Daegu goes to ground to top Osan for first win
CAMP WALKER, South Korea – Decimated by injuries and undone by inefficient passing and mistakes in its first three games, Daegu American returned Friday to something that made it successful last season: keeping the ball on the ground.
The result was the Warriors recorded their first shutout of Osan American in four years. Lee Wright ran for 163 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries as Daegu blanked the Cougars 26-0, taking the first step to their fourth Far East Division II title game in five seasons.
“Good night at the office,” said coach Ken Walter of the Warriors, who got their first win after an 0-3 start.
Daegu lost a week earlier 16-0 at Seoul American, and brought just 14 healthy players home on the bus, Walter said.
“We took it easy in practice this week, went to work on some things we did last year and they paid off,” he said.
Wright scored on runs of 12 in the first quarter, 15 in the second and 3 yards in the fourth quarter. Darius Wyche added a 19-yard first-quarter touchdown run and finished with 50 yards on 10 carries. Ronald McLean ran seven times for 58 yards and was 3-for-4 for 39 yards passing.
Keyonte Bennett intercepted an Osan pass. One new wrinkle the Warriors tried was a version of onside kicks on kickoffs following touchdowns. Three of them were recovered successfully by Daegu’s Monnie Mitchell, Romar Banzon and Xavian Washburn.
“That denied (Osan) three possessions,” Walter said. “Special teams played well today. And the defense was lights out.”
Haley Claiborne, a sophomore soccer player, made good on two extra-point kicks. She’s the first girl to suit up for the Warriors since Joanne Youngblood kicked for the Warriors six years ago.
The lone highlight for the Cougars (0-3) was senior defender Brett Hammontree, who had 12 tackles, three for losses.
“Taking care of the small details,” Cougars coach Aaron Mundy said. “It’s a little bit here and a little bit there that make you better.”
Osan next visits Seoul American (2-2) on Saturday. Daegu travels to Osan on Oct. 14, needing only a victory or a loss by 25 points or less to book host rights to the Far East D-II title game Nov. 5.