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Army men three-peat All-Armed Forces softball title; Air Force wins women’s crown

Army’s men and Air Force’s women captured titles in this week’s All-Armed Forces softball tournaments at Fort Sill, Okla., while three Pacific-based servicemembers were named to the All-Armed Forces teams playing in this month’s Amateur Softball Association’s national championship tournament.

Schmaeka White of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and Leina Braxton of Camp Humphreys, South Korea, were selected to the All-Armed Forces women’s team, while Kenneth Turlington of Humphreys was named to the men’s All-Armed Forces squad. All three were named to their respective Armed Forces All-Tournament teams as well.

It’s the first time the Army’s men have won the championship three straight years. Army’s women were trying for a three-peat as well, but Air Force thwarted those plans.

Pacific high school football Week 5 Fearless Forecast

Friday

South Korea

Humphreys at Osan, 7 p.m. – One of several must-win games for teams in all divisions. Blackhawks had their way last time, on their turf; let’s see if Cougars Field can make a difference. … Blackhawks 14, Cougars 7.

Japan

How fast can Galvin go?

In the 40-some years of the Kanto Plain league's existence, only three runners had navigated the 2.9-mile Tama Hills Recreation Center cross-country course in less than 15 minutes. Until Saturday, when two runners broke the barrier.

Running separate heats, Yokota's Daniel Galvin was timed in 14 minutes, 59.2 seconds, while American School in Japan's Evan Yukevich posted a 14:57.8.

Pacific high school football week 4 Fearless Forecast

Friday

Interdistrict

American School In Japan at Kadena, 6 p.m. – The Mustangs venture off mainland to play a DODDS team on Okinawa for the first time. Just a shame it couldn’t have happened a year or two ago, when this game could have been a bit closer. … Panthers 21, Mustangs 10.

South Korea

Things learned, observed in Pacific high school fall sports Week 3.0

Go, go, Sego! He carried the ball an economical 16 times, but oh, the results for Kadena senior running back Justin Sego in the Panthers’ 41-13 romp Friday at Yokota: 275 yards and three touchdowns. Just one carry for a loss, of minus-2 yards to open the second half. And 11 carries for double-figure yards. A 70-yard TD run on the game’s third play, bookended by his fourth-quarter scoring runs of 11 and 8 yards.

It wasn’t just Sego, however. Kadena can expect significant contributions from a pair of backfield speedsters who chipped in with a combined three touchdowns and 98 yards, Kortez Hixon and Barry Mitchell, whom some might remember last spring as one of the better track sprinters.

The Kadena line is big, rich in depth and athletic at defensive end. That was an area of concern for coach Sergio Mendoza entering the season, what to do about graduated linebackers Gage Bongo and D.J. Padilla and edge pass rusher Preston Harris. Questions answered by Boysie Gordon and John McBain, who pressured Yokota quarterback Marcus Henagan all evening and recorded one sack each.

Mendoza says the team is on a mission this year, relentless, eyes on the Far East Division I prize that they came so agonizingly close to and just so far out of reach a year ago. If Friday’s game was any indicator, the Panthers will make a deep run at a berth the Nov. 8 title game.
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Does Yokota have what it takes to book a date for a rematch on Nov. 8?

It’s not so much does Yokota have the size to match up with the other four D-I schools; while the Panthers average 218 pounds from tackle to tackle, they’re not what they were two years ago when they won the second of their back-to-back D-I titles. The skills positions players are young for the most part and not in the same bill as the Killer B’s of 2012. Henagan has shown remarkable ability to make things happen with his feet. Shota Sprunger shows promise at tailback. But the line … with the Panthers outsized by an average 25 pounds by the other four D-I teams, the road to success is definitely under construction.

The murderous early-season schedule doesn’t help. Three D-I teams right off the bat, followed by American School In Japan, then the other D-I team, followed by two of Japan’s Division II teams. No doubt, coach Tim Pujol would rather have played the latter two first to help tune up for the D-I games, sort of the same way college powers tune up with games against FCS teams.
***
-- Red Devil of a pullaway: Zama American is one school with a rising enrollment, and could end up playing up at the large-school level in the next year or so. Their performance defensively in the early part of Friday’s 30-0 loss to Nile C. Kinnick probably doesn’t indicate how close the game was through the better part of three quarters.

The Red Devils, behind Dre Paylor’s 265 yards and three TDs on 22 carries, pulled away in the end. And defensively, Kinnick more than did the job, first recording a shutout, then holding Zama to eight net yards of offense. Far better than the Red Devil team that scored 308 points but allowed 306, each Pacific highs, a season ago.

Leading that defensive charge was Bryce Cherrstron. Among his eight tackles were four of the Red Devils’ nine quarterback sacks. Offensively, while it may appear as if Kyle O’Brien has won the starting quarterback job, expect coach Dan Joley to use all three of his QBs and throw a few different looks at opponents, the next one being Kubasaki on Saturay.
***
-- Eagles spikers soaring early: Try as she might, Sarah Richardson has come up short in her quest for Far East D-II Tournament glory in a variety of sports. A total of four runner-up finishes in her 24 years at Robert D. Edgren, three in basketball alone, the other in softball.

Following the Eagles’ weekend volleyball sweep of Yokota, Kalean Middleton, Naomi Montanez and Edgren have at least asserted themselves as early favorites to capture the school’s first D-II title in that sport. That tournament is Nov. 3-6 at Camp Zama, Japan. Edgren girls soccer won Far East D-II last May. Titles in back-to-back seasons could be possible. Stay tuned.

Athletes with Pacific ties faring well in other levels

News and notes from around and/or about the Pacific:

-- Three Pacific Air Forces airmen, Amber Devlin of Osan Air Base in Korea and Schmeka White and Joyce Wells of Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base, have been named to the All-Air Force women’s softball team, playing later this month in the All-Armed Forces tournament at Fort Sill, Okla. That according to a notice posted at Air Force Softball’s page on Facebook.

Pacific high school football Week 3 Fearless Forecast

Friday

Interdistrict

Kadena at Yokota, 6 p.m. – Visitors begin their final season with four-year running-back starter Justin Sego; hosts go about the business of replacing departed backs J.J. Henderson, Nick Pedersen. … Kadena 24, Yokota 18.

South Korea

Ex-Kadena Panthers making it at the next level

A handful of former Kadena cross country runners and a basketball player are starting to do big things at the next level.

Tom McKinney, the school’s longtime cross country coach, shared a few exploits from some runners from his 2013 Far East Division I champion team.

Pacific high school football Fearless Forecast, Week 2

Friday

South Korea

Daegu at Osan, 7 p.m. – A battle of squads thin in numbers; Warriors are the defending Far East Division II champions until somebody knocks them off, Cougars will do what they can to get going. … Warriors 17, Cougars 10.
Seoul American at Humphreys, 6 p.m. – Arguably the biggest team sizewise that Falcons coach Jim Davis has ever had, going up against a Blackhawks team that like Osan is a varsity startup. … Falcons 21, Blackhawks 7.

Guam

 
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Ornauer on AFN

 

Stars and Stripes reporter Dave Ornauer talks about the Pacific sports scene on AFN Radio. (Click on right arrow to play file.)

 

Sept. 12: Dave Ornauer highlights Nile C. Kinnick's win over Zama, 30-0, during high school football last week, discusses other games throughout the Pacific.

Aug. 29: High school football is back and Dave talks about the prospects of DODDS teams in Japan.

May 30: Recapping ASIJ's and Zama's Far East baseball championships that capped the Pacific high school sports school year.