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In terms of experience level, most of Osan American’s and Daegu American’s football players are as green as freshly mowed grass on a summer’s day.

Most of the arsenal that propelled Osan to the 2005 and ’06 Far East Class A title games has departed. So, too, did Daegu bid farewell to most of the key components that boosted the Warriors to last fall’s 27-6 Class A title game loss to Robert D. Edgren. Even the teams’ coaching staffs are largely new.

Yet the two teams that will take to Cougars Field at 6 p.m. Friday to take the first step toward a Nov. 1 Class A title game berth at Edgren are as different as night and day, coaches say.

“Osan has size. Daegu has speed,” said Julian Harden, coach of a Seoul American team that has beaten both squads by a combined 47-0 the first two weeks of the season. Other than that, “there’s not a huge margin of difference.”

Ken Walter lost 17 starters from his Daegu lineup, and has replaced them with speed merchants such as sophomore wideout Juwan Bullard, senior defensive back Larry Dixon and promising sophomore quarterback Trey Griffin, who saw some action in the Class A title game.

“They have a good passing attack,” Osan first-year coach Duke Allen said of Daegu’s spread offense. “They have a good quarterback and speed on defense, a strong, aggressive defense.”

To beat Daegu, Allen’s Cougars “need to play mistake-free football. Defense is one of our strong points. We need to get our offense online against a fast, aggressive defense.”

By contrast, the Cougars bring big, beefy guys to the table, such as senior Jesse Crockett and juniors Mike Gilliam and Travis Neher in the interior. Will Rapoza, the lone 2005 title holdover sidelined by a knee injury last season, is seeing limited action on defense.

Walter said he was impressed by Osan’s sophomore quarterback Rashad Bell, who Harden said can throw the ball 50 yards in the air. “And they have size. It looks like they’re a pretty strong, physical team,” Walter said.

To overcome that size, Walter said his Warriors must “execute and be quick. Precision and execution on offense, attacking aggressive defense. We have to play in their backfield on defense. On offense, we have to fire off the ball at the same time and everybody hit their spots.”

For his part, Harden says he’ll take speed over size, which he feels should give Daegu the edge.

“Big guys tend to run out of gas,” Harden said. “Endurance is a factor. Osan’s guys would get tired in the end and the Daegu’s guys can take advantage of that. But there’s not a whole lot of difference.”

The teams face each other again Oct. 3 at Camp Walker’s Kelly Field in Daegu, and again Oct. 24 or Oct. 25 at Osan, if needed to determined the Class A title game berth.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.
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