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Things learned, observed in Pacific high school football Week 1.0

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer grumbles about how covering high school football is far more fun than storm chasing:

-- The first game of the new Pacific everybody-plays-everybody football format fell victim to weather, as Typhoon Bolaven forced DODDS officials to scratch the game. Not so much because the game would not have been played due to bad weather, but that Osan American, which was scheduled to play Kadena at 2 p.m. Saturday, would not have been able to fly home on Sunday (all flights out of Naha were canceled) and be back to Osan Air Base in time for the first day of school on Monday.

-- No chance that the game will be rescheduled. Neither team has byes that match up the rest of the season.

-- For the players on both sides, it’s a shame really. Had the entire first weekend schedule played out the way it should have, eight of nine DODDS teams would have played. Now, Osan will have no games heading into their clash Sept. 8 at Robert D. Edgren, which will have two games under its belt, and Kadena will come into its game Saturday vs. Seoul American cold, while the Falcons will have had one game.

-- Some argued a school of 300 (Osan) shouldn’t play a school of 1,000 (Kadena). A fair argument, considering all the divisions in which teams are placed in the States and also in DODDS-Europe. But here’s another argument: To be the man, you have to beat the man. To go up against a Kadena team that has three Division I titles under its belt is the perfect yardstick to see where you measure up and what you have to do to improve before the chase for Division II title-game berths begins.

-- No doubt, that was clearly on the minds of Edgren’s coaches and players, who took a bit of a pasting, 44-19 against a Yokota team whose vaunted “Ground Machine” rushing attack clearly hasn’t lost a step since winning the D-I title last November.

-- With Morgan Breazell leading the way, the Panthers racked up 439 yards on 31 attempts with seven touchdowns. Breazell had 184 yards on 17 carries, Raymond Butler 138 on eight attempts and Stanley Speed 117 on six carries – the first time in this backfield’s four years together that three running backs went over 100 yards in the same game. Simply put, another day at the office for Yokota.

-- Just imagine how good Khalil Williams would be now if he had played football prior to his senior year.

-- The Edgren speedster, renowned for his basketball ability, showed he was pretty fair on the gridiron as well. He ran back a kickoff 84 yards for the Eagles’ first touchdown, then caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Tristan Jefferson.

-- No question, winning that Far East D-II baseball tournament title last May did wonders for the confidence of Jefferson and many of his teammates.

-- Those 19 points the Eagles scored? The most they’ve put up against Yokota since that landmark 20-18 triumph over Yokota at Eagles Field on Oct. 24, 2008.

-- The last game to be played at Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Reid Memorial Stadium proved to be a red-letter victory for a Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils team, 5-13 the past two seasons but which started strong, coming from behind to beat Zama American 20-6.

-- Was I wrong about Kinnick’s defense! It got torched pretty good six days before in a preseason victory over a pair of Japanese teams. This time, the Red Devils permitted about 150 yards of total offense from Zama. Newcomer Marcus Boatwright and holdover Dakota Rogers combined for 24 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 tackles for losses. Kyle O’Brien’s 35-yard interception return led to Kinnick’s final touchdown.

-- Dustin Wilson continues to look solid under center for Kinnick, throwing 39 yards to Quinton Holden for a touchdown and running a sneak for another score.

-- It’s probably a different game with the injured Mitchell Harrison back in the lineup, which won’t happen until late September. Holdover Andre Encarnacion got his: 97 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. And David Coleman got off to an economical if not good start as the team’s new quarterback, going 4-for-6 for 38 yards. Put Harrison back in the lineup and we have the complete package.

-- Reid Memorial is getting ready to tear up the grass and put in field turf, which command says will be ready by spring and the high school soccer season.

-- So, Guam High’s football team was worried about replacing their transferred passing combination, quarterback Sean Sweet and receiver Matt Eaton?

-- Lordan Aguon and Marcus Domingo aren’t nearly as tall as their departed predecessors. But they played like giants in Saturday’s 40-0 shellacking of John F. Kennedy.

-- Try 17-for-21 for 205 yards and four touchdowns by Aguon, who last year was used as a speed-option runner-passer by the Panthers. Now, he’s more of a drop-back passer, who hooked up Domingo for nine catches and 105 yards, including two touchdowns.

-- Welcome to the spotlight, Juwan Jacobs! The younger brother of former Panthers star Devon Jacobs had his coming out with a pick-six of 47 yards.

-- Plenty of folks saw double-duty and sparkled. Damian Dimmick rushed for a touchdown and recorded five tackles. Brandon Saville rushed six times for 45 yards and had eight tackles. Tegan Brown added 10 tackles, Cody Burpo seven and Chance Horvath six as the Panthers held the Islanders to 32 yards.

-- You don’t find as game an opponent as you find in Daegu High, which has lost three straight games to Seoul American, the most recent a 13-12 comeback on Saturday.

-- Beneath the defeats, however, is an eye-opening statistic. In their last five games with Division I opponents since the start of the 2011 season, the Warriors have lost by an average margin of eight points. In their last three with Seoul American, that margin is 6.3 And last Sept. 17 on Okinawa, Daegu led three-time Far East Division I champion Kadena 8-2 after three quarters before losing 10-8.

-- What’s that you said about schools of 180 playing schools of 1,000 and facing right up to them?

-- “That’s a testimony to how good a program [Daegu coach] Ken [Walter] has built with the numbers he has and how competitive they have been over the years,” coach Jim Davis of the Falcons said.

-- It was a matchup of mentor vs. pupil and mentor won, as Davis, who was in his Falcons coaching debut, edged his former assistant at Bamberg, Germany, Luke Spencer, who is a longtime assistant under Walter.

-- Remember the name Tomiwa Akinbayo of Falcons football, basketball and soccer fame? Yep, that was his little brother, Olu, picking off two Warriors passes. Darius Benton intercepted two others.

-- Ronald Dogan. Learn it well. Two touchdowns’ worth. Enough to give the Falcons the W.

-- Plenty of promise for the green-and-white, despite losing their two top stars over the last couple of years, Jarel “Tank” Connie and Darius Wyche.

-- Plenty of weapons. Caleb Page (8-for-15, 145 yards, TD) at quarterback. Ronald McLean (15 carries, 87 yards) in the backfield. And Caleb Gosserand (touchdown pass in relief of Page, 87 yards on seven catches). That’s just the start. Kubasaki will have its hands full next week.

-- Across the board, a great deal of turnovers and penalties, which is par for the course this early in the season. We’ll see how much of it is officiating and how much of it is fundamentals as the season moves along.
 

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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.)

 

Oct. 17: The Nile C. Kinnick football team can ensure its fans have good seats for the Far East Division I final with a win over Kadena on Saturday.

Oct. 3: Dave Ornauer talks about the weekend's key football matchups, including Matthew C. Perry at American School In Japan.

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.