Something that your typical five-point scoreboard summary doesn't show ... a report in from Seoul Foreign's athletics director, Jim Milliken, about a riveting tennis match Wednesday on the clay courts of Seoul International School in Seongnam between freshmen girls from SIS and SFS. SFS' Jae-hyun Kim edged Leshia Gedacz of SIS 9-8 (8-6) in a match that took more than an hour and a half:
The Sept 29 No. 1 girls match between undefeateds Leshia Gedacz of Seoul International and Jaehyun Kim of Seoul Foreign, both freshmen, was one of the best I've seen in 18 years of Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference meets.
Leshia's power and placement was pitted against Jaehyun's "backboard" consistency, and fitness. But what so impressed me was the ability of both of these young players to adjust their strategies no less than four times through the course of the match to counter their opponent's successes. At 90 minutes, 8-8 and 6-6 in the tie-break it doesn't get any closer.
The rematch at the KAIAC tournament promises to be no less impressive, but we may have 3 more years of this match-up! I can hardly wait!
They're about pomp and pageantry, homecoming weeks are. Parades, floats, pep rallies, being named to the homecoming court, perhaps the king himself, and all of that topped off by the homecoming dance. But for football teams, homecoming week can also be about losing players to practice due to class responsibilities, and coaches having to draw up game plans without their key players. Click here to read about spirit week and its various joys and dilemmas.
She was considered the "other" Erika last season, an afterthought, the perpetual No. 2 singles seed living in the shadow of the more renowned freshman Erika Youngdahl. Now, with Youngdahl transferred to Kadena, Erika Ettl has become "the" Erika for the Yokota Panthers tennis team, is unbeaten at 8-0 so far and showing signs of making a big name for herself. Click here to read her story.
The Top Ten The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' 2010 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 25, points and last week’s rating, as compiled by Dave Ornauer of Stars and Stripes sports. Ratings are based on teams' win-loss records, quality of wins, strength of roster, schedule and leagues, point differential and team and individual statistics. Maximum rating is 500 points:
Record Pts Pvs
1. Kadena, Okinawa 4-0 452 1 2. Yokota, Japan 4-0 440 2 3. Guam High 5-0 436 3 4. George Washington, Guam 5-1 428 4 5. Kubasaki, Okinawa 3-0 420 6 6. Zama American, Japan 3-2 404 9 7. Daegu American, South Korea 2-2 400 5 8. Father Duenas Memorial, Guam 3-2 396 10 9. American School In Japan 2-2 384 7 10. John F. Kennedy, Guam 3-2 376 8
Robert D. Edgren—Joel Balmforth 1 touchdown run, 1 sack. Xavier Major 8 tackles.
Week 7 outlook
Kadena at Kubasaki, 7 p.m.—With the Panthers still nursing injuries, may be Dragons’ best chance to snap 12-game regular-season winless streak against Kadena. ... Dragons 23, Panthers 22.
Yokota vs. Zama American at Reid Memorial Stadium, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, 7 p.m.—It was a 33-6 Trojans victory this very same weekend a year ago that signaled the Panthers’ tumble from DODDS Japan and Kanto Plain title heights. Not this time. ... Panthers 18, Trojans 11.
Nile C. Kinnick at Robert D. Edgren, 7 p.m.—Fresh off their first win of the season, Red Devils bring added confidence to renewal of the Toku Horse series. ... Red Devils 19, Eagles 8.
Seoul American vs. Daegu American at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 6 p.m.—The firsts could continue to pile up for the Warriors, who might secure a school-first second straight regular-season sweep of the Falcons. ... Warriors 21, Falcons 9.
Father Duenas Memorial vs. Simon Sanchez at Okkodo High School, Dededo, 7 p.m.—Jockeying for playoff positioning all that matters at this point for these two. … Friars 15, Sharks 14.
Guam High vs. John F. Kennedy at Okkodo High School, Dededo, 3 p.m.—Devon Jacobs and the Panthers go for more unprecedented heights, a school-first unbeaten regular season. … Panthers 22, Islanders 12.
Southern at Okkodo, 7 p.m.—The quintessential “get-well game” for these two winless squads. … Dolphins 6, Bulldogs 2.
Bruce Carrick, a former Christian Academy Japan cross-country parent, a longtime Pacific high school cross-country observer and gatekeeper of information on the sport at www.athletic.net, offers his views on who the big names are midway through the 2010 campaign:
My observations on the season: a four-way race for the men's individual title: Michael Gaitan (George Washington), Jacob Bishop (Kadena), Trevor Maggart (American School In Japan) and Jared Johnson (Christian Academy Japan). Some 20 seconds back would be Kelly Langley (St . Mary’s International) trying to get back into the thick of it; and then another 30 seconds back to a knot of second tier runners from all theatres.
On the girls side, Naomi Blaz (GW) is out front, followed closely by Seisen International's Fumi Kurihara (who has nearly a minute lead on the Kanto girls) and Kadena's India Adams. The second tier pack seems about a minute back, led by Amanda Henderson and Siarra Ingram of Seoul American. Of course, those two will likely close up the gap leaving the rest behind, resulting in a likely five-way race for Pacific supremacy.
Team-wise, I see a very tight race between Kadena boys and, CAJ, ASIJ & St. Mary's, with GW some distance back. Kadena has a strong front two, but their 3rd, 4th and 5th will be swept by the three Kanto schools.
Kadena girls are in a footrace with GW, Seisen and ASIJ hoping to challenge. (This year's Seisen and ASIJ girls teams are not nearly as tough as the ASIJ/CAJ girls teams of 2007 and 2008).
Since Korean schools don't list their results on athletic.net, I have no feel for their team depth in either gender.
Sadly, we will not see an ultimate show-down this season, since Kadena/Seoul American won't go to Asia Pacific in Guam, and ASIJ is not planning to be available even if invited to be among the 4 outsiders at Far East. Remains to be seen if GW will come if invited to Kanto Far East (I am expecting them to come).
Guam High will play the Okinawa Activities Council's football champion on Oct. 30, instead of the loser of the Oct. 16 play-in game pitting Japan's Division I # 2 at Okinawa's Division I # 2. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at the OAC champion's site.
It turns out, DODDS officials said, no teams from Japan -- nor Korea, for that matter -- are available to play Guam High that weekend; that was determined at the first Pacific high school athletics directors meeting two weeks ago at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
That left the two Okinawa teams, which are idle that weekend, said DODDS Pacific's Far East athletics coordinator Don Hobbs.
There's every chance we'll be seeing one of ours playing in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, a high school football game showcasing 80 of the top high school football players from sea to shining sea, and in this case beyond. According to the Web site belonging to Joint Region Edge, a weekly joint-service publication, Guam High senior Devon Jacobs has been selected to play in the prestigious bowl game, held the last five years, most recently in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Coach Billy Henry of Guam High confirmed Jacobs' selection; still waiting for Jacobs' name to be added to the West roster. Details forthcoming. Keep it here.
