the Trojans past the Red Devils 14-13 on Friday at Yokosuka’s Berkey Field. Kinnick came from behind to beat Zama 20-6 in their season opener last month at Naval Air Facility Atsugi.
Zama’s first touchdown was scored by Mitchell Harrison, who had missed the Trojans’ first four games while recovering from shoulder surgery. It was their first appearance in the backfield together since Zama’s 7-3 loss in the Far East Division II title game last November.
“It was great to have him back; I think he provided a spark for us,” Trojans coach Steven Merrell said.
Zama continued its resurgence, winning its third straight after opening the season with two losses. The Red Devils fell to 3-2 with their second loss in three games.
“We were able to finish,” Merrell said of the difference between Friday’s game and the opener. “That was the key. We had some mistakes, but we were able to overcome. The other team got the lead, but we hung in and got it done. My kids are learning and working every week. That tells you it’s a team sport.”
Encarnacion ran 14 times for 94 yards and caught a 26-yard pass. Harrison finished with 39 yards on 15 carries. RayVaughn King went 4-for-8 for 128 yards for the Trojans.
While Kinnick was able to close out the opener, “we let up in the fourth quarter” on Friday, coach Dan Joley said.
Quinton Holden had 97 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries plus an interception. Dustin Wilson added a TD run and rushed 9 times for 54 yards. Alex Banks led Kinnick with 15 tackles and Dakota Rogers added 13.
“We made some critical mistakes in the fourth quarter that cost us,” Joley said. “We just couldn’t close it out.”
Kinnick hosts reigning Far East Division I champion Yokota, while Zama entertains American School In Japan on Friday.
Alex Banks was misidentified in a picture in an earlier version of this article.