Published: September 29, 2011
It was likely the most innocent of mistakes. But it wiped out about 35 years of history nonetheless.
Over the summer, much of Kubasaki High School got a paint makeover ... including "the wall" in the old wrestling room, which contained the names of all 84 gold-medal winners in Far East tournaments dating back three and a half decades!
Now, the room is the "best classroom in the Pacific," athletics director Fred Bales said. A new wrestling room will soon open, and Bales says he plans to restore all the history and heritage that goes with the room in due time, until he can get all 84 names back up there.
But Bales -- and I -- need SportsBlog Nation's help. Even with the steel-trap memory that I have, I can only recall so many of Kubasaki's champions; there are some I never saw, since Far East tournaments began in 1977 and the first one I covered was in 1983.
I know the names of all 11 selected Outstanding Wrestler at Far East tournaments. That leaves 73 others, some of whom I can name. I'm sure former coaches Jeff Pellaton and Terry Chumley can be of major assistance there as well; those two can recall things I'd only thought I'd forgotten.
So ... if SportsBlog Nation can give Kubasaki High School a hand, and you remember one or five past champions, by all means, feel free to drop me a line here. Wrestlers' first and last names, weight class and year they won the gold.
Thanks much. :)
Published: September 29, 2011
The Top Ten
The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' weekly Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 24, 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. Yokota, Japan 4-0 456 1
2. George Washington, Guam 5-0 448 2
3. Kubasaki, Okinawa 3-1 440 4
4. American School In Japan 2-1 424 5
5. Guam High 3-3 416 6
6. Kadena, Okinawa 3-1 408 3
7. Seoul American 2-2 396 8
8. John F. Kennedy, Guam 4-1 388 7
9. Simon Sanchez, Guam 3-2 364 –-
10. Zama American, Japan 2-2 356 –-
Week 6 grid honors
Guam High—Sean Sweet 4-for-7, 145 yards, 2 touchdowns; 13 yards, 5 carries; 45-yard interception-return touchdown. Matt Eaton 132 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 catches; 10 yards, 1 carry. Daniel Morta 95-yard punt-return touchdown. Theatris Eaton 6 tackles, 1 sack.
Zama American—Andre Encarnacion 243 yards, 4 touchdowns, 18 carries. Mitchell Harrison 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, 15 carries.
Osan American—B.J. Bryant 210 yards, 2 touchdowns, 25 carries. Jacob Ives 89 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 catches. Patrick Lunsford 8-for-16, 105 yards, 1 touchdown; 105 yards, 12 carries.
Yokota—Tre Bailey 151 yards, 3 touchdowns, 11 carries. Morgan Breazell 121 yards, 1 touchdown, 11 carries. Trenton “Tractor” Traylor 75 yards, 2 touchdowns, 7 carries. Lee Twyman 9-for-9 on extra-point kicks. Jesse Christmas 21-yard fumble-return touchdown.
American School In Japan—Hayden Jardine 7-for-14, 85 yards, 1 touchdown; 1-yard TD run; 1 interception. Kent Yajima 101 yards, 1 touchdown, 14 carries. Haru Kent 72 yards, 11 carries; 1 blocked punt; 1 interception. Henry Wallrapp 4 sacks.
Kubasaki—Columbus Wilson 2 interceptions, 87-yard interception-return touchdown, 1 fumble recovery. Jarrett Mitchell 142 yards, 23 carries. Cristian Rivera 3-for-4, 69 yards, 1 touchdown.
Seoul American—Ty White 123 yards, 1 touchdown, 23 carries; 1 fumble recovery. Sidney Mala’ulu 4 tackles for loss.
Robert D. Edgren—Keaton Lewis 9 tackles. Eric Ferrufino 9 tackles.
Daegu American—Xavian Washburn 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble, 2 interceptions.
Week 7 outlook
Zama American vs. Robert D. Edgren at Berkey Field, Yokosuka Naval Base, 5:30 p.m.—The Trojans can run, the Trojans can score; it’s the scoring defense that should have coach Steven Merrell a tad worried. This one’s for all the DODDS Japan Division II playoff marbles… Trojans 21, Eagles 9.
Yokota at American School In Japan, 6 p.m.—Friday night lights returns to Mustang Valley; can the Panthers make it a first season series sweep of ASIJ in three years? … Panthers 17, Mustangs 11.
