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Edgren running back Johnell Alexander, center, is wrestled down by Zama defenders during Friday’s opener at Camp Zama, Japan. Alexander scored four touchdowns in the Eagles’ 32-13 victory.

Edgren running back Johnell Alexander, center, is wrestled down by Zama defenders during Friday’s opener at Camp Zama, Japan. Alexander scored four touchdowns in the Eagles’ 32-13 victory. (Krystle Weirick/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Defending champions ruled a rainy, lightning-filled evening, as Yokota and Robert D. Edgren posted road victories Friday to open the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Japan football season.

Johnell Alexander, the hero of Edgren’s victory in the Class A title game last November, scored four touchdowns, including an 80-yard kick return, as the Eagles won their opener for the second straight year, beating Zama American 32-13 at Trojans Field.

Tony Presnell ran for two touchdowns, Andy Silva blocked two punts and caught a touchdown pass, and Derick Seward ran 12 times for 153 yards and a TD as nine-time defending JFL champion Yokota blanked Nile C. Kinnick 35-0 in a game called with 11 minutes, 39 seconds remaining due to lightning.

Defending Guam Interscholastic Football League champion Father Duenas Memorial opened the season the way it ended the 2007 season, but had a rough go with Simon Sanchez, winning 21-12 at George Washington High School.

Edgren 32, Zama 13: At Camp Zama, Japan, Alexander rambled for 150 yards on 23 carries, scoring touchdowns on runs of 50, 25 and 5 yards. The senior, who also plays cornerback, credited fullbacks Jamal Dennis and Cheston Nurial-Dacalio and the offensive line for his success.

"It begins with the offensive line," Alexander said. "They’re the most important part. Without them, we can’t pass or hand off the ball. The line was amazing. The fullbacks were incredible."

The opportunistic Eagles’ defense forced five turnovers. Travis Holder led that effort with a fumble recovery and an interception.

Though victorious, coach Chris Waite believes his Eagles can improve on their execution.

"We must have had 400 yards in penalties," he said.

The host Trojans got two touchdown passes from Emmanuel Sloan, 30 yards to Zach Woods and 18 yards to D.J. Williams.

"They dominated the line of scrimmage," coach Steven Merrell said.

"They have some size, some athletic-looking kids, and they have some speed. We have to play a lot better."

Yokota 35, Kinnick 0: Despite the relative ease of the victory at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, Panthers coach Tim Pujol thought his team could iron out a few more wrinkles, especially on offense.

"We had too many penalties and missed assignments," Pujol said. "It always takes longer for offenses to come around."

Defense and special teams set up most of Yokota’s scores. In addition to Silva’s punt blocks, the Panthers intercepted three passes and recorded two sacks.

"The defense played well. We worked hard on passing. (Kinnick quarterback) Jon (Bollinger) is a good quarterback with quality people to throw to."

Bollinger completed two of six passes, both to Seth Bell for 64 yards. But the Red Devils could penetrate only as deep as Yokota’s 11-yard line late in the first quarter.

"They (Yokota) took advantage of our weaknesses. Tim is a good coach. He played a good game. I expected him to," said Kinnick coach Tom Bell.


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