YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – After losing its previous two games by a combined 75-35, coach Steven Merrell said his Zama American football team needed a spark as it prepares to defend its Far East Division II championship.
They got more than that Friday in a 31-0 shutout to spoil Nile C. Kinnick’s homecoming: The Trojans found somebody who could readily complement Michael Spencer’s big-yards game.
Sophomore fullback Andre Encarnacion enjoyed a breakout game, scoring twice while running up 128 yards on 16 carries, and Spencer added a touchdown and 147 yards on 15 attempts.
“We really needed something to get back on track,” Merrell said. “We knew we were capable of winning – we just needed to put things together. It’s nice to be headed in the right direction.”
The Trojans (4-4) also got touchdown runs from Mitchell Harrison and Richard Castillo. Stephen Ferrere and David Coleman each intercepted passes for Zama.
Zama is set to host Daegu American (4-2) of South Korea on Nov. 6 for the Far East Division II title. Zama defeated Daegu last year for the championship.
The host Red Devils (2-6) made five trips into Zama’s red zone, only to come away empty-handed each time, despite running back Dustin Kimbrell’s 124 yards on 14 carries and Quinton Holden running 16 times for 129 yards. Aaron Stravers had 11 tackles.
“Frustrating,” coach Dan Joley said. “We shot ourselves in the foot again.”