To coach Julian Harden, the most special of his Seoul American Falcons’ three league titles might be the one that was sealed on Saturday.
“I never thought we would do as well as we did,” Harden said.
The Falcons routed the Taegu American Warriors 34-0 at Camp Walker’s Kelly Field in Daegu, finishing the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Korea Football League regular season at 4-0. The Falcons’ winning streak extends 24 games, back to 2001.
Fullback Calvin Lasane led the attack with 101 yards on 10 carries including 27- and 36-yard touchdown runs. David Smalls gained 79 yards on six carries including a 12-yard scoring run in the first half.
Bruce Voelker went 6-for-8 for 97 yards, including a 20-yard TD pass to Jeremy “Ice” Christopher. Quintez Johnson returned a fumble 26 yards for a touchdown.
On defense, Daniel Cain racked up 17 tackles and forced two fumbles, Justin Lee had 11 tackles and two quarterback sacks and Clark Campbell added seven stops and two sacks.
The statistics reflect a “team concept” built of necessity, Harden said: Seoul American lost its entire backfield and returned only four players this season. “We had to basically compile people who had never played together before and get them to gel,” he said.
With Voelker battling injuries all season, Smalls and Lasane emerged as the “go-to” tandem. Lasane powered his way to 382 yards and five touchdowns on 46 carries; Smalls with 362 yards and six touchdowns on 38 carries.
“Guys committed to the team concept … has helped us more than anything,” Harden said.
The Warriors hardly were celebrating: Taegu fumbled five kickoffs, fumbled six total times and lost two of them, dropped two wide-open passes and suffered three penalties at crucial times, including one that halted a chance at the Falcons’ 3-yard line.
“Everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” coach George Speer said.
“A litany of bad football playing. And Seoul took advantage of the mistakes.”
Kory Grammer led the Warriors with 50 yards of offense, 22 yards on six carries and 2-for-2 passing for 28 yards, both completions to Daniel Pressley. Brendan Watkins gained 34 yards on nine carries and Stephen Scott ran five times for 28 yards. Tony Butts recorded a team-high 14 tackles and Jamison Walter added 10 tackles and blocked one extra-point kick.
The Warriors still have something to play for. If they win by five or more points against the Osan American Cougars at Osan Air Base on Saturday, they’ll host the Far East Class A championship game Nov. 5 against Robert D. Edgren.
“That’s the one that really counts,” Speer said.
The Falcons, meanwhile, head for the Far East Class AA playoff semifinal. They’re to host Nov. 5 against seven-time Japan Football League champion Yokota.
“We’re going to have to knuckle down and bear up and show what we’re made of,” Harden said.
“They have a winning tradition, a great coaching staff and excellent talent. We ... have to come up with some kind of strategy to control their running and passing and somehow find a weakness in their defense to exploit.”
Of Yokota coach Tim Pujol, Harden said, “I know he’s going to come with a great team.”