CAMP WALKER, South Korea – They had not put together what coach Luke Spencer called a total team effort on offense, defense and special teams the entire season. The Daegu Warriors came as close as they could in the second half of Friday’s game, Spencer said.
The Warriors trailed Seoul American 21-7 at halftime before Caleb Page and Patrick O’Houlahan rallied Daegu for 34 unanswered second-half points in a 41-21 win over the Falcons for their first DODDS Korea title since 2010.
“It was a fun game to coach, it was a rewarding game for the program,” Spencer said after Daegu evened its record to 3-3. The Warriors finished 1-1 vs. the Falcons, but held the superior point differential since Seoul American beat Daegu by only 12-8 in the season opener Aug. 30.
“All season long, we’ve always been looking for what I call ‘signature wins.’ That was a signature win for us,” Spencer said.
At halftime, Spencer said he “challenged our kids to play team ball. I told them we had yet to play a complete game on all three sides of the ball, and in the second half, they delivered.”
It was a case of pupil beating the master, in this case Falcons coach Jim Davis, for whom Spencer was an assistant in Bamberg, Germany. After that season-opening win, the Falcons have gone winless in five straight games against varsity opponents.
“We hadn’t played a good first half this season, and we finally did, I think the boys thought they’d won the game,” Davis said, calling this the “most frustrating” season he’s had as a head coach. “I can’t put my finger on it.”
Daegu rushed for 408 yards as a team. Page ran 17 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns, O’Houlahan added 106 yards and two scores on five carries and Rahmaan Abdul-Azeez had one touchdown and 77 yards on 18 attempts.
The turning point of the game, Spencer said, was early in the third quarter, when Anfernee Dent converted one of his two interceptions into an 80-yard return touchdown.
Max Weekley accounted for all three Falcons touchdowns, running for TDs of 33 and 18 yards and throwing a 48-yard scoring pass to Desmond Patton.
Seoul American closes its regular season Saturday at 2 p.m. at Kubasaki. Daegu ends its campaign with a non-varsity game vs. Humphreys on Friday.