Encarnacion's four TDs spur Zama past Kinnick
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – He didn’t gain many yards Friday, but Andre Encarnacion sure made them count.
The junior fullback bulled for 78 yards on 18 carries, including touchdown runs of 4, 1, 10 and 6 yards, to power Zama American past Nile C. Kinnick, 34-13, for a split of their season series.
It was the Trojans’ first win of the season in three tries; Zama lost at home, 39-26, to Kinnick in the Aug. 26 season opener .
“It’s always nice to get a win,” coach Steven Merrell said. “The kids were focused. They knew the things they could accomplish. They knew they shouldn’t have been 0-2.”
Kinnick (2-2) was coming off a 13-0 win a week earlier at Robert D. Edgren, but had a “bad week of practice,” following that, according to coach Dan Joley.
“It was ugly,” he said of the game. “With a young team, that’s bound to happen. A couple of key mistakes and mental breakdowns turned the tide against us.”
Encarnacion pushed his season rushing total to 268 yards on 49 carries with a Japan lead-tying six touchdowns.
Mitchell Harrison had 94 yards on 10 tries and a TD and has a team-best 303 yards on 27 carries. David Coleman and Roland Cote each recovered fumbles and Mike Duncan and Hiroshi Yo each had an interception.
An 80-yard punt by Zama with the Trojans up 7-6 in the first period “tilted the field for us,” Merrell said. It was a turning point, he said, in terms of field position.
Kinnick’s Dustin Wilson was 11-for-22 for 95 yards, including a 28-yard scoring pass to Richard Villareal. Quinton Holden rushed 9 times for 70 yards, including a 48-yard TD run. Dustin Kimbrell had 135 yards on five returns, but was held to a career-low 5 yards on 5 carries.
Aaron Stravers had eight tackles, a sack, a blocked kick and two fumble recoveries and Isaiah Long and Ian O’Brien each recovered a fumble.
“Hopefully, we’ll keep working and improving,” Merrell said. “When you’re focused and have good practices, good things happen.”