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In the mud, muck and torrential rain on Eagles Field at Misawa Air Base, Japan, tailback Zach Latimore, quarterback Josh Ray, guard Neils Johnson and the Robert D. Edgren Eagles achieved something they’d not done in five years: winning three games in their last four tries.

Latimore scored twice on running plays and once on a kick return and the Eagles rallied from an 18-6 second-quarter deficit, slogging past the Zama American Trojans 28-18, making for a happy, if drenched, homecoming victory.

“It was pretty bad conditions in which to play a football game,” first-year Edgren coach Chris Waite said. “I told the guys before the game, you can throw everything out the window, coaching, gameplan, trick plays, passing — this came down to who held onto the ball and who wanted it more.”

Low pressure over Japan’s main island of Honshu, coupled with the outer remnants of Tropical Depressions Rumbia and Bebinca, caused heavy, ceaseless rain and 25-mph easterly winds all day and into Friday night. How much rain fell on Friday could not immediately be learned Friday night.

Despite the dreary conditions, school officials pressed ahead with the game because it was homecoming — a decision with which Trojans coach Victor Rivera disagreed.

“We should have never played this game. The field was like a swamp,” said Rivera, who had five players go to the emergency room due to injuries or hypothermia.

Having edged Edgren 7-6 at Camp Zama in the season opener on Sept. 2, and knowing that Edgren upset Nile C. Kinnick 20-12 on Sept. 30, Rivera said he’d tweaked his offense and tuned the defense, anticipating “a good game of skill. But this was a mudfest. I know this was homecoming but this should have been called off.”

Edgren athletic director Jim Burgeson and the school had worked all summer, he said, to “get grass to grow” on Eagles Field. “And now it’s destroyed.”

Latimore wasted little time putting Edgren up 6-0 with a 70-yard return of the opening kickoff. But Zama fought back behind a power ground game. Aaron Tabor rushed for a touchdown and Kadeem Jones bulled across for two others and the Trojans led 18-6 just before halftime.

Then Edgren’s Ethan Blake fell on a Trojans fumble in the end zone. David Leh added a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 18-14 at halftime.

Edgren’s offense, with Ray calling basic plays under center and veteran Johnson leading the battle of the line of scrimmage, slogged for two more touchdowns on what Waite called “simple plays” off the right side.

Latimore ran 25 yards for one TD and 10 for another, with Ray adding a two-point conversion pass to Casey Bennett after the second Latimore TD to cap the scoring in the third quarter.

Already short of players, Rivera requested a running clock in the fourth quarter to prevent further injury, and neither team scored any more points as time wound down.

ASIJ-Yokota rained out; no makeup date yet

Torrential day-long rain rendered Yokota High School’s Bonk Field virtually submerged in water and school officials decided to call off Friday night’s game against American School In Japan.

No makeup date was announced. If it is rescheduled, it would have to be done on a weekday; each school has games scheduled every weekend the rest of the season except for ASIJ’s bye weekend Oct. 20-21.

Pacific prep football

DODDS-Japan League

W L Pct. PF PA

Yokota 3 0 1.000 80 32

Nile C. Kinnick 2 2 .500 82 68

Robert D. Edgren 2 3 .400 80 105

Zama American 1 3 .250 46 83

Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools

W L Pct. PF PA

Yokota 3 0 1.000 98 25

Nile C. Kinnick 2 1 .667 62 43

Zama American 0 2 .000 21 49

American School In Japan 0 2 .000 14 78

Friday’s games

Edgren 28, Zama 18

ASIJ at Yokota, ppd., rain

Friday, Oct. 13

Kinnick at Yokota, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 14

Zama at ASIJ

Guam

W L Pct. PF PA

George Washington 5 0 1.000 220 37

Father Duenas Memorial 3 2 .600 127 61

Simon Sanchez 2 2 .500 55 94

Guam High 2 2 .500 56 93

John F. Kennedy 1 3 .250 42 100

Southern 0 4 .000 20 135

Friday, Oct. 6

George Washington 26, Father Duenas 18

Saturday, Oct. 7

John F. Kennedy vs. Guam High at Naval Station "Big Navy," 3 p.m.

Southern vs. Simon Sanchez at Ramsey Field, John F. Kennedy High School, Upper Tumon, 7 p.m.

End regular season

Postseason

Quarterfinals

Friday, Oct. 13

Game 1-Fifth-place team at fourth-place team, time and site to be determined.

Saturday, Oct. 14

Game 2-Southern at third-place team, time and site to be determined.

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