Support our mission
Daegu's Brandon Thap looks for running room between teammate Javeon Bell and Seoul American's Devin Rix.

Daegu's Brandon Thap looks for running room between teammate Javeon Bell and Seoul American's Devin Rix. (Sarah Spavins/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Daegu's Brandon Thap looks for running room between teammate Javeon Bell and Seoul American's Devin Rix.

Daegu's Brandon Thap looks for running room between teammate Javeon Bell and Seoul American's Devin Rix. (Sarah Spavins/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Seoul American's Levi Johnson gets corralled by Daegu's Tommy Kazmierczak and Jarvis Stokes.

Seoul American's Levi Johnson gets corralled by Daegu's Tommy Kazmierczak and Jarvis Stokes. (Sarah Spavins/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Seoul American's David Messinger, a former Warrior who had 143 yards total offense, tries to elude the tackle of Daegu's Michael Martinez.

Seoul American's David Messinger, a former Warrior who had 143 yards total offense, tries to elude the tackle of Daegu's Michael Martinez. (Claire Ancheta/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Seoul American's Levi Johnson, who had 127 all-purpose yards plus an interception for the Falcons, comes down with an interception against Daegu's Brandon Thap.

Seoul American's Levi Johnson, who had 127 all-purpose yards plus an interception for the Falcons, comes down with an interception against Daegu's Brandon Thap. (Claire Ancheta/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Daegu's Jacob Litton tries to dash past Seoul American's David Messinger, a former Warrior.

Daegu's Jacob Litton tries to dash past Seoul American's David Messinger, a former Warrior. (Yenah Joe/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Daegu's Marcell Clemmons tries to chase down Seoul American's Levi Johnson, who had 127 all-purpose yards plus an interception for the Falcons.

Daegu's Marcell Clemmons tries to chase down Seoul American's Levi Johnson, who had 127 all-purpose yards plus an interception for the Falcons. (Yenah Joe/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Jarvis Stokes' 50-yard touchdown run around right end proved to be the game-winning score as the Warriors rallied past Seoul American 8-6.

Jarvis Stokes' 50-yard touchdown run around right end proved to be the game-winning score as the Warriors rallied past Seoul American 8-6. (Angela Root/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Daegu's Tommy Kazmierczak picked off two of five passes intercepted by the Warriors off Falcons QB David Messinger, a former Warrior.

Daegu's Tommy Kazmierczak picked off two of five passes intercepted by the Warriors off Falcons QB David Messinger, a former Warrior. (Angela Root/Special to Stars and Stripes)

CAMP WALKER, South Korea – Just call Jarvis Stokes Daegu’s game-changer.

On a drizzly, gray afternoon when the Warriors’ offense mirrored the conditions, the senior proved to be a bright spot, rushing 50 yards for Daegu’s lone touchdown with 5 minutes, 52 seconds left and rallying the Warriors past Seoul American 8-6 in Saturday’s DODEA-Korea football opener.

“He’s a stellar student, a quiet leader who leads by example, never says a bad thing about anybody, but he speaks volumes on the field,” said Blake Sims, first-year coach of the three-time defending Far East Division II champions.

It was anything but a stellar performance by a Daegu offense held to 48 yards on 44 plays by the Falcons, who put up 170 yards of their own.

But it fell to Stokes to make the big offensive play, much the same as he did on special teams in last November’s 51-36 D-II title-game win over Yokota.

Trailing 28-6 in the second quarter, Daegu got a huge kick return from Stokes, which set up a touchdown and turned the tide of that game.

“Same thing, only a touchdown this time,” Sims said. The Warriors defense stood out, forcing six turnovers, including five interceptions, two by Tom Kazmierczak.

Keith Williams had one of four Daegu sacks and put the Warriors on the board with a tackle of Falcons running back Wayne White in the end zone for a safety.

Injuries forced the Warriors to use much of their underclass pool, forcing them to “learn a different level of play,” Sims said. “It was their first time to see a strong opposition. But they never quit.”

Time and again, the Falcons tried to breach the Daegu end zone, succeeding only on former Warrior David Messinger’s 14-yard TD pass to Dalton Yoder with 4:03 left in the first half.

Following Stokes’ scoring run, the Falcons had two more chances to score, but turned the ball over each time, with Kazmierczak getting his second interception, followed by Javeon Bell’s fumble recovery with 2:04 left.

“We shot ourselves in the foot over and over, too many mental mistakes and that cost us a lot,” first-year Falcons head coach Shawen Smith said. “Props to Daegu; they got it when they needed it. We have to prepare better, eliminate the mental mistakes and move on.”

The non-divisional game served as a tune-up for both teams, who take the first step toward their respective Far East title games next weekend. Daegu is at Humphreys on Friday, while Seoul American visits Kadena on Sept. 10.

“We have to bring the same mentality Friday,” Kazmierczak said.

Messinger led the Falcons with 143 yards total offense and Levi Johnson added 127 all-purpose yards plus an interception. Binnie Ruiz had two sacks for the Falcons, who forced five turnovers of their own.

ornauer.dave@stripes.com

Twitter: @ornauer_stripes


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up