Osan American at Daegu American, 6 p.m.—Like the Trojans, the visiting Cougars can score; just a matter of whether young, mistake-prone Warriors can break through Osan’s defense. … Cougars 18, Warriors 17.
Father Duenas Memorial vs. Southern at George Washington High School, Mangilao, 7 p.m.—Game 1 of what could be a weekend of blowouts to close out the regular season. … Friars 20, Dolphins 6.
Simon Sanchez at John F. Kennedy, 3 p.m.—Islanders have beaten everybody except George Washington and Guam High (on the field) soundly; can they do the same to the Sharks? … Islanders 14, Sharks 10.
Okkodo at George Washington, 7 p.m.—Why? … Geckos 24, Bulldogs 3.
Far East Division I play-in games
Guam High at Kadena, 4 p.m.—Reigning two-time D-I champion Kadena has clearly come back to the pack. Now, we see just how much, and if Guam High is ready to compete on the big stage. … Guam High 14, Kadena 13.
Seoul American at Nile C. Kinnick, 7 p.m.—Falcons are showing signs of who they were when capturing D-I championships in 2006 and ’08; Red Devils have the quickness but not the size to measure up. … Falcons 17, Red Devils 12.
Last week—7-1, .875.
Published: September 25, 2011
Pretty exciting one at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., in the men's All-Armed Forces softball tournament gold-medal game. Army led 16-14 in the bottom of the seventh when Josh Wiggs tied it with a two-run homer. Army scored thrice in the top of the eighth, but Misawa Air Base's Kiel Kauffeld, the masked pitcher, belted a three-run shot to tie it again. Then in the bottom of the ninth, with Army up 19-17, Travis Wollison yanked a three-run walk-off bomb to give Air Force its third straight gold medal 20-19.
George Finney, shortstop for Korea's Camp Casey/Area I, made the All-Armed Forces team that's headed for the Amateur Softball Association's national championship tournament next weekend. Oklahoma City, here they come!
Published: September 25, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer wonders at the marvel that is Halloween coming five weeks early:
-- Uh-oh, Arlo: Defending Far East Tournament boys tennis singles runner-up Arlo Taylor’s three-set loss to reigning Far East champion Kent Shikama of St. Mary’s could easily be explained away as a déjà vu moment, or the heat of Labour Day Saturday, any number of things.
But when Sam Cadavos, a Matthew C. Perry junior, last Saturday rallied from a first-set 0-6 deficit to stun Taylor in three sets, that very much leaped off the page and got my attention.
Matthew C. Perry is what I call a tennis team with a soccer problem. A great many of players – Tyelor Apple, Alex Barker, Anne Naseer – under the tutelage of coach Mark Lange – yes, Perry’s boys soccer coach – play both sports. Moments such as Cadavos’ 0-6, 6-1, 7-5 comeback win over Taylor on Saturday are what make coaching fun, Lange said.
“You could see the difference between junior and senior,” Lange said. “Sam was a bit nervous. But when his back was to the wall, he responded. And when Arlo’s back was to the wall, he responded. And it was awesome to watch, a great match.”
Yokota coach Tommy Palmer offered no excuses. “Not taking anything away from Sam,” he said. “He has some weapons, he has quite an arsenal. He’s a good player.”
Which simply adds to a Far East tournament field already including Shikama, Taylor, plus Seoul American’s Russell Midomaru and Jay Han, and possibly American School In Japan and its traditionally powerful lineup. Even Seoul Foreign, with its powerful, young lineup, has inquired about coming to Far East.
“It should make for a great Far East tournament,” Lange said. “Tommy’s a great coach. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Is Cadavos a potential Final Four player? “I don’t think he’ll beat Arlo again, but he beat him this time,” Palmer said.
Lange also has Sam’s freshman brother, Jon, in the lineup as his No. 2 singles seed.
“Yes, I plan to recruit them to play soccer,” Lange said.
-- Streak’s over: It took five-plus seasons and 15 games to finally get the 400-pound gorilla off their backs, but Kubasaki’s Dragons finally turned the feat on Friday at Kadena’s Panthers Field. And they did it in solid defensive style, holding the Panthers to 110 yards on 48 plays and keeping Kadena out of the Dragons’ end zone in a 13-0 shutout victory.
