Running backs Michael Spencer and Ashton Norwood and Zama American’s offensive line stopped the Trojans’ seven-game losing streak in its tracks on Friday.
Spencer ran 27 times for 253 yards and two touchdowns and Norwood had 13 carries for 79 yards with three first-half touchdowns plus a TD on an interception return, boosting the Trojans past three-time Far East Class A champion Robert D. Edgren 40-24 at Camp Zama’s Trojans Field.
“After last year, it was nice to start off with something like that,” said Zama coach Steve Merrell, who wasn’t planning on coaching this year. Asked by new principal Candice Wojciechowsky if he was happy to be back, Merrell replied: “Now, I am.”
At Yokosuka Naval Base’s Berkey Field, reigning 10-time DODEA Japan and Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools champion Yokota piled up 534 yards and eight TDs in a 55-6 rout of Nile C. Kinnick.
Zama American 40, Robert D. Edgren 24: Zama rolled up school records of 400 rushing yards and 604 total yards and scored 40 points for the first time in six years. The defense forced three turnovers, including Norwood’s TD return, and two sacks.
Merrell credited the offensive line for doing an “awesome” job. “We don’t have a lot of depth. But we knew if they could stay healthy, they’d get the job done, and they did.”
The line sealed the corners for Ashton’s sweeps and blew holes open repeatedly for Spencer, Merrell said. “Ashton’s a great move-in. And we all know what Michael can do. They made some incredible plays. Everybody made some incredible plays.”
Norwood finished with 205 total yards. Tevin Johnson had two sacks, and Spencer had a sack and a fumble recovery.
While Zama held Edgren to 34 yards on 12 carries, the Eagles soared in the passing and kick-return departments.
Cheston Nurial-Dacalio returned kicks 86 and 80 yards for touchdowns. Zach Davis was 7-for-10 for 209 yards. Matt Linder caught five passes for 188 yards and touchdowns of 68 and 67 yards.
“Clearly, we have to fix those,” Merrell said. “We had the positives, but there are plenty of things we need to work on.”
Edgren had to cobble together an offensive line when one starting tackle didn’t make the trip and another, Trevor Johnson, injured an ankle on the first series.
“Zama’s coaches had it together,” Edgren coach Chris Waite said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Yokota 55, Nile C. Kinnick 6: The Panthers ran their Kanto Plain winning streak to 39 games, matching the school record set in 1983-89.
DeEric Harvin went 7-for-9 for 203 yards and two touchdowns, Gerald McCloud ran 11 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns and Rainey Daley had 156 yards and a TD on 16 carries plus a 37-yard touchdown catch. Daley’s 6-yard TD dive squelched a mild Kinnick second-quarter rally.
Bradley Forbes caught two passes for 81 yards and a touchdown and ran for another, and Kevin Eckert and Anthony Mills ran for touchdowns.
The Red Devils’ Elijah Gamble returned a Yokota fumble 95 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 14-6 in the second quarter. Jon Burress had two kick returns for 65 yards.