TOKYO – Entering the 2013 season, perhaps the biggest worry for American School In Japan football was replacing longtime running backs Ken Yajima and Haru Kent. A balanced attack in Friday’s opener against Zama American proved those fears unfounded. David Hernandez ran for two scores and threw for another, while new starting RB Ryan Murphy reeled off 111 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown and the Mustangs scored 22 unanswered second-quarter points en route to a 35-12 win over the Trojans at Mustang Valley. “I was very pleased,” coach Craig Karnitz said. “Very nice. We had some kids step up and make plays, David’s a great leader out there on the field, the line worked hard, got down and dirty for us tonight and we like that.” Hernandez finished 8-for-17 for 138 yards and rushed five times for 23. Brandon Rogers caught five passes for 109 yards including a touchdown. Zama coach Steven Merrell said he was pleased with his players’ effort following their landmark 21-20 win Aug. 30 over Yokota. The second half of Friday’s game was almost even, with ASIJ outscoring Zama 7-6. “I thought it was a dogfight. The game was a lot closer than the score indicated,” Merrell said. “We were in the game most of the game, I thought. Both teams will wake up tomorrow knowing they were in a game.” Nick Zeagler went just 3-for-12 but for 129 yards, including touchdown passes of 87 yards to Justin Brown and 37 to Raymond Bestor. Hiro Beale rushed five times for 77 yards. Zama now gets a bye week before the rematch of its 27-19 loss at Nile C. Kinnick; kickoff is at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Reid Memorial Stadium. ASIJ visits Yokota on Friday at 7 p.m.

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