By Dustin Perry, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsOctober 17, 2018
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Oct. 17, 2018) -- The Trojans of Zama American Middle High School celebrated their homecoming with a weeklong show of school spirit that culminated Oct. 12 with a 38-6 win over the Samurai of M.C. Perry High School.
The football game immediately followed an afternoon that saw the Camp Zama community come out to show their support and cheer the school on during a parade that started at ZAMHS' Trojan Field and wound through the streets of the installation before returning. After that was a traditional tailgate, during which the school and booster clubs sold food and drinks.
"[Homecoming] brings that esprit de corps and that spirit," said Wayne Carter, ZAMHS principal. "We're just having a good time and letting the students enjoy themselves. It's just a time for students and family and alumni to get together and celebrate the greatness [of] Zama American Middle High School."
Homecoming week began with dress-up days at the school, including Twin Day and Pajama Day. On Oct. 11 was the annual "Powder Puff" flag football game, which involved a little role reversal: Two teams, consisting of freshmen-junior and sophomore-senior girls, battled it out at Camp Zama's Rambler Field, while a group of boys played the role of cheerleaders--complete with authentic uniforms. The competitive but friendly game ended with the sophomore-senior team shutting out their opponents 19-0.
"Since we are away in Japan, [homecoming] is a way for [the students] to connect to home," said Jodi A. Hernandez, who helped organize the homecoming events. "We worked really hard to replicate the [homecoming] things we do at home [in the U.S.]
"We're uniquely positioned to be here in Japan, so it's also a good way for us to connect with the military community and also with the Japanese community and students outside the base," Hernandez added.
At the homecoming game, the Trojans started off strong, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter. The first came from wide receiver Devonte Gabriel off a reception from quarterback Nicolas Canada. On the Trojans' next possession, the wide receiver caught a pass in the end zone. And later, running back Luke Singer blasted through a line of defenders to run in another score. The Trojans impressively completed two-point conversions on each TD, putting them up 24-0.
The Samurai scored in the second quarter, but the Trojans answered right back when, on a later Samurai possession, the ball was fumbled and Trojan wide receiver Jarquavius Webb recovered it and ran it to the end zone. They once again ran a successful two-point conversion and led 32-6 at the half. Following a scoreless third quarter, the game wrapped up with Nicolas' brother Sean catching a short pass and running it nearly half the length of the field for a final Trojan TD.
"Some of our execution could have been better, but overall we had a really good game and everybody seemed to be working together," said Nicolas, underplaying his team's consistently impressive performance. "[M.C. Perry] played well; they improved since the last time since we played them, defense and offense."
Trojans head coach Scott Bolin said his players have worked really hard this season to bond and play as a unit, and that the results have been showing on the scoreboard.
"[Tonight's game is] the end result of the past couple seasons of work, and our kids have really played for each other," said Bolin. "[M.C. Perry] is a great opponent, so we had to dig deep. And then once we got ahead, we just kind of kept putting on the pressure."
Carter praised the community for the support it showed, not only for the football team, but for the entire school during homecoming.
"It's good to know that [homecoming] is a community activity," said Carter. "It's good to see their support and [we want] to let them that not only are they welcome here today, they're welcome here every day."