CAMP WALKER, South Korea – Hobbled a week earlier with an ankle injury at Matthew C. Perry, Michael Martinez returned to the field Friday and immediately set the tone as Daegu rebounded resoundingly from defeat.
Martinez, the Warriors’ senior quarterback, scored Daegu’s first three touchdowns in limited rushing action, and Warriors backfield mates Javeon Bell and Bishop Fields accounted for nearly 300 rushing yards as Daegu raced ahead early and pounded visiting Robert D. Edgren 39-21.
Having missed most of the week of practice while nursing his injured right ankle, Martinez watched and gauged the Warriors’ game plan for the Eagles, iced the ankle “and next thing I knew, I was out there starting,” he said.
“This win was deserved for the morale of the team,” Martinez said of a Warriors team that got walloped 44-8 six days earlier at Perry. “We came out more hungry than I’ve ever seen, wanting to come out and go after that (Far East Division II) championship.”
Senior Hunter Lane, in his first year of football, had been penciled in as the quarterback in case Martinez could not go. But “his ankle started to look better in the last day or so” before Friday’s game at Camp Walker’s Kelly Field, Warriors coach Blake Sims said.
Martinez, he said, “is a calm leader on the field. He keeps the team settled and focused and that showed right away.”
Martinez finished with just 25 yards on 10 carries, and his three touchdowns came on short runs for Daegu, which improved to 2-1.
Bell had his third straight game of more than 150 yards, finishing with 168 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Fields finished with 123 yards on 18 attempts with a TD and a two-point conversion.
Michael Bobadilla, who backed up Martinez and also got hurt against Perry, returned to the lineup and added a 70-yard interception-return touchdown.
Edgren (1-2) was playing its first game at Kelly Field since losing the Far East D-II championship game 33-12 on Nov. 8, 2013.
The Eagles’ offense showed improvement over a 56-0 defeat a week earlier at Yokota. Cody Dettman ran 10 yards for a touchdown, Raphael Lykins added a 2-yard TD run and Zeb Daw caught a 70-yard scoring pass.
Coach Jeremy Sanders called it a “much-better performance” by the Eagles. “We improved in our tackling and wrapping and our blocking. It was minor miscues and mental mistakes” that cost the Eagles, Sanders said.
The victory proved costly for the Warriors, who saw Lane and lineman Sam Murphy ejected in the fourth quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct. They must sit out Daegu’s next game Friday at Humphreys; kickoff is at 6 p.m. “That’s going to hurt. Two key players,” Sims said.
Edgren next travels to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni for a game against defending D-II champion Perry; kickoff is at 7 p.m.