Not since the 2005 Okinawa Activities Council best-of-three championship series had Kubasaki beaten their arch-rivals. The Panthers outscored the Dragons in that 15-game span 494-68. Though the teams split their season series this year, with Kadena winning 15-14 on Sept. 9 at Mike Petty Stadium, Kubasaki won the island championship on point differential, outscoring the Panthers 27-15 this season.
Senior Columbus Wilson, in his fourth year with the Dragons program, had not touched the ball much during his tenure in green and white. But he sure made up for it on Friday, recovering a fumble and intercepting two Kadena passes, returning the first one 87 yards for the only touchdown Kubasaki would need.
On the other side of the ball, don’t look now, but a sophomore scatback named Jarrett Mitchell is closing in on the Pacific’s rushing leaders.
He carried a season-high 23 times (by design, I’m sure, to take the pressure off quarterback Cristian Rivera) for 142 yards. He was kept out of the end zone, but he joined three other Japan-based backs with 500-plus yards.
Here they are:
-- Morgan Breazell, Yokota, 578 yards, 7 touchdowns, 73 carries, 7.92 yards per carry.
-- Mitchell Harrison, Zama American, 531 yards, 4 touchdowns, 42 carries, Pacific-best 12.64 ypc.
-- Andre Encarnacion, Zama American, 511 yards, Pacific-best 10 touchdowns, 67 carries, 7.63 ypc.
That didn’t keep Kubasaki’s pass-catch combo of Rivera to Brandon Crawford silent, though; Rivera went an economical 3-for-4 for 69 yards, including a 16-yard TD pass to Crawford.
An aside here – in this space, I’d reported that the Sept. 9 game was the closest the two teams had played since Oct. 21, 1994, when Kadena edged Kubasaki 13-12. Well, the two teams played to a pair of one-point outcomes in Games 2 and 3 of the 2005 championship series, with Kadena winning the first one 7-6 in overtime and Kubasaki prevailing in the second 13-12 (thanks, Jay Crouse, for keeping me honest J ).
Now comes the $50 million question: Was this the first time Kadena, playing as the Panthers and not as split-squad Buccaneers and Islanders as they did until 2005, has been shut out?
Though I’ve covered high school football in the Pacific since 1982, my electronic database extends back to 1991. The closest Kadena has come to being shut out in the last 20 years was in the 2005 OAC series, when Kubasaki thrashed the Panthers 35-3 in the first of three games; the Dragons went on to win that series and their only D-I title.
From 1982 to 2000, Kadena and Kubasaki fielded split squads for the early part of the season, the Bucs and Islanders and Kubasaki’s Samurai and Shogun. They’d then combine the best of the best of each team into the Panthers and Dragons for a best-of-three Okinawa High School Athletic Association All-Star Series. Never from 1991 to 2000 were the Panthers ever shut out. And since 2005, Kadena’s only losses have been by a combined seven points in Far East D-I title games at Seoul American, one in overtime, neither by shutout.
-- Playoff picture: Now that the seeds have all been planted, here’s how the Far East Division I playoff picture looks:
Oct. 3, play-in games: Guam High (3-3) vs. Kadena (3-1) at McDonald Stadium, Kadena Air Base, and Seoul American (2-2) at Nile C. Kinnick (2-3), each at 7 p.m.
Oct. 29, semifinals: Guam High-Kadena winner at Yokota (4-0), Seoul American-Nile C. Kinnick winner at Kubasaki (3-1), each at 7 p.m.
Nov. 12, championship: Semifinal winners at site to be determined, most likely at the home of the highest remaining seed or team with best overall record, etc.
-- Tre-mendous: Yokota football could very easily be entitled this season, “Juniors ’R’ Us,” give the preponderance of Class of 2013 players on the roster. One from the Class of 2015, freshman Tre Bailey, is giving coach Tim Pujol reason for confidence about his Panthers program beyond next season.
He began the season on the jayvee squad, but Bailey led all comers in rushing yards in Friday’s 65-6 home romp over Nile C. Kinnick, which iced the Panthers’ semifinal berth. Bailey had 151 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries, coupled with Breazell’s 121 yards and one TD on 11 attempts and Trenton “Tractor” Traylor’s 75 yards and two scores on seven tries.
