Kubasaki powers past Daegu to set up showdown with Kadena
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Kubasaki treated Daegu American’s football team to a lights-out display – figuratively and literally.
Cristian Rivera racked up 223 yards total offense and four touchdowns, Brandon Crawford caught three TD passes and intercepted one pass and the host Dragons pulled away in the second half from the Warriors, 43-18, Saturday in an interarea game interrupted by a 35-minute power outage.
The Dragons (3-0), thanks to their season series sweep of their DODDS Korea foes, are off to their best start in Fred Bales’ six seasons as coach.
Kubasaki beat Daegu, Osan and Seoul American this month by a combined 121-24. Daegu (2-2 overall) went 0-2 against Okinawa and was outscored 65-24.
“We’re off to a good start,” Bales said. “I like where my team’s at now. But we have a lot of work to do and the road gets tougher.”
He meant Friday’s homecoming game and the first of two against Okinawa Activities Council arch-rival Kadena, which has beaten Kubasaki 12 straight games dating back to 2006. The team with the best record in the two-game series qualifies for the Far East Division I playoffs.
“We had a pretty good finish a few years ago. It’s how you finish,” Bales said of 2005, when Kubasaki beat Seoul American 38-8 for its lone Division I title. “We have to keep executing on both sides of the ball and play hard.”
Saturday’s game was closer than the score indicated. A.J. Watson and Rivera each ran for touchdowns, then Rivera hit Crawford from 32 yards out as the Dragons raced in front 19-0 8 minutes, 53 seconds before halftime.
But Daegu answered on Tre Griffin TD passes of 66 yards to Caleb Gosserand and 16 to Christian Dawes to trim the lead to 19-12 3:47 into the second half.
“Outstanding job they do at Daegu with their football program, a class team, they gave us everything we wanted tonight,” Bales said.
The Dragons’ Deon Lewis then ran for a score and Crawford caught his second TD pass and Kubasaki was never threatened again.
Rivera was 9-for-15 passing for 208 yards and ran 11 times for 15 yards. Crawford had 113 yards on four catches. Lewis piled up 180 all-purpose yards, and the Dragons’ defense forced two takeaways and recorded five sacks.
“This defense hasn’t given up this many points all season,” Daegu coach Ken Walter said. “Today, we were terrible in the pass defense and it killed us. They (Kubasaki) played great. They just outplayed us.”
Griffin was 11-for-23 passing for 182 yards en route to 203 yards of total offense and 268 all-purpose yards. Darius Wyche had 116 total yards, including a 49-yard touchdown run.
Play was halted for 35 minutes from 7:30 to 8:05 p.m. due to a power outage at Kishaba Housing Area, where Mike Petty Stadium is located.
“That’s above our pay grade,” Bales said. “Can’t do anything about that.”