Kicking game provides the edge for Kinnick
Place-kicker Daniel Appleman made the difference in Friday’s battle between two teams desperate for a victory.
Appleman’s extra point following Lorenzo Abernathy’s 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter provided the margin of victory as Nile C. Kinnick (2-2) stopped a two-game skid by edging Zama American 7-6 on Berkey Field at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
“It could have been better but we’ll take the win,” said coach Bill Schofield after his Red Devils improved to 2-1, second in the Japan Football League, and got their first victory in three tries in the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools. “The kids set their goals and we met them.”
The Trojans dropped their fourth straight — and for the second time this season lost 7-6. They failed to score on a two-point conversion attempt after their only touchdown. Zama lost 7-6 to Robert D. Edgren on Sept. 10 in the same manner.
“On Monday, I’m going to make a rule: We go for the extra point after scoring touchdowns,” said coach Victor Rivera, whose Trojans fell to 0-3 in JFL and Kanto.
“If we had gone into overtime in that game, I think we had the momentum. We almost had it. We’re very disappointed.”
Friday’s was a mistake-filled defensive struggle in which each team lost four fumbles, collected penalties and wasted scoring opportunities.
Abernathy was the game’s only offensive star, gaining 123 yards on 12 carries. But Kinnick failed to capitalize after returning a second-quarter interception to the Zama 1-yard line, then stalled at the Trojans’ 15 after driving 65 yards.
Ben Bishop’s 1-yard quarterback sneak in the third quarter sliced the deficit to 7-6. But on the two-point try, Zama running back Steve Moore tried a sweep around the right side and was tackled in the backfield.
Later, Bishop found receiver Carlos Walters wide open about 8 yards behind the Kinnick secondary but Walters couldn’t hold the ball. “That was a touchdown all the way,” Rivera said.
Both coaches praised their defenses.
“We held them down, especially in the second half,” Rivera said.
Of a Red Devils unit that held the Trojans to three first downs, Schofield said, “We played an awesome defensive game. The defense did a great job of picking up where the offense left off.”
But Kinnick, he said, must reduce errors — “especially mental ones” — and improve offensively if it’s to have a chance in its next game Saturday at unbeaten American School In Japan.
The Trojans get a week off before hosting six-time JFL champion Yokota at Atsugi Naval Air Facility. They face Kinnick on Oct. 14 at Camp Zama.
“You can’t give up,” Rivera said. “You have to keep going.”
Power outage postpones Guam High homecoming gameA power outage forced Guam High to postpone its homecoming game Friday evening against Southern at U.S. Naval Base Guam.
Panthers coach Tom Hildreth said military officials tried but failed to secure portable lights and generators. The game was rescheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday.