Edgren rallies to top Zama for first win
CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Zama and Robert D. Edgren both desperately needed a win Friday to stay alive in the chase to host the Far East Division II football title game.
It took until the final minute, but it was the Eagles coming out on top, scoring on a 31-yard pass play from Shawn Robinson to Blake Smaw with 24 seconds left, rallying Edgren for an 18-14 win at Trojans Field.
“The kids have worked hard this year and it really showed tonight,” coach Bill Schofield said. The Eagles played strongly in a 40-18 loss to Matthew C. Perry two weeks earlier before regressing last week in a 42-0 loss at Nile C. Kinnick, something Schofield said the players took to heart.
“We were focused on improvement” this week, Schofield said. “The kids were really keyed in. They were very emotional about this victory.”
Robinson, one of a small group of returners from last year’s D-II runner-up team, went 15-for-22 for 252 yards, and scrambled for 32 more. Smaw caught six balls for 141 yards and two touchdowns and Daniel Lovett added four catches for 87 yards and a score.
“The offense had difficulty getting started,” Schofield said, regarding penalties and other mistakes which stalled several possessions.
Defensively, the Eagles were “stupendous, unbelievable,” he said. Sky Phillips had three sacks and a fumble recovery, David Warren added four sacks and Dorian Dillon three forced fumbles and one recovery. “We controlled the run and controlled the pass,” Schofield said.
While the Trojans got on the scoreboard for the first time this season, much work needs to be done, coach Steven Merrell said.
“Certainly disappointing, the kids are disappointed,” he said. “Our defense allowed us to stay close. The defense was a bright spot, but we need to get the offense working in synch. We moved the ball at times. We just need to get it together.”
Jake Raynardo had a 48-yard run in the first quarter and Zach Dignan recovered an end-zone fumble to give the Trojans a brief 14-12 lead late in the fourth quarter.
The two teams meet again next weekend as the Trojans (0-3) travel to Misawa Air Base to visit the Eagles (1-3) Friday; kickoff is at 7 p.m.