Friday’s victory at Camp Zama, Japan, was sharply different, Yokota coach Tim Pujol said, from the 49-0 season-opening thrashing the Panthers administered the Trojans in the Sept. 2 season opener at Yokota Air Base’s Bonk Field.

Zama “improved a lot on offense,” Pujol said. “They did a good job of running and protecting Ben [Bishop]. They’re much better than they were.”

Only untimely penalties, coach Victor Rivera said, prevented the Trojans from putting more points on the board besides Moore’s 15-yard third-quarter TD run. “Penalties killed us,” Rivera said.

While the Panthers rang up 349 yards on offense, turnovers proved costly. Yokota fumbled seven times, losing four, and Bloom also threw an interception. The last time the Panthers turned over the ball that many times, Pujol recalled, was the 1999 Rising Sun Bowl, when Yokota suffered seven turnovers in a 19-14 loss to the Kubasaki Samurai on Okinawa.

“It wasn’t the neatest, cleanest game ever played,” Pujol said of a contest conducted in on-and-off rain, which made Trojans Field rather slippery. “But it’s a win. And it’s pretty timely for us. It will give us something to go back and focus on in practice.”

Cooper’s touchdown catch got the Panthers on the board but it remained 7-0 until nine seconds before halftime, when Bloom sneaked in from the 1. Moore cut the gap to seven with his touchdown run but McNeill sealed the deal with a 46-yard fourth-quarter scamper.

McNeill finished with 166 yards on 18 carries and Bloom went 6-for-8 for 112 yards for a Yokota squad missing four of its interior starters due to injuries.

Nile C. Kinnick 41, Robert D. Edgren 8

Behind the play of Abernathy and Galang, the Red Devils (3-3 overall, 3-1 JFL) stayed a game behind Yokota in the chase for the JFL’s berth in the Far East football playoffs.

In Friday’s game at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, Abernathy ran for touchdowns of 11, 10 and 4 yards, and Galang went 8-for-16 for 150 yards, including the touchdown toss to Abernathy and scoring passes of 22 yards to Jeff Battle and 40 to Chris Simmons.

“They’ve been wanting to put this together for a long time,” Kinnick coach Bill Schofield said. “We were able to run just about anything we wanted. We didn’t do anything fancy. It was just an all-around good game.”

Defensively, Sean Thrift and Yamato Cibulka each intercepted two passes and Kenji Doughty grabbed one.

“Our goal on defense was to score,” Schofield said. “We didn’t do that but we were extremely happy with the five interceptions.”

The Eagles (1-4 overall, 1-3 JFL) got their lone touchdown on a 30-yard first-quarter pass from Josh Ray to Darren Hall, with fullback David Leh adding a two-point conversion run.

The turning point came in the second quarter, when a Kinnick punt glanced off an Edgren player and was covered by the Red Devils at the Edgren 25, leading to Abernathy’s second TD run. The Red Devils scored 35 unanswered points from there.

“Kinnick played a great game,” Eagles coach Jim Burgeson said. “They executed well.”

Japan Football League

W L Pct. PF PA

Yokota 4 0 1.000 178 14

Kinnick 3 1 .750 62 72

Edgren 1 3 .250 28 117

Zama 0 4 .000 19 84

Kanto Plain Association

W L Pct. PF PA

ASIJ 3 0 1.000 73 13

Yokota 4 0 1.000 122 7

Kinnick 1 3 .250 14 89

Zama 0 4 .000 19 118

Friday, Oct. 7

Nile C. Kinnick 41, Robert D. Edgren 8

Yokota 21, Zama American 7

Friday, Oct. 14

Nile C. Kinnick at Zama American, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 15

Yokota at American School In Japan, 1 p.m.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now