CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Jarrett Mitchell continues to post gaudy rushing totals. And his Kubasaki Dragons continue to reap the benefits.
The speedy junior running back scored on the first plays of the first and second quarters Saturday, finishing with 232 yards on 13 carries and the Dragons won the first inter-district inter-division game of the DODDS Pacific season 39-8 over Daegu.
“He’s an explosive running back. He does some very good things for us. We’re glad he’s on our side,” coach Fred Bales said of Mitchell, who topped his previous single-game high by 48 yards.
Bales credited the play of the offensive line for plowing the way for Mitchell as well as giving new quarterback Tyler Smith time to find open receivers in the Dragons’ balanced spread-option attack.
“Offensive football begins and ends with the line, and we emphasize it,” Bales said, adding that he was “concerned” that the Dragons might be rusty for not having played until Saturday.
“We suited up seven linemen, lost one to injury but the guys played really well. In the third quarter, they stepped up and took over, protected the passer and got after the run.”
Mitchell scored on runs of 43 and 82 yards to open the first and second quarters, the first one coming after Daegu appeared to have Mitchell wrapped up in the backfield. But he reversed his field and ran untouched down the right sideline, an indicator of things to come.
Smith went an economical 5-for-11 for 41 yards, but threw touchdowns of 18 yards to Ryan Burnette, 10 to Kareem Key and 19 to Quinton Maxwell.
On defense, the Dragons forced two turnovers and got two sacks from Chris Schehl. They held the Warriors to 7 rushing yards, and as a team, Kubasaki outgained Daegu 298-102.
Daegu’s lone bright spot came in the second quarter when Caleb Page, the starting quarterback, shifted to wide receiver after tweaking a knee. Backup quarterback Steven Robinet – playing on a bad ankle – found Page from 39 yards out to get Daegu within 20-8, but it was as close as the Warriors got.
Coach Ken Walter called it the “worst I’ve seen the team play.”
“We are not executing, we have drives but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said, adding that the loss to Kubasaki could be the “wakeup we need” going into Saturday’s game at Zama American that counts in the chase for a Division II title-game berth.
Daegu is the two-time defending D-II champion.
Kubasaki travels to Seoul American in a game counting toward a D-I title-gam berth. The Dragons lost last year’s D-I title game 34-6 at Yokota.