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer hurtles headlong into the first of two big homecoming weeks on Okinawa:
At last, Nile C. Kinnick has a victory to show for its efforts. After turning over the ball five times in a 42-0 loss the previous week to Yokota – in good weather – the Red Devils took excellent care of the football in heavy second-half rain and game-long 40-mph winds in a 14-0 shutout Friday of American School In Japan, a team that blanked Kinnick 12-0 in their first meeting three weeks earlier.
Nice breakout game for Kinnick’s Dustin Kimberll (116 yards, first-quarter touchdown, 27 carries). Josh Allen (21 yards, 7 carries) had the other score in the fourth quarter, and Richard Villareal carried for 83 yards on eight attempts.
But the story of the night was the wind, which aided a punt from Kinnick’s 25 that settled all the way at the ASIJ 1-yard line. The Mustangs went three and out, then Thomas Hollingshead tipped an ASIJ punt and kept it at the 2. From there, Kimberll bulled into the end zone. That, and a stingy defense, kept the Mustangs out of the end zone.
Reminds me of the 1987 post-typhoon battle between ASIJ and Kinnick at the old Berkey Field, where the George I. Purdy Fitness and Sports Center stands now. With the game scoreless in the third quarter, ASIJ backed up to its 1-yard line on fourth down facing gusting winds, coach John Crosser called for punter Brian Fritzee to let the ball sail over his head and out of the end zone. Kinnick led 2-0 … and that was the final score. "Well, at least we didn’t run the score up," joked Kinnick coach Al Jones. Crosser? It took me waiting four days for him to calm down to where he’d finally talk about the game.
A note of sympathy for the family of Hayden Jardine, ASIJ’s sophomore quarterback who didn’t play because he was in the States attending his grandmother’s funeral.
It’s just one win, but folks in Red Devil Nation can probably sense that was the game that helped the program turn the corner. This is going to be a good team perhaps as early as next year and for many years to come with Dan Joley at the helm and former head man Robert Stovall as his defensive lieutenant. I can see it now … the Football Fanatics back in place, those luscious pre-game meals, and the Red Devils players saying "Yes" every week when the two questions are asked postgame: "Are you proud of the way you played?" and "Did you play with passion?"
In another wind-blown, rainy affair up the road at Camp Zama, Trojans senior RB Michael Spencer rediscovered the end zone – twice – and ran for 95 yards on 10 carries as Zama American sewed up its second consecutive berth in the Far East Division II championship game, routing Robert D. Edgren 38-8.
The Trojans spread the touchdown wealth, as D.J. Ward ran back a punt 85 yards for a touchdown and Nick McDaniel and Matt Cole each ran for scores. It would have been more, but Jonathan Neyland’s interception-return touchdown was called back on a penalty.
The victory marked the return of an offense that showed its greatest vulernability – youth and inexperience – the previous two weeks, in 17-0 and 24-14 losses to Yokota and Kadena. Good performance, 205 yards on 28 carries, but will it be enough to carry Zama in its homecoming rematch Friday at home to Yokota?
Edgren also had its share of scoring called back, a 64-yard Sean Gammel touchdown nullified by an illegal formation penalty. Tackling, as well as the health of starting quarterback Zach Davis, remain issues for the Eagles, who entertain Kinnick on Friday.
Speaking of health, Kadena senior running back Shariff Coleman returned after sitting the Zama game due to being ejected at Daegu on Sept. 11, and immediately made up for lost time, 87 yards and a touchdown on just six carries and a 52-yard interception-return touchdown – but he finished that play by limping into the end zone, his right hamstring cramping up and he sat the second half.
Still, it was another victory for Kadena over a DODDS Korea team, this one 46-8 over Osan American, with the Panthers sweeping their three games with Korea teams by a combined 125-14.
And the Panthers had all their other weapons on display. Thomas McDonald had 109 yards and a touchdown on just five carries, and Rodney Goodson and Tyrell Crutcher each ran for touchdowns. Kadena rang up 273 rushing yards on 22 carries; the second half was played with a running clock.
Still, this is not as bad an Osan team as the score would indicate. The Cougars did mount some good drives, but kept hurting themselves with false start/offside penalties, five of them that squelched all scoring opportunities but one, when quarterback Brian Morton sneaked into the end zone for Osan’s only touchdown.
Memo to Osan coach Aaron Mundy and all coaches who might face Kadena later this season: Rule 1) Never give Kadena a short field. 2) When in doubt, refer to Rule 1. Osan gave Kadena excellent field position with two botched punts and one interception; the Panthers took advantage each time.
Coach Billy Henry has plenty of reason to smile down at Agana Heights, now that his Guam High Panthers have seized at least a share of the school’s first Interscholastic Football League title. The Panthers blanked Southern 45-0 to improve to 5-0; a win Saturday vs. John F. Kennedy at Okkodo High School will seal the deal and also give Guam High wins over JFK, George Washington, Father Duenas Memorial and Simon Sanchez, who’ve won every IFL title since 1980, in the same season for the first time.
Henry also was gratified as the number of players who’ve scored touchdowns for the Panthers this season grew to 12 this season, with Ricardo Guerrero, Darren Perez and Damian Dimmick each running for touchdowns. Henry gave many of his backups a shot at playing after Guam High raced ahead 28-0, and says he liked what he saw, particularly Austin Barnett, who ran back an interception 30 yards for a touchdown. A.J. Aguon auditioned at quarterback as well. "He’s my future," Henry said.
How gratifying it was to see Maj. Gen. Jim Laster, commanding officer of the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa (which has Leathernecks assigned virtually worldwide at the moment), be on hand Friday to preside over the coin toss prior to the Kubasaki-Daegu American game. Time was when collar brass of all sorts being at high school – and military – sporting events was considered routine; now, it’s practically non-existent. The good general hopefully has set a trend here on island, the same way you see folks such as U.S. Army Japan/I Corps commanding officer Maj. Gen. Frank Wiercinski at Zama American home games frequently.
That Kubasaki-Daegu game, won by the Dragons 43-18, had to be one of the strangest in a very long time on island. Talk about the Dragons giving the Warriors a lights-out display … literally and figuratively. There had been a day-long power outage on Camp Foster; the lights were supposed to come back on at 6 p.m., but that was delayed uncomfortably close to gametime. Then at 7:33 p.m., the lights went out again, making Mike Petty Stadium darker than the inside of a pocket (at least until everybody’s eyes adjusted). 28 minutes later, the lights came back on and four minutes later, play resumed.
Like Kadena, Kubasaki also swept its season series from Korea, outscoring its foes 121-24, with the most points given up against Daegu.
