Perry opens D-II play by routing Daegu
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 9, 2017
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan – Mason Graydon isn’t touching the ball much this season for defending Far East Division II champion Matthew C. Perry.
So the senior linebacker has made it his business to make life as rough as possible for opposing ball carriers.
Graydon had eight tackles for losses, including two for safeties, plus a punt block and a fumble recovery, while senior running back Andrew Borrero scored three times as the Samurai routed Daegu 44-8 on Saturday in an inter-district game between the last two D-II champion teams.
“He’s a man on a mission,” coach Frank Macias said after his Samurai improved to 1-1 this season and dropped the Warriors to 1-1. “He’s leaving it all on the field, doing what’s best for the team. He’s just playing ridiculous right now.”
“He was pretty solid,” Daegu coach Blake Sims said.
Before the season started, Macias asked Graydon to play in the offensive and defensive interior, rather than running the ball.
Graydon said it doesn’t matter where he plays as long as the team is winning.
“It’s just the drive for the championship,” Graydon said. “I want to win the championship again not just for me, but for the team. We lost a lot of players after last season, so I want to step up and help carry the team.”
Graydon and Borrero helped the Samurai to their second straight win over the Warriors, after losing a regular-season game in 2015 at Daegu 52-20 and falling in the 2014 D-II championship game at Perry 60-50.
Borrero, charged with the responsibility of replacing 2016 star running back Caeleb Ricafrente, carried 21 times for 162 yards, including touchdown runs of 2, 27 and 5 yards. He also recovered a fumble.
“I just want to be the best I can be for the team, so we can go back to the finals and win the championship again,” Borrero said.
The 2016 season was a good one for Borrero, but he was “living in Caeleb’s shadow,” Macias said. “He wants to pick up that slack, and it clicked tonight. We don’t need him to be Caeleb. We need him to be Andrew Borrero, and that’s good enough for us.”
Ethan Peterson contributed 43 yards on 12 carries and two rushing touchdowns and Dylan Ernst 46 yards on just two carries with a TD.
Perry led Daegu from the start and was never seriously threatened. The game finished with a running clock the last 2 minutes, 31 seconds.
The brightest light for the Warriors was Javeon Bell, who led Daegu in rushing for the second straight week with 161 yards on 22 carries. He scored the Warriors’ lone touchdown on a 70-yard third-quarter run.
Making matters worse for the Warriors, they lost starting quarterback Michael Martinez and backup Michael Bobadilla with ankle injuries. They finished the game in the wildcat formation, with Bell doing much of the carrying.
“We had some learning moments,” Sims said, adding that players had to step up and play different positions due to the injuries. “We showed a lot of heart. But the other team played really well.”
Perry next entertains Zama for homecoming on Friday; kickoff is at 7 p.m. Daegu next welcomes Robert D. Edgren for a Saturday contest with kickoff at 2 p.m.