Six players scored, including Jesse Christmas on a 21-yard fumble return, Stanley Speed on a 5-yard run and Michael Litman on a 2-yard run.
And the Panthers have still attempted just one pass this season in four games this season.
I did see coach Tim Pujol insert several pass plays in one practice as they were getting ready for their 41-20 win Sept. 16 over American School In Japan.
But as the soon-to-be-retired DODDS administrator and former Kadena coach Bill Mierzejewski, he of the one-play single-wing offense so simple it was unstoppable in 1993, once said: “Three things can happen on a pass play, two of them bad.”
OK, so Woody Hayes coined that one. You get the point.
If you’re running the ball as well (if not for many spectacularly long gains) as the Panthers are, then why throw the ball?
-- Thunder and Lightning: How can they replace Michael Spencer? How can they replace the irreplaceable? they asked over and over again around Zama American Football Nation as the 2011 season approached. And given Zama’s 39-26 and 41-27 losses in the Trojans’ first two games of the season, maybe they had reason to wonder.
Not any more.
Not since the Trojans’ “Thunder and Lightning” combination of Encarnacion, a junior, and Harrison, a sophomore, began feeling their oats when Zama avenged that loss to Kinnick, 34-13 on Sept. 16 at Yokosuka, then put a 47-play, 579-yard beatdown on Osan American in a 42-26 win Saturday at Trojans Field.
You saw their season yardage totals above. But what the twosome did on Saturday has only been done once in the past 18 seasons.
Encarnacion totaled 243 yards and four touchdowns (giving him eight TDs in his last two games) on 18 carries, while Harrison rambled for 228 yards and two touchdowns on 15 attempts.
Not since Nov. 13, 1993, when the aforementioned Mierzejewski’s Robert Eaves (236 yards) and Josh Brandt (232) turned the trick has any team put two running backs with over 200 yards in the same game. Kadena won that game 35-12 over Yokota.
OK, we know Zama can move the ball and score tons of points; they’ve totaled 128 points on offense.
About the same as they’ve given up on defense.
“We saw some things that worked well and we saw other things we need to work on,” said coach Steven Merrell, sounding a cautionary note at the same time he expressed excitement about his team’s offensive output.
Oh, and Coach Bill? Merrell likes the Wing T, which in many ways resembles the single wing.
As for Osan, keep in mind that Saturday’s historic first meeting between the two programs featured THREE 200-yard ballcarriers. B.J. Bryant ran for two touchdowns and finished with 210 yards on 25 carries. Very likely the first game in which three backs broke the 200-yard mark in Pacific high school history.
-- All Ty-ed up: While Osan was busy dropping a 26-spot on Zama in what could be a preview of the Far East Division II title game, Ty White of Seoul American was busy building on his Korea rushing-leader credentials. He amassed 123 yards on 23 carries, including a 57-yard touchdown run, plus a fumble recovery as the Falcons blanked defending D-II and two-time DODDS Korea champion Daegu American 16-0. That gives White 344 yards on 65 carries, plus five touchdowns.
White’s performance highlighted a good all-around effort by the Falcons. Alex McDonald had 50 yards on 11 carries and a fumble recovery of his own. Alex Weber also recovered a fumble and Sidney Mala’ulu recorded four tackles for losses for a Falcons defense that posted three goal-line stands against the mistake-prone Warriors.
Just make sure you steer clear of Xavian Washburn of Daegu – try two interceptions, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble, a sack and eight tackles.
-- Big two-do: They may be 3-3 on the official standings ledger, but Guam High, at 5-1 on the field, just might be the most dangerous .500 team in the Pacific. They carry a belly full of motivation since being forced to forfeit two games, and as stated in this space before, it just might be the fire that fuels a surprise ending to the Far East and Interscholastic Football League playoffs.
Surprising to everybody, perhaps, except the Panthers themselves.
Theatris Eaton and Nyjee Smith continue to be the storm anchors on defense, combining for 12 tackles and one sack in Guam High’s 47-8 home win Saturday vs. Southern. Coach Jacob Dowdell, trying to keep his players fresh for the Kadena play-in game, brought in substitutes as early as the first quarter.
Prior to that