It was most certainly a penalty-filled contest; the two sides combined for 12 holding or block-in-the-back penalties, and 158 total yards on 15 penalties.
It was also a passing duel the likes we’ve not seen in Pacific high school ball in a very long time. Kubasaki’s Cristian Rivera (9-for-15, 208 yards, 3 touchdowns, all to Brandon Crawford) outdueled Daegu’s Tre Griffin (11-for-23, 182 yards, 2 touchdowns).
But it also remained a very close game, Kubasaki leading by just 19-12 with 8:13 left in the third quarter before Rivera and Crawford (4 catches, 113 yards, 3 touchdowns; 1 interception) went to work.
It didn’t show on the scoreboard, but the Warriors remain a very, very dangerous team with several potent weapons. Besides Griffin, Darius Wyche (116 all-purpose yards, 49-yard touchdown run), Caleb Gosserand (66-yard touchdown catch) and Jarel "Tank" Connie (12 tackles, 1 sack) can really make life miserable for opponents. They ran some seriously tricky pass patterns, Wyche’s TD came on a nifty quarterback draw play and Daegu was able to run traps to the left side of the line that Kubasaki had fits trying to stop.
And the weatherman deserves a real tip of the hat, for both the Kadena-Osan and Kubasaki-Daegu games were played in what veteran Dragons track coach Charles Burns would call "Chamber of Commerce weather, the kind they put on the billboards, picture postcards and travel brochures to entice tourists to come visit the place."
Off the gridiron, congratulations to Yokota’s cross-country teams, which cleaned up in their weekend meet at Iwakuni, and to the Panthers’ volleyball teams for their sweep of the host Samurai. Nile C. Kinnick’s girls volleyball team rebounded after its first regular-season loss since 2008 with a weekend sweep at E.J. King; the Devils’ cross-country team also found success against the Cobras at Sasebo City’s Isanoura Park. And Zama American’s girls volleyball team keeps solidifying behind hitters Yuri Fisher and Alysa Prather in a weekend sweep at Robert D. Edgren.
Listeners to Wave 89.1 FM on Okinawa: Starting this week, tune in at 45 past the hour in the afternoons on Mondays and Fridays for my two-minute sports review and preview segments. We’ll cover high school and interservice doings on the island. As always, Eagle 810 listeners in Tokyo can catch our 4:30 p.m. Thursday segments each week.
Kadena 46, Osan American 8. Shariff Coleman scores three touchdowns, three others score one each; Coleman departs at halftime with hamstring cramp. Guam High 45, Southern 0. Panthers clinch at least a share of first Interscholastic Football League title.
A hearty congratulations to the All-Air Force men's softball team, which won its second straight All-Armed Forces title by beating Army 19-10 and improving to 7-1, gaining a two-game edge over the soldiers (5-3) with one day of play left. That Air Force beat Army three times in the tournament at Barrancas Fields at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., made Air Force's lead insurmountable. Navy and Marine Corps were each 2-6. On the women's side, Army finished unbeaten at 8-0, while Air Force (3-5) clinched the silver by downing Navy 12-1. Click here for full scores list.
Seems as if Schrocking the collegeiate soccer world isn't confined to the male side of the family. Helen Schrock, star keeper for Kadena in the mid-2000s, got her first start for Hawaii-Hilo and made the most of it, making three saves and pitching a 1-0 shutout at the Urban Knights at San Francisco on Wednesday. Click here for the full bug. :)
Sometimes, good things come out of bickering and backbiting, something prevalent as Guam High's football team trotted to the lockerroom leading perennial power George Washington 11-0. Coach Billy Henry locked his team in the field house and ordered them to hash out whatever it was that was bothering them, come out strong in the second half and "make history." "And they've not stopped since," Henry said of that 32-0 win over GW that sparked the Panthers' run to within two wins of a school-first Interscholastic Football League title. Click here to read their story.
Air Force's triple-title run atop the All-Armed Forces women's softball tournament standings has come to an end. Army topped Air Force 7-3 and edged Navy 3-2, while Navy also grounded the airmen 4-1 on Tuesday. That boosted the soldiers to 6-0, four games ahead of 2-4 Air Force with three days of play left at Barrancas Fields on Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Defending men's champion Air Force (5-2) led Army (4-2) by a half-game after Tuesday's play.
The Top Ten
The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' 2010 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 18, points and last week’s rating, as compiled by Dave Ornauer of Stars and Stripes sports. Ratings are based on teams' win-loss records, quality of wins, strength of roster, schedule and leagues, point differential and team and individual statistics. Maximum rating is 500 points: Record Pts Pvs
1. Kadena, Okinawa 3-0 448 1
2. Yokota, Japan 4-0 440 2
3. Guam High 4-0 432 3
4. George Washington, Guam 4-1 424 4
5. Daegu American, South Korea 2-1 416 5
6. Kubasaki, Okinawa 2-0 408 6
7. American School In Japan 2-1 396 8
8. John F. Kennedy, Guam 3-1 384 10
9. Zama American, Japan 2-2 380 7
10. Father Duenas Memorial, Guam 2-2 376 9
American School In Japan—Hayden Jardine 6-for-11, 241 yards, 2 touchdowns. Nathan Kwon 112 yards, 1 touchdown, 16 carries. Sam Hopkins 124 all-purpose yards, school-record 96-yard touchdown catch. Cody Hadden 1 touchdown catch, 1 interception-return touchdown.
Robert D. Edgren—Zach Davis 123 yards total offense, 1 touchdown (21 yards, 1 touchdown, 7 carries; 12-for-24, 102 yards).
Week 6 outlook
Robert D. Edgren at Zama American, 7 p.m.—Host Trojans can be the first to punch a Far East playoff ticket, but must shut down Zach Davis and the Eagles’ passing game to do so. ... Trojans 17, Eagles 11.
American School In Japan at Nile C. Kinnick—Mustangs looking for their first road win, should have similar success to what they did with the Red Devils two weeks ago. ... Mustangs 16, Red Devils 6.
John F. Kennedy at George Washington, 7 p.m.—Latest meeting of the Pacific’s oldest gridiron rivals an important one in terms of playoff seeding. ... Geckos 15, Islanders 14.
Osan American (South Korea) vs. Kadena at Ryukyu Middle School, Kadena Air Base, 10 a.m.—Rare early start won’t mean much difference, as veteran Panthers should make this a rough road trip for Cougars. ... Panthers 22, Cougars 8.
Daegu American (South Korea) at Kubasaki, 7 p.m.—Interarea matchup featuring teams with the most common opponents: Kubasaki has outscored Osan and Seoul American 78-6; Daegu has outscored Osan and Seoul 54-6. Go with the host Dragons. ... Dragons 18, Warriors 15.
