One could say Daegu American has owned title deed to Osan American in September, the Warriors sporting a 5-0 mark since 2007 and outscoring the Cougars 146-30 in that span.
October? That’s been a different story.
Daegu is 4-3 and has outscored Osan 148-106 in October since 2007, and it’s been anything but easy. Two of those victories were by two points, including a 30-28 overtime win Oct. 30, 2009 in a one-game playoff to determine Far East Division II title game host rights.
Thus, coach Ken Walter says he’s taking nothing for granted when his Warriors visit the Cougars on Friday.
“Every year, it seems, we win our first game against them, and every time we play them at their place, they play us tough,” Walter said. “It’s their homecoming. They’re going to come out and play as hard as they can play.”
Two-time DODDS Korea champion and reigning D-II champion Daegu needs a win to secure host rights to the D-II title game Nov. 5. Osan, which hasn’t played in the D-II title game since 2008 and lost 26-0 at Daegu on Sept. 30, must win by 27 points or more.
The secret to Daegu beating Osan – or any team, for that matter – is to “get up on them and stay ahead,” Walter said.
“We’re not the same team as we were last year. We play well when we’re in front and not so well when we’re behind. We have to put the pressure on them and keep it off us.”
Daegu primarily stuck to the ground game in the first matchup, with Lee Wright rushing 24 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Placekicker Haley Claiborne played a big role, pooch-kicking three kickoffs that the Warriors recovered and kept the ball out of Osan’s hands.
The Cougars, meanwhile, remain somewhat banged up, coach Aaron Mundy said. Brett Hammontree, who starred defensively in the Sept. 30 game with 12 tackles, and Charles Washington (ankle) are no-go’s for Friday; running back B.J. Bryant is expected to play.
“Score more points than them, minimize mistakes, capitalize on errors,” Mundy said. “Look to our seniors. Hopefully, through their leadership, we can make some changes.”
Elsewhere, Guam High will try to reach its second straight Interscholastic Football League title game in as many seasons when it faces Simon Sanchez at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Kubasaki plays its first game since Sept. 23, taking Jarrett Mitchell and his Okinawa-leading 502 yards on 49 carries to Zama American for a battle with junior tandem Andre Encarnacion (715 yards, 93 carries) and Mitchell Harrison (629, 53). Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
American School In Japan hosts Nile C. Kinnick for homecoming at 1 p.m. Saturday, while Yokota travels to Robert D. Edgren for a 7 p.m. Friday kickoff.