Things learned, observed in Pacific high school football Week 7.0
Published: October 3, 2010
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer smacks his forehead, reading his Kubasaki-Kadena pick, going, "What were you thinking?"
-- It started out to be the close, back-and-forth shootout we'd all been waiting for for five years. It turned out to be the same ol' story. Three running backs (Shariff Coleman, 178 yards, 1 touchdown, 26 carries), Thomas McDonald (119, 4, 15) and Lotty Smith (108, 1, 9) breached the 100-yard mark as Kadena scored 41 unanswered points and wrecked yet another Kubasaki homecoming 56-16 on Friday at Mike Petty Stadium.
-- Did anybody see that coming?
-- Didn't think so, not the way Kubasaki was playing football the last three weeks. Well enough that I gave them a fighting chance to win on their home turf, by one point.
-- Won't make that mistake this week. Trust.
-- Make that 13 straight wins for the Panthers over the Dragons and counting, dating back to the 2006 season.
-- Defensively, Kadena's performance was deceiving; the Panthers allowed 205 yards on 41 plays, the most vs. Kubasaki since the 2009 season opener. But keep in mind, 116 of those yards -- and both Dragons touchdowns -- came in the first quarter, touchdown runs by Deon Lewis (56) and Cristian Rivera (7). It was shutdown city from there.
-- Kadena answered with its typical big-play attack, T-Mac's 33-yard run and Coleman's 80-yarder. T-Mac replied to Rivera's touchdown with a 10-yard burst and the rout was on.
-- On the ground, the Panthers piled up a season-high 443 yards on 54 carries. Coupled with Smith's economic 2-for-2 for 64 yards and two touchdowns, each to Aaron Ahner, that's 507 yards total offense. Add 92 yards on two returns, Kadena one yard shy of 600 total.
-- Not since November 1993, when Robert Eaves (236) and Josh Brandt (232) accomplished that trick in a 35-12 inter-area romp over Yokota, has one team had two backs go over 200 yards in a game. Coleman and T-Mac could do it at some point this season.
-- All that said, Rivera-to-Brandon Crawford is still a pass combination to concern Kadena, as if the overall play of Lewis (175 all-purpose yards). I'm not calling a shutout for the Panthers in Kadena's homecoming game Friday.
-- TWO straight weeks we've had collar brass present at Mike Petty! This week, Brig. Gen. Mark. A. Brikalis, deputy commanding general of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, presided over pre-game coin-toss ceremonies, and even doled out unit coins to the four Kadena and four Kubasaki team captains -- quite the nice gesture, quite the keepsake and quite the reminder of an era gone by, when collar brass of all sorts used to come out and support their teams. This a week after Maj. Gen. Jim Laster, 3rd Marine Division commanding general, tossed the pre-game coin before Kubasaki's 43-18 win over Daegu American.
-- An open message to Brig. Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach, Kadena Air Base's 18th Wing commanding officer: Please reciprocate! Please have somebody on hand at Ryukyu Middle School on Friday evening for Kadena's homecoming game. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Be it yourself, wing vice commander Col. Ricky N. Rupp or command Chief Master Sgt. James E. Davis, let's see Kadena command representation at this game. :)
-- Is it any coinkadink that teams with Panthers as their mascot (Yokota, Kadena, Guam HIgh) have gone a combined 16-0 and outscored their opponents 603-121?
-- It ain't on the zodiac, but they could easily call this the "Year of the Panther."
-- Josh Chamberlain stepped out of the shadows of Morgan Breazell and Devin Day, scoring twice, including a game-changing 10-yard run following A.J. Eldridge's forced fumble late in the first half as Yokota held off a tenacious Zama American team 34-22 at Trojans Field.
-- That put the Panthers (5-0) a home win vs. Nile C. Kinnick away from sealing their 11th DODDS Japan and Kanto Plain titles in Tim Pujol's 12 seasons as coach.
-- Day and Breazell each had good days, too, scoring one touchdown each and combining for 211 yards on 25 carries; Breazell also caught two passes for 44 yards from Myles Andrews.
-- Michael Spencer had a typically good game, 155 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, and the Trojans put points on the board unlike their 17-0 loss at Yokota last month; just not enough.
-- Zama could just as easily be 5-0 as 3-2. Trust. I'm sure Pujol would agree.
-- The third group of Panthers, Guam High, finally achieved what they'd vied for for the 13 seasons they've been playing football -- capturing the Interscholastic Football League's regular-season title. They'd come in second three previous times, and have finished third three times in the IFL playoffs, but this is what one would call a breakthrough.
-- Workhorse David John Cruz (152 yards, 25-yard touchdown run, 8 carries) and the Panthers blanked John F. Kennedy 28-0 in Saturday's season finale. Tegen Brown, Paul Floyd and Devon Jacobs each also scored running touchdowns, all in the first half, as the Panthers were able to get another gaze at their future, second-line players with the second half played with a running clock.
-- With the win, Guam High improved to a school-best 6-0, and earned the coveted first-round bye into the island playoffs which start Friday. The Panthers will face the winner of Friday's Father Duenas Memorial-JFK game at 3 p.m. Oct. 16 at Panthers Field.
-- Second-place George Washington (5-1), a 32-0 loser to Guam High on Sept. 4, entertains last-place and winless Okkodo in Saturday's quarterfinals; Simon Sanchez (3-3) will be home team against sixth-place Southern (1-5) in the other. The championship and third-place games are scheduled for Oct. 22 and 23.
-- Mention Kinnick and a 42-0 home drubbing by Yokota on Sept. 10 comes to mind. This may be a different Red Devils team that the Panthers entertain come Friday, thanks to the play of rising junior Dustin Kimberll. He was a one-man wrecking crew Friday at Robert D. Edgren, running for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries with two interceptions, including the pick-six that won the game with five minutes left. The Red Devils won 27-20, coming back from a 7-point deficit, for their second straight win after losing their first three games of the season.
-- Can you say, "Kinnick's program is turning the corner?"
-- "I like what's going on," coach Dan Joley said. "I likie the fact that we're becoming a team, a family."
-- True dat.
-- Thomas Hollingshead had a hand in things, too, racking up 3 1/2 sacks among his 11 tackles.
-- One might also say a high school version of the "Hand of God" came into play as well in the second half. Kinnick punted, the Eagles' James Ervin returned it and had the ball stripped out of his hands. The ball appeared to go out of bounds -- Edgren's players and coaches vehemently argued that point -- but the officials said a Kinnick player kept the ball inbounds with the slap of a hand. David Sledge recovered the ball, and Jarae Ward got Kinnick within 20-19 with an 8-yard run, setting the stage for Kimberll's pick-six.
-- After having an oh, so ungood time playing against its Okinawa brethren, being outscored 65-24 in losses to Kadena and at Kubasaki, returning to its home turf of Kelly Field suited Daegu American just fine, as the Warriors beat Seoul American 40-14.
-- It was the school's first back-to-back season series sweeps of the Falcons, and Daegu also crept within one win on Oct. 15 over Osan American away from seizing a school-first second straight DODDS Korea title.
-- It would only be the fourth time such a thing happened, a Korea senior football title coming south of the Han River in Seoul. Daegu's Warriors won the youth activities senior title in 1993 and Osan's Cougars shared it in 1996.
-- Did Watson Wallace have a monster game on defense for Daegu or what? One interception. A 45-yard fumble-return touchdown. Combining with Jarel "Tank" Connie for a safety. Connie also ran for a touchdown, as did Jacobi Myles, and Tre Griffin accounted for three touchdowns offensively. Christian Dawes caught one of two Griffin TD passes; Myles snagged the other.