Southern at Guam High, 3 p.m.—Panthers could clinch at least a share of the Interscholastic Football League’s regular-season title, hoping to avoid emotional letdown after last week’s overtime win, and avoid looking ahead to regular-season finale vs. John F. Kennedy. ... Panthers 19, Dolphins 7.
Okkodo vs. Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington High School, Mangilao, 7 p.m.—Friars take out frustration over OT loss last week to Guam High on the last-place Bulldogs. ... Friars 24, Bulldogs 8.
Being twice named Far East tournament Most Valuable Player and leading her Seoul American basketball and soccer teams to Division I titles can be a life-changing thing. Falcons senior Liz Gleaves talks about improving on her junior year, and the fame that came with it, in this week's Home Team page. Click here.
Army's men and women each won their opening games on Sunday to take the early edge in the All-Armed Forces softball tournaments at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. The men beat the Marine Corps 22-7 and Navy 10-6; the women soldiers won twice in shutout fashion, over Navy 14-0 and Air Force 5-0. Army's women stood alone atop the standings at 2-0, followed by 1-1 Air Force and 0-2 Navy; the Marines did not enter a team this year. On the men's side, Army shared the first day lead with Air Force at 2-0; the Navy and Marines were 0-2.
Mesa State had its season-opening four-match win streak snapped in a pair of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference defeats over the weekend, losing 5-1 Friday to Colorado Mines and 1-0 to Metro State on Saturday. But a former Kadena High School striker, freshman Stan Schrock, enjoyed a moment in the sun -- his first goal in the 78th minute of the Friday loss. Click here to get the scoop on Schrock's first collegiate goal.
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer in his Pacific Storm Tracker alter ego "Typhoon ORNY" eyeballs a developing system east of Guam:
The return of the big man: Yokota had been waiting for three weeks for sophomore lineman Jesse Hogan’s ailing left hamstring to heal. They got their wish on Friday, and the Panthers’ running game clearly benefitted from it in a 42-0 shutout of Nile C. Kinnick.
After being kept out of the end zone the week before against Zama American, Yokota’s Devin Day got reacquainted quickly, running for three first-half touchdowns before being used sparingly in the second half. He now has 12 rushing touchdowns for the season, homing in on the school and DODDS Japan record of 27 set by Yokota’s Darren Taylor in 2001.
Panthers quarterback-free safety Myles Andrews answered any questions there were about the health of his left knee, hurt on the last play of the Zama game. Not only did he throw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Herrera, he alertly picked up a misplayed Kinnick lateral and ran it 24 yards for a score.
Yokota forced five turnovers, which led to 27 points. What any good football team is supposed to do, take the inches the opponent gives it and turn it into miles.
Christmas present: Yokota’s Jesse Christmas enjoyed every lineman’s dream, intercepting a pass and ambling just 3 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. If he never scores another, on that night he can say he did.
With every passing week, that season-opening thrashing at Yokota is looking like a blip on the radar for American School In Japan, which won its second straight home game against Robert D. Edgren 35-7.
With his 6-for-11, 241-yard, 2-touchdown performance, Hayden Jardine is now 10-for-17 for 320 yards and three scores in his last two games. Nathan Kwon? 30 carries for 237 yards and a touchdown in his last two. Cody Hadden got it done on both sides of the ball, a 28-yard touchdown catch and a 40-yard pick-six.
Sam Hopkins set a school record with his 96-yard touchdown reception. I’d almost be willing to bet it was Ernest Walker’s record that Hopkins broke; I remember him making an 89-yard scoring catch in the 1989 season. Walker was a rugby player from Fiji who played receiver in coach John Crosser’s run-and-gun offense and also a placekicker. Wonder if anybody from Mustangs Nation can clue me in?
Edgren’s Eagles can force takeaways and they do have the passing attack. If they can do a better job of shutting down opponents defensively, especially at the edges and in the air, they’ll be on their way to bigger and better things.
Zach Davis is as potent a weapon as Edgren has had under center since Dean Graziadei quarterbacked from 1999-2001, 123 yards total offense with a touchdown run, and has thrown four touchdown passes to Xavier Major alone. Lewis Murphy and Mert Baysal each interception Jardine passes and Sayer Austin recovered two fumbles. The pieces are there; time for coach Michael Gros to make them jel.
I’d say it’s pretty much a done deal: Daegu American is now officially a football program for the first time in school history. In the past, the Warriors have had a good season here and there, but under fourth-year coach Ken Walter, Daegu is beginning to achieve consistency in the win column.
As solid as the Warriors were on offense, tallying 461 yards in a 42-6 win over Osan American, so, too, did the defense shine. Jarel "Tank" Connie = four sacks. Jacobi Myles = two interceptions. Danny Saintil = six tackles for losses.
These guys were also instrumental on the offensive side of the ball; Connie 96 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, Myles 119 yards and a TD on 13 attempts and Darius Wyche 104 yards and a touchdown on eight tries.
Nice to see Tre Griffin shrug off last week’s frustration against Kadena, going 7-for-10 for 77 yards, including touchdown passes to Saintil and Christian Dawes, who also had a pick.
Ensure that the Warriors can cut down on turnovers and costly penalties erasing touchdowns and you could have a sure-fire winner, perhaps for years to come.
But Walter and Daegu face a formidable foe this coming Saturday. You think coach Fred Bales doesn’t enjoy playing DODDS Korea teams? He’s never lost to one, going 4-0 since 2005, including that year’s Division I championship game, in which his Kubasaki Dragons beat Seoul American 38-8.
His Dragons’ latest triumph over a Korea team was the 31-6 pasting at Seoul American’s Sims Field. And Kubasaki did it on all sides of the ball, with Brandon Crawford catching five passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns and intercepting two Falcons passes. Cristian Rivera went 11-for-14 for 165 yards, A.J. Watson ran five times for 83 yards and Deon Lewis had 108 total yards; Watson and Lewis each ran for touchdowns.
Seoul American, which beat Kadena in the 2006 and 2008 Division I title games at home, saw its record against Okinawa teams fall to 2-3; Saturday’s defeat was the Falcons’ first at home against Okinawa.
Kadena’s 24-14 win Saturday at Zama American was a lot closer than the score indicated; it was 16-14 until 2:27 remained in a first-ever interarea battle of reigning Far East divisional playoff champions.
The defending Division I and visiting Panthers outgained the 2009 Division II champion Trojans 312-104, but coughed up two costly fumbles, one which Zama’s D.J. Ward ran in for a touchdown and the other which short-circuited a Panthers drive at the Zama 2. Kadena also committed four major penalties of the personal-foul variety, including a 15-yarder against Kadena’s Cory Peckins for a spectacular late tackle of his former Zama teammate Matt Cole to the ground late in the first half.
