CAMP WALKER, South Korea – Finally given the chance to play against Matthew C. Perry’s chief tormenters the last two seasons, Caeleb Ricafrente made the most of it.
The senior running back racked up four touchdowns on the ground and scored his second return TD on special teams the last two weeks, as the Samurai routed three-time defending Far East Division II champion Daegu 52-6 on Saturday at Camp Walker’s Kelly Field.
“He’s ridiculous,” coach Frank Macias said of Ricafrente, who has 326 yards and a Pacific-high 13 touchdowns on 51 carries this season. He also has three catches for 67 yards and a touchdown in addition to his return TDs.
It was the first look the Warriors had at Ricafrente, in his third year with the Samurai varsity, but who missed the 2014 D-II championship 60-50 loss at Perry with a broken elbow, and was on a JROTC function during Perry’s 52-20 loss at Daegu last Oct. 31.
“He’s hungry,” Macias said, reiterating Ricafrente’s stated goal of wanting to play in this season’s D-II final on Nov. 5. “Right now, he’s a man amongst boys. He’s at a whole different level.”
“He’s a strong player,” Warriors coach Blake Sims said of Ricafrente.
He rushed nine times for 80 yards. His punt-return touchdown run went for 70 yards. Zach Brown added 43 yards and two touchdowns on six carries plus eight tackles, including two sacks.
Ethan Peterson added 56 yards on 12 carries and Andrew Borrero rushed 14 times for 55 yards and had six tackles. Lewis Billups posted seven tackles. Elijah Lebron returned an interception 20 yards for a score.
Saturday’s was a non-divisional game that meant nothing in the chase for space in the D-II title game. But it was a chance for each team to view the competition level in their rival districts and continue fine-tuning things.
“We’re still working hard, (but) we’re still not at that place yet,” Macias said, noting that the Samurai game against Yokota Oct. 22 would likely determine which team hosts the D-II final. “We still have to take down Yokota. We still have work to do.”
Daegu’s lone touchdown came with 1:58 left, when backup quarterback Ethan Bird found Tommy Kazmierczak for a 50-yard scoring pass.
“We didn’t have quit. We played right to the end,” Sims said.
Daegu next hosts Humphreys at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 14. The Blackhawks beat the Warriors 27-8 in their first meeting on Sept. 9, and Daegu needs to beat Humphreys by 20 points or more to book a trip to Japan for the D-II title game.
Perry travels to Robert D. Edgren for its next game on Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.