Kinnick hopes to stay alive by beating former Red Devil
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea – Jim Davis is hoping to prove you can go home again.
The Seoul American football coach, who graduated from Nile C. Kinnick in 1989 and was an assistant to then-Kinnick head coach Robert Stovall in the early 2000s, visits his old stomping grounds Saturday in a Division I battle that also serves as Kinnick’s homecoming game.
“It was special last year and it will be special this year,” said Davis, who as a Falcons assistant helped Seoul American beat Kinnick 38-7 in the D-I play-in game last Oct. 3 at Yokosuka. “There are so many there who I used to work with.”
Elsewhere in the Pacific, Guam High hopes to turn homecoming into a regular-season sweep of Interscholastic Football League teams when it hosts Southern on Friday.
American School In Japan looks to avenge its early season 27-21 home loss when it visits Yokota on Friday.
Kadena and Kubasaki of Okinawa hit the road in Korea, playing inter-district, inter-division games at Daegu and Osan American.
And on Friday, the first of two regular-season battles to see who hosts the Division II football title game on Nov. 10 pits Zama American at Robert D. Edgren.
The Seoul-Kinnick should be a matchup of star running backs Ronald Dogan of Seoul American and Marcus Boatwright and Quinton Holden of Kinnick. A win could also keep Kinnick’s slim hopes alive for a berth in the D-I title game Nov. 17. A Falcons victory could ensure both teams will be on the outside looking in.
Either way, it will be Davis’ first time standing on the visitor’s side of Berkey Field as the head coach of the opposing team. He did that once before as a Seahawks base team player when Yokosuka faced the aircraft carrier USS Independence in the 1990s. “It was only once, but it was eerie nonetheless,” Davis recalled.
Of the 12 DODDS schools in the Pacific, Kinnick tends to attract the most alumni for its homecomings. “And they always make it special with the parade and all the other things they do,” Davis said.
Though Stovall, currently the Red Devils’ defensive coordinator, was the head coach back then, Stovall credits Davis, his offensive coordinator at the time, and defensive coach Matt Martinez for making things work.
“He and Matt actually ran it,” Stovall said. “I think Jimbo knows more about football than I do.”
As for Saturday’s game, Stovall thinks it won’t be as one-sided as last year’s. “It sounds like we’re more equal to them than last year, so hopefully, it will be a good game.”