It must have been the wrestling coach in Kadena offensive coordinator Steve Schrock, when he remarked: "Cory just made a five-point throw." Peckins will wrestle for the Panthers this year, after having wrestled for Zama last year and Osan American the year before.
Spencer was held to a career low 32 yards on 14 carries and was kept out of the end zone for the second straight week. But he more than held his own defensively once more, racking up 18 tackles, 11 solo. "You ask yourself: What type of plays can you run to block Spencer," Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza said.
Thomas McDonald was feared lost for the game due to a leg injury, but was cleared to play and gained a game-high 156 yards on 18 carries, including a 45-yard second-quarter touchdown run in which no Zama player laid a finger on him. T-Mac more than proved his fitness.
I like some of the things Kadena also does with quarterback Lotty Smith, taking advantage of his speed on misdirection plays in which he shows a handoff to the left side, then whirls right and takes off past confused defenders. Tough to defend.
They’d beaten foes by an average margin of 30.3 points per game. But when the chips were down in a tight battle with Guam Interscholastic Football League power Father Duenas Memorial, Guam High more than acquitted itself, on both sides of the ball.
Tegen Brown ran 8 yards up the gut for the game-winning touchdown in overtime, breaking a 19-19 tie and leading the Panthers to a 25-19 victory. But just as important were Guam High’s clutch plays on defense – Thearits Eaton’s 12-yard sack and Benjamin Duff’s pass breakup on the final two plays of the Friars’ overtime session.
Call them the Heroes of the Week; they helped Guam High remain unbeaten at 4-0 and in first place, a half-game ahead of powerhouse George Washington, last year’s league champion.
The Panthers continue to make school history – never before in the program’s 13 years have they been in first place this late in the season. If Guam High can beat John F. Kennedy on Oct. 2 in the season finale, it would mark the first time the Panthers have beaten GW, JFK, FD and Simon Sanchez in the same season.
Paul Floyd wasn’t as spectacular as he was in last week’s 54-13 win over Okkodo (506 yards, four touchdowns), but he did throw a touchdown pass to Devon Jacobs and return an interception 43 yards for a touchdown; Floyd was 4-for-8 for 48 yards. Jacobs ran for 98 yards on five carries, including a rushing TD.
Another preponderance of one-sided games this weekend … Yokota-Kinnick and Kubasaki-Seoul went with running clocks in the second half. Two others, Daegu-Osan and ASIJ-Edgren, finished with victory margins of at least 28 points.
Basic fundamentals: One thing is certain: Osan American and Seoul American by the end of this season will likely be the most practiced team where blocking and tackling are concerned. If a team can’t do either of those fundamentals consistently well, that team is simply not going to win. Turnovers and penalties haven’t helped their cause, either.
Best hair followup: Zama lineman Roland Cote announced Sunday on his Facebook page that he has shed the Mohawk, which had become his trademark.
Off the gridiron, looks as if Angie Robinet, Kristina Bergman and Daegu American are the odds-on favorites to capture the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference girls volleyball Division I regular-season title. The reigning Far East Division II Tournament champion Warriors snagged a four-set victory Saturday over reigning Division I bronze medalist Seoul American in the teams’ only meeting this regular season. They now count that plus two wins over 2007-08 Far East Division II Tournament champion Osan American on their ledger this season.
It was bound to happen sooner or later, coach Al Garrido said. His Kinnick Red Devils' volleyball team's 33-match regular-season winning streak came to an end Friday 25-18, 25-13, 16-25, 25-17 at Seisen International's hands. Time to start another winning streak. :)
In this space earlier, I incorrectly reported that a Yokosuka Middle School runner won one of two Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools girls 2.1-mile races Saturday at Tama Hills Recreation Center. The runner in question is a freshman at Nile C. Kinnick High School. My apologies.
Yokota’s girls volleyball team remains unbeaten against DODDS Japan opponents after a two-match sweep at Robert D. Edgren over the weekend. Next test for T.J. Cornell and the Panthers: Tuesday’s home match against reigning Kanto and DODDS Japan champion Kinnick.
Enjoyable travel moment of the week: Listening to AFN Eagle 810’s Saturday morning Retro Café with the station’s outgoing DJ, Tech Sgt. Diedre Hines, aka Murphy Dee, talking about how she spotted somebody whom she thought resembled Capt. Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean fame while driving to work near Yokota Air Base. Naturally, I had to phone and tell her I could easily top that; I’ve seen Elvis on the streets of Taipei. And he has a wonderful Mandarin dialect.
Embarrassing travel moment of the week: Seated beside two rather comely Nihonjin on board All-Nippon Airways flight 124 on Friday from Naha to Haneda, one of them pulls out the airline’s magazine from the seat flap and opens it to the map page. Naturally, being very familiar with the route, in broken Japanese I explained to the two 1) where we were at that moment (over Niijima), 2) our approach route, and 3) which runway we’d land on, Runway 16 Left with the winds out of the southeast. And of course, I come to find out they spoke perfect English, they’re ANA flight attendants deadheading home from Okinawa and they live near the airport and they know the airport’s layout better than I. Oh, and just to pile on, we landed on 34 Left, since the wind shifted while we were in flight. Spent the rest of the flight chattering about anything but that, and could sense their relief when the flight landed and they could high-tail it off the plane. Still, better than the old guys who usually are assigned seats next to mine.
Aggravating travel moment of the week: Would somebody puh-leeze tell McDonald’s employees that when one orders a Sausage McMuffin, they are not always ordering the Sausage McMuffin with egg? And to not assume that’s what I want because I need to lose about 80 pounds and that I am in shape (round is a shape). Whatever happened to the "customer is always right?"
So, the battle of the reigning Far East divisional football champions, Kadena at Zama American at 6 p.m. Saturday, has lost a bit of its luster with one, possibly two of Kadena's running backs and a defensive end on the shelf. What's Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza to do? Find people to fill the roles just as effectively. What's Zama coach Steven Merrell to do? Ensure his Trojans are ready for whomever shows up. Click here to preview Saturday's historic interdivision, interarea showdown.
Wednesday's weather forecast called for partly cloudy skies and a chance of isolated showers. You'd have never known it gazing at Foster Field 1 after a heavy shower flooded the field and caused all four pool-play matches to be postponed until Thursday. The last two days of pool play will be completed Thursday and Friday, with the entire single-elimination playoff pushed back to Saturday. The championship match is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Host Marine Corps Base Camp S.D. Butler led after two days of pool play with a 3-0 record.
One might note when they resume play, five of the six teams are fielding at least one woman player.
Always a bridesmaid but never a bride, the saying went, as Reid Henderson, a golfer at Kadena High School, always seemed to finish behind Panthers teammate Zachary Lay in the Okinawa Activities Council district tournament.
