Kinnick dominates Zama to stay perfect on season
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 13, 2017
NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan – What was better than Nile C. Kinnick celebrating a one-sided win and repeating the DODEA-Japan and Kanto Plain football titles Friday?
The Red Devils got a glimpse of the future as well.
Oh, the usual suspects had their day, particularly seniors: Kacey Walker ran for two touchdowns on three carries, Harry Cheng and Aaron Peterson scored once each and Andrew Urette rushed for three TDs and the Red Devils outgained Zama 485-3 in a 76-6 romp.
But players who Dan Joley hopes will be the future of the Red Devils, with so many seniors moving on, got their chances to shine as well.
Sophomore Patrick Kelly tossed a 44-yard scoring pass to Chris Watson. Sophomore Jeremiah Kirk ran 22 yards for a score and caught a 54-yard TD pass on a halfback-option play by freshman Kenneth Bell.
“You build a program,” Joley said. “You work on the future. You give the players who’ve been busting their butts in practice since Aug. 6 some time on the field. I have a lot of seniors and I’ll dearly miss them. You always think about the future.”
Kinnick, which hosts the Division I football final the weekend of Oct. 27-28, repeated as Kanto Plain champion, the first time the Red Devils have done that since their four-year run from 1995-98. And the Red Devils also repeated their DODEA-Japan title.
Walker had 82 yards on just three carries, including TDs of 48 and 25 yards on keepers, and did not throw a pass. Cheng ran 29 yards for a touchdown and finished with 100 yards on four attempts. Peterson had just two carries, but for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Kelly and Bell combined to go just 3-for-4 passing, but for 142 yards. “I was more than pleased” with his youngsters’ performances, Joley said. Kirk had 108 yards total offense on just four touches.
The game was played with a running clock from the 6:39 mark of the first quarter on. Kinnick did not permit a first down until the Trojans’ final drive and had five takeaways, one resulting in a touchdown on Darius Swenson’s 21-yard fumble return.
Sean Sullivan got the Trojans on the board in the closing seconds with a 13-yard TD catch from Nick Canada.
“They didn’t quit,” Trojans coach Scott Bolin said. “They kept playing, even in these tough circumstances. It shows the type of character they have.”
Zama closes its season at home Friday against Yokota; kickoff is at 7 p.m. Kinnick travels to Seoul American for its final regular-season game on Oct. 21; kickoff is at 6 p.m.
“Joley, Kinnick, they’ve got a solid squad,” Bolin said.