Korean National Team Suffers Setback In Tuneup for World Championships

This past weekend the Korean National Team dropped a tough 28-20 decision to the Seoul Kisan Golden Eagles in their first warm up game before the IFAF World Championships being held next month in Canton, Ohio (U.S.A).

Korea - National team2

Korea’s national team headed on to the field

Played in Daegu, Korea. with official time keeping and scoring, it was the first real test for the Korean National team’s ability and preparation. The team is made up of the best players from the men’s divisions and the university divisions which held tryouts earlier this year.

The Eagles are a team of mostly Koreans with some import players and are one of the top tier teams in Seoul, and Korea at large. The Golden Eagles, who have qualified for the championship game four out of the last six years here in the Korea National Football League, placed 2nd overall last year.

The Korean National team had a number of new players this year brought up from the university leagues, and so this was a good showcase for them to get a feel for the speed and competition they can expect to face when they head to Canton for the World Championship tournament.

The game saw the Korean National team struggle from the start with a muffed kick return to open the game. The national team recovered on defense though and stopped the Eagles for a turnover on downs. However, on the ensuing Eagles possession they threw a deep strike of 60 yards to Eagles WR, Yeon Soo , “Larry” Lee, good for the Eagles first score of the day.

Korea - Tigers

Seoul Kisan Golden Eagles ready to play

The Korean National team looked stunned and tried to shake it off with a nice drive of their own, notching their first few first downs, but failed to get into the red zone. As the first quarter drew to a close, the national team was trying to air it out when Eagles CB, #1 Dan Szigeti, jumped a route and ran it back for a pick six, and the Eagles were suddenly up 14-0.

This wouldn’t be Szigeti’s only interception of the game; he ended up getting 3 of the National team’s 5 thrown interceptions in the game. The Eagles went back to the air late in the second, after another  National team interception, with quarterback Kyle Otis hitting a deep throw again to Yeon Soo Lee for their third score. The score at halftime was 22-0.

However, Korea was not going to let the Eagles get away with an easy victory as they were playing for pride and country. The ended up getting on the board in the third when young quarterback Tae Hun Kim connected on a pass through tight coverage to  JaeWhan Kim. Korea would strike again in the third quarter, with a powerful run up the middle by running back BoSung Park to get to narrow the gap to 22-14.

Korea - National team v. Tigers
Korea fought hard until the end of the fourth quarter limiting the Eagles efforts to drive the ball, and when the Eagles attempted to kneel the ball to run the clock out, the Korean team was able to get to Kyle Otis before his kneel and so the Eagles quickly went back into formation and scored on their very next run with running back Austin McCord rumbling in from 30 yards out. Korean National team quarterback Tae Hun Kim responded within 15 seconds into the next possession with another deep pass of 42 yards to JaeWhan Kim. Korea needed to recover an onside kick to get the score tied up at 28 all and did, giving them a glimmer of hope. But they failed to score as the last few seconds ticked off the clock.

The Eagles went on to win 28-20 as Korea’s national team heads back to training camp this week. They will have plenty to talk about as they get ready for their upcoming trip to Canton.

Dennis Battistella
A writer for American Football International. Graduated with a MSM at University of St. Francis, Joliet(USA). Current Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at Eulji University, Korea. Player with Seoul Vikings, Korea.
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