Last Saturday, Henderson not only won the Red, White and Blue Tournament at the new Taiyo Golf Course in central Okinawa, he schooled the likes of All-Marine golfer Dave King along the way. Henderson shot a 71, two strokes better than King. In third place was Kadena tennis coach and avid golfer Robert Bliss.
Want to know how to make football teams in Korea and Okinawa happy? Give them more games. That was one of DODDS Pacific's Far East Activities Council's many missions at their meeting last spring, adding interarea games pitting Korea teams against their Okinawa brethren. Click here to read all about it in this week's Home Team feature, along with other topics in a wide-ranging interview with DODDS Pacific's FEAC chair Don Hobbs.
The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' 2010 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 11, points and last week’s rating, as compiled by Dave Ornauer of Stars and Stripes sports. Ratings are based on teams' win-loss records, quality of wins, strength of roster, schedule and leagues, point differential and team and individual statistics. Maximum rating is 500 points:
Record Pts Pvs
1. Kadena, Okinawa 2-0 444 1
Robert D. Edgren at American School In Japan—Round 1 of the annual two-game non-league series pitting the Eagles at the Mustangs should go ASIJ’s way. … Mustangs 18, Eagles 12.
Yokota at Nile C. Kinnick—Berkey by the Bay’s field turf should see Yokota resume its run toward a sixth straight Division I playoff berth. … Panthers 20, Red Devils 8.
Osan American vs. Daegu American at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 6 p.m.—Hopefully, the weather will cooperate better than it did last week; Warriors should prevail in first of two battles for Korea’s Division II championship game berth. … Warriors 19, Cougars 12.
Simon Sanchez at George Washington, 7 p.m.—It’s been awhile since the Sharks have had their way with the Geckos; this may be it … or not. … Geckos 14, Sharks 13.
Kadena (Okinawa) at Zama American, 6 p.m.—What was expected to be a battle of the backs may not take place, with Shariff Coleman and possibly Thomas McDonald sidelined; might Michael Spencer and the reigning Division II champion Trojans have their way with the defending Division I champion Panthers? … Panthers 16, Trojans 15.
Kubasaki (Okinawa) at Seoul American, 2 p.m.—Dragons coach Fred Bales is 3-0 against DODDS Korea opponents. Make that four straight. … Dragons 21, Falcons 7.
Father Duenas Memorial at Guam High, 3 p.m.—Expect the Panthers and their high-octane offense to continue steamrolling its foes. … Panthers 20, Friars 14.
Southern vs. John F. Kennedy at Okkodo High School, Dededo, 7 p.m.—Islanders should prevail and remain in the chase for that coveted No. 1 playoff seed. … Islanders 18, Dolphins 8.
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer ponders yet another visit to the Kan-to and what could be a seminal meeting between the reigning Far East football divisional champions.
-- "Battle of the Running Backs I" sure lived up to its billing, with Zama American's young defense holding powerful, experienced Yokota scoreless through one half before the Panthers found a way through the Trojans' veneer and pulled away late. Running back ledger: Devin Day, Yokota, 28 carries, 136 yards and no touchdowns, 504 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Michael Spencer, Zama, 18 carries, 121 yards, no touchdowns, 437 yards, four touchdowns on the season.
-- I would say Yokota's 17-0 win over Zama revealed much more about the Trojans, their defense and their ability to defend their Far East Division II title. "That's a good team," Panthers coach Tim Pujol said repeatedly after Friday's contest at Yokota's Bonk Field. Defensively, very good. Work on conditioning a bit more and they just might have something.
-- Spencer was not just a force with the ball, but on defense, he was a terror, as always. 13 first-half tackles, nine solo, four for losses.
-- No wonder Yokota's coaches emphasized getting a body on Spencer on every snap in the second half.
-- Can you imagine how good Yokota might be once injured lineman Jesse Hogan and cornerback Roosevelt Neely return?
-- American School In Japan looked like their 2009 selves as the Mustangs righted the ship, shutting out Nile C. Kinnick 12-0 after fading by 39 points in their season opener.
-- Hayden Jardine went an economical 4-for-6 for 79 yards, a touchdown pass to Sam Hopkins and a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Nathan Kwon spent much of the game channeling his inner Alex Busam, to the tune of 125 yards on 14 carries. Andrew Stern was a multiple threat, with an interception, a pass reception and 42 yards rushing.
-- Far from economical was the passing performance of one Paul Floyd of Guam High, who racked up four touchdown passes while throwing for 506 yards, the most in a single game by a Pacific quarterback in 15 years. Guam High routed Okkodo 54-13 on Saturday.
-- Think of it ... Floyd arrived at Guam High last October from Yokota as a transfer ... as a tight end? Coach Billy Henry's prescience, that Floyd could succeed as a signal-caller, has proven perfect to this point for the unbeaten Panthers.
-- Though the scores appeared somewhat one-sided, things weren't exactly all Okinawa in Kadena's and Kubasaki's groundbreaking visits to Korea on Saturday.
-- Oh, no doubt, Kubasaki had its way, pounding Osan American 47-0 behind Deon Lewis' rushing expertise (13 carries, 142 yards, 2 touchdowns; 90-yard kick-return touchdown).
-- But it was Daegu American's defense that stiffened and held Kadena's high-powered offense to just eight first-half points, before a couple of special-teams errors gave the visiting Panthers a couple of short fields, and Kadena took advantage in a 22-6 pullaway victory on the field surf -- er -- turf at Kelly Field on Camp Walker. And Kadena came away a bit nicked in the backfield; Shariff Coleman was ejected and will miss Saturday's interarea game at reigning Division II champion Zama; Thomas McDonald tweaked a knee and might have to sit out the game as well.
-- At least on paper, thus far, Okinawa has had its way with Korea in the new interarea series, outscoring its peninsula counterparts 126-6. Three more games remain in the series, Kubasaki at Seoul American on Saturday and Osan at Kadena and Daegu at Kubasaki on Sept. 25.
Kubasaki 47, Osan American 0. Deon Lewis 13 carries, 142 yards, 2 touchdowns, 90-yard kick-return touchdown. Kadena 22, Taegu American 6. Thomas McDonald 149 yards, 1 TD, 15 carries. Shariff Coleman 63 yards, 15 carries. Rodney Goodson TD run. Lotty Smith 4-for-6, 46 yards, 12-yard TD pass to Aaron Ahner. Jarel "Tank" Connie gets Taegu's lone TD, a 1-yard run, with no time left. Guam High 54, Okkodo 13. Career day for Paul Floyd, Panthers firm their grip atop the Interscholastic Football League. Simon Sanchez 34, Southern 6.
Turns out, ex-Osan American athletics stars rising on the college/university horizon aren't limited to volleyball players. Check this out: Mike Gilliam, a two-time Far East wrestling champion and key cog in the Cougars' football lineup, is now on the roster at Occidental College, a member of NCAA Division III's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and a private liberal-arts school in Los Angeles.
