Australia 47, South Korea 6
By Brad Bournival
CANTON, Ohio – It had been 16 years since Australia won a game in an International Federation of American Football World Championship, so forgive Jason Aslimoski for cracking a smile after his team beat South Korea, 47-6, in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
The 39-year old right tackle is the lone remaining player from the 1999 team that rallied to beat Finland, 10-7.
While Australia didn’t participate in 2003 and 2007, that game remained the only win by the country in World Championship action.
“To come and compete at this level requires great effort from a lot of people, from the coaching staff all the way through the team,” Aslimoski said. “To get the guys together and perform is actually a good feeling. It requires a lot of effort on both sides. To come back from ’99, I’m actually ecstatic to win a game here in the tournament.”
CLICK HERE: Final Box Score: Australia 47, South Korea 6
CLICK HERE: To see a photo gallery from the game
CLICK HERE: To see all of the photos from the game
The win was full of highlights as the Australians filled the stat sheet every way possible with a dominant performance.
Quarterback and team MVP Jared Stegman (photo above) was fantastic behind center and showed the ability to both pass – he was 11-of-16 for 133 yards and four touchdowns – as well as run after a 10-carry, 50-yard day.
Australian running back Conor Foley finished with 132 yards on 11 carries and added a touchdown, while receiver Daniel Strickland contributed three catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns.
The Australians dominated the offensive line, picking up 385 yards and averaged 7.0 yards per play.
“Every coach is proud of his team,” Australian coach John Leijten said. “Over the last week or so in preparation of this, the media has been asking me, ‘What was our biggest strength?’ In any sport, Australia’s biggest strength is Australians fight.
“We showed that today, too. Everybody gives everything they have. That’s how you play the game, but not every country is like that. In any sport, Australians are the ones who keep moving forward. That’s what I’m looking forward to when we get on the field.”
South Korea’s only points came on an interception return by linebacker and team MVP Bong Do Yeo. It was held to minus-21 yards rushing and Tae Hoon Kim was limited to 90 passing yards, completing 10 passes in 25 attempts.
Park Bo Sung was the only player with positive yards rushing for South Korea with 2.
Damien Molloy was at the heart of that Australian defense with six tackles, three of them coming for loss, while Ryan Ottens had five tackles.
“Their sheer size definitely helped their defense,” South Korea coach Seong Il Baek said. “Basically, it came down to their defense in terms of size and speed. They had great defense.”