TOKYO – Previously unsung running back Charlie Seno caught two touchdown passes and American School In Japan’s defense recorded three takeaways Saturday as the Mustangs made their homecoming a happy one with a 42-13 win against Zama American.

ASIJ (4-2), last year’s Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools champion, won its second straight and climbed two games over .500 for the first time this season. Zama (3-4), the 2009 DODDS Japan champion, lost for the third time in four games after starting 2-0.

“We felt really good about it,” ASIJ coach John Seevers said, adding that players such as Seno and defenders Andrew Stern (interception), Alex Flaum and Leo Benus (fumble recoveries) “stepped up big time. The defense, I was surprised. It was probably their best game of the year.”

Seno, in particular, opened some eyes with his only two touchdowns of the season, each TD catches for 22 yards. “That’s kind of new for him. We felt really good about that,” Seevers said.

Other luminaries included Hayden Jardine, who went 12-for-17 passing for 224 yards and three touchdowns. Cody Hadden snagged a 43-yard touchdown pass. Ken Yajima had 79 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, while Nathan Kwon ran 10 times for 41 yards and a score.

ASIJ’s defense held Zama star senior back Michael Spencer to 98 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. “We did a good job of containing him,” Seevers said. Spencer now has 817 yards and eight touchdowns on 109 carries for the season.

Zama’s only other touchdown came on Andre Encarnacion’s 48-yard run. Nick McDaniel intercepted a Jardine pass early in the contest.

“We didn’t control the line on offense the way we needed to,” coach Steven Merrell said. “We didn’t get pressure on the quarterback, and he’s a good quarterback. And we need to do a better job in the secondary.”

Merrell said the game should serve as “one of those life lessons” to his players about overcoming adversity, “see if we can get through this and right the ship.”

Zama visits Nile C. Kinnick, while ASIJ entertains DODDS Japan and Kanto champion Yokota at 7 p.m. Friday in the season’s penultimate weekend.

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