According to his obviously proud papa, Larry, Occidental recruited Mike off of his National Collegiate Scouting Association Web page and was one of about six schools that seriously looked at Mike; the Gilliams chose Occidental for its football, academics, "great campus," small size and location. Mike received a partial grant-in-aid; NCAA Division III schools don't offer athletic scholarships.
Mike's not playing yet; he's backing up an all-SCIAC senior defensive tackle. The Tigers have one game under their belt, a 42-25 home loss to Menlo College; they are home to University of Puget Sound on Saturday. Here's the Tigers' schedule and here's how you can view their games via video streaming on the Web.
It's one thing to reach the top. It's another thing to stay there. That's the message coach Joanna Wyche of defending Far East Division II Tournament champion Daegu American is trying to get across to her Warriors spikers; nothing will be handed to them. Meanwhile, Seoul American is aiming to send outgoing 31-year coach Denny Hilgar out a winner with the school's first Division I title. Click here to read their story and click here to get your fill of this season's significant dates and team capsules.
A slap in the face, Erika Youngdahl recalls it. After becoming the first DODDS Japan player to ever win a Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools Tennis Tournament singles title, the ex-Yokota freshman "got lazy," she said, entering the Far East Tournament on Okinawa, where she succumbed 6-0, 6-1 to eventual champion Elissa Mason of Kadena. Youngdahl has since transferred to Kadena, where she hopes to earn redemption, and coach Robert Bliss hopes that can lead to contender status for the reloading Panthers. Click here to read Youngdahl's story and click here to see Pacific high school tennis significant dates and team capsules.
One need only look at Wednesday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening cross-country run at Camp Foster's Kishaba Housing Area to see that Kadena's Jacob Bishop is on a mission. He torched the 3.1-mile road course in a time of 16 minutes, 18 seconds -- the fastest OAC time in the last 10 years, which sent the gatekeepers scurrying to the record book to see if it in fact is a league record. Bishop, who finished a disappointing fourth last year at Far East, has been working hard all summer to ramp up his times and is on a mission to redeem himself at Far East in exactly two months, coach Tom McKinney said. "He's got a plan," McKinney said.
So, what's the best way for a high school cross-country team to prepare for the Pacific's season? Start training in August with November's annual Far East meet foremost in mind, using regular-season and league championship meets as boosters along the way. Click here to learn how Seoul American and Kadena have been successful since 2004, and click here to see significant meet dates and team capsules.
They were vital cogs in Osan American's two-year reign atop the Far East Girls Division II Volleyball Tournament field in 2007-08. Now, Laura Vega, Nicole Sparks and Celine Baldevia are making the grade on the college courts, the first two at Georgian Court University and Baldevia at Seattle University. "As a coach, seeing your players make it at the next level means more than winning the championship. They will value these experiences the rest of their lives," said Brian Swenty, who coached all three to the 2007 title while at Osan before transferring to Vilseck, Germany, where, he says, he's making a new legacy.
Ex-Pacific prep soccer greatness at the collegiate level isn't limited to Kadena strikers. Former Yokota player Andreas Cabral was accorded All-Tournament honors in a losing effort as his Plymouth State University of Rhode Island fell 3-0 to William Paterson University on Sunday in the Roger Williams University Turfer Men's Soccer Classic. Click here to see the Plymouth State news release about the tournament.
Got a note from Steve Schrock, Kadena football offensive coordinator and proud father of Mesa State freshman soccer player Stanley Schrock. Stan's made the Mavs' traveling team and went on a road trip to Denver (Colorado Christian) and Alamosa (Adams State), where Mesa won 3-0 and 4-1. Stanley played 30 minutes against Adams State. Check out this link to the team's photo and roster; Stan's wearing No. 24 in the photo, but has No. 28 for the season. "He's loving college life ... journalism school is good and the facilities are Division I-like ... it's a great place," Steve said; the family stayed for a week this summer to help get Stan set up, then they did some mountain traveling and sightseeing in what he called the "Schrocky Mountains." :)
The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' 2010 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Aug. 28, points and last week’s rating, as compiled by Dave Ornauer of Stars and Stripes sports. Ratings are based on teams' win-loss records, quality of wins, strength of roster, schedule and leagues, point differential and team and individual statistics. Maximum rating is 500 points:
Record Pts Pvs
1. Kadena, Okinawa 1-0 452 1
2. Yokota, Japan 2-0 444 2
3. Guam High 2-0 436 8
4. Daegu American, South Korea 1-0 428 5
5. Zama American, Japan 2-0 412 7
6. Father Duenas Memorial, Guam 2-0 404 9
7. George Washington, Guam 2-1 396 3
8. American School In Japan 0-1 388 4
Robert D. Edgren—Zach Davis 15-for-24, 235 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Week 4 outlook
Zama American at Yokota, 7 p.m.—A battle of DODDS Japan’s pre-eminent rushing attacks, pitting the Trojans’ Michael Spencer (316 yards, 4 touchdowns, 30 carries) vs. the Panthers’ Devin Day (368 yards, 9 touchdowns, 41 carries), among others. Usually, I go with the defending champion. Not this time. … Panthers 20, Trojans 12.
Nile C. Kinnick at American School In Japan, 7 p.m.—Hungry Mustangs take out their thrashing last Friday at Yokota on the young Red Devils. … Mustangs 16, Red Devils 9.
Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington, 7 p.m.—The question, after last week’s upset loss to Guam High, is this a sub-par season for the Geckos or the best season in Panthers’ history? GW might get that answer against the Friars this evening. … Friars 18, Geckos 16.
Kadena at Daegu American, 6 p.m.—First regular-season meeting between the teams, last year’s Division I champion and its ground machine vs. the 2009 Division II runner-up and its spread-option attack. Coleman and T-Mac get it done again. … Panthers 21, Warriors 11.
Kubasaki at Osan American, 7 p.m.—Another ground-breaking first regular-season meeting. Visiting Dragons are 2-0 against DODDS Korea teams; that trend continues. … Dragons 15, Cougars 8.
Okkodo at Guam High, 3 p.m.—Panthers shouldn’t have much trouble handling the Bulldogs; question of whether Guam High suffers a letdown after big win over GW. … Panthers 22, Bulldogs 7.
Simon Sanchez vs. Southern at Okkodo High School, Dededo, 7 p.m.—Trend of one-sided Interscholastic Football League contests continues here. … Sharks 20, Dolphins 6.
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer braces for the 2010-11 school-year express to get underway in earnest for DODDS schools in Japan, Korea and Okinawa in all sports:
-- Was it a great weekend to be a Panther or what?
-- In the case of two brands of Panther, it wasn't the runaway win itself, but whom it came against: Yokota 46-7 over defending Kanto Plain champion American School In Japan and Guam High 32-0 over longtime Interscholastic Football League powerhouse George Washington.
-- In each case, it was a matter of if the right hand don't get you, the left one will.
-- If it wasn't left halfback Devin Day (178 yards, FIVE touchdowns, 25 carries) doing it for Yokota, then Morgan Breazell would attack from the right half spot, 93 yards, 1 touchdown, 5 carries.
-- The way he's been running (368 yards, 9 touchdowns, 41 carries), no doubt Day will be joining a legion of great names of Yokota football running-back lore dating back to ... gad, before I got in shape (round is a shape) and had grey hair. Darren Taylor, Jo-Jo Anthony, Mike Chamberlain, Roy and Chris Roach, Rodney Lewis, Dennis Hunter, Shane Miller, James Carson, Jeff Rowe, Buddy Williams, Bruce Henderson, James Billingslea ...
-- To be fair to ASIJ, the Mustangs were starting their season far earlier than ever, having just a handful of practices. Then again, Yokota managed such an outcome with two key starters sidelined, lineman Jesse Hogan and defensive back Roosevelt Neely.
-- Then, you had Guam High's Tegan Brown (168 yards, 2 touchdowns, 25 carries) and D.J. Cruz (109, 1, 17) chewing up the Geckos, whom the Panthers had never shut out and hadn't beaten since the 2008 third-place playoff game. Not this late in the season in the 13-year history of the program have the Panthers been on top this late in the season.
-- The same rang true for Kadena, whose Shariff Coleman (139 yards, 3 touchdowns, 8 carries, 62-yard kick-return touchdown) and Thomas McDonald (144, 2, 9) likewise enjoyed a halfback field day as the Panthers walloped Seoul American 57-0 on Friday in the first regular-season meeting of the two teams.
-- Like Day at Yokota, no question Coleman and T-Mac will put up numbers this season that should rival those of Panthers (and Buccaneers and Islanders) back in the day ... A.J. Morgan, David McCowan, Reggie Williams, Joseph Ashton, Robert Eaves, Josh Brandt, Lee Holloway ...
-- More than what the running-back tandems did to demolish their opponents, defense also ruled the weekend. Example: ASIJ, which rolled up 278 points for and 76 against and whose quarterback Hayden Jardine was 46-for-91 for 1,048 yards and 14 touchdowns last year, was held to just 20 net offensive yards. Jardine had career-low totals of 4-for-14 with three interceptions, 60 yards and a touchdown.
-- Friday's outcome makes Yokota's 49-8 romp at Robert D. Edgren the week before a bit more revealing, in that the Panthers very likely are back in the manner of coach Tim Pujol's Kanto and DODDS Japan champion teams of 1999-2008. Not just winning, but dominating.
-- Guam High the past few years under coaches Brandon Miller and now Billy Henry had been viewed as good, but just not good enough to overcome the likes of George Washington or whichever island powerhouse team took its turn at the top. Longtime freelance writer Eric Palacios pronounced the Panthers "scary good," that unless somebody really steps up its game, Guam High likely can't be touched this season.
-- Now, I really have to wonder how Guam High would do if the Panthers had chosen to remain in the DODDS Far East Division I playoff picture, instead of fully committing to the Interscholastic Football League as it decided last week.
-- At the Division II level, one can't help but view Zama American as the early favourite to claim host rights to the Far East small-schools title game on Nov. 6.
-- Michael Spencer, held to just 88 yards the previous week against Nile C. Kinnick, looked much more like his old self in grinding out 228 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. But several other weapons had their night in the spotlight: Mitchell Harrison ran for a TD, Jonathan Neyland ran back an interception for a score and D.J. Ward added a lengthy punt-return touchdown.
-- Edgren can certainly score; Zach Davis (15-for-24, 235 yards, 3 touchdowns) is as dangerous a quarterback as Japan has this season. The Eagles must figure out a way to stop the run or they'll be watching the Division II title game from afar for the second straight season.
-- Looking ahead, two intriguing matchups dot the schedule this weekend: Zama American at Yokota on Friday and the first regular-season meeting between Kadena at Daegu American on Saturday. Zama, the reiging DODDS Japan and Division II champion, against the team it displaced as DODDS Japan king, and the reigning Division I champion against the team Zama beat for the Division II title last November 7 46-38 at Daegu.
-- Enjoyable travel moment of the week: Some nice changes made to the Tohoku Shinkansen train cars, at least the ones that make the Hayate run from Tokyo to Hachinohe and back; electric sockets at each seat in first class (green car) and one outlet in each row of each coach car. Now, if JR East could add wireless Internet -- as the KTX has in first class in Korea -- you'd merge perfection.
No, it's no typo. Tegan Brown (168 yards, 2 touchdowns, 25 carries) and David John Cruz (109 yards, 1 touchdown, 17 carries) helped Guam High bring down Interscholastic Football League powerhouse George Washington 32-0. Father Duenas Memorial's 20-0 win over John F. Kennedy ensured that all six games played this weekend ended in no less than 20-point victories. Runaway weekend.
Call it Runaway Friday. All four Pacific high school football games played Friday resulted in double-digit victories, none fewer than 20 points. And running backs did most of the damage -- Shariff Coleman and Thomas McDonald combining for five touchdowns in Kadena's 57-0 throttling of Seoul American in a rematch of the last two Division I title games; Devin Day and Morgan Breazell posting a combined six TDs in Yokota's 46-7 pasting of American School In Japan (let's keep in mind, this was ASIJ's first game, while Yokota already had two under its belt); and Michael Spencer torched Robert D. Edgren's defense for 228 yards and two touchdowns as Zama American climbed all over the Eagles 42-22. And in the battle of the winless on Guam, Simon Sanchez's Sharks mauled the Okkodo Bulldogs 43-0.
It's a go. Seoul American and Kadena play the first DODDS-funded regular-season football game pitting teams from different areas against each other. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Ryukyu Middle School, a day earlier than originally scheduled because of the approaching tropical cyclone.
As traffic heats up on the Pacific's typhoon freeway, the first of six interarea games involving high school football teams in Okinawa and Korea may be among the newest tropical depression's first casualties.
Scheduled kickoff is 7 p.m., but DODDS Pacific officials are looking at starting Saturday's scheduled Seoul American at Kadena game early, perhaps a 10 a.m. Saturday or even a Friday evening kickoff -- if the game is played at all. Seoul American is slated to fly at 9:30 a.m. Friday and arrive on Okinawa two hours later.
Tropical Depression 10W is forecast to pass 5 miles north of Kadena at 3 p.m. Saturday, with local forecasts calling for Okinawa to get lashed by 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts.
March 8: Dave Ornauer reviews the start of the high school spring sports season and Sunday's Tomodachi Bowl. For now, word is that Far East spring sports tournaments are still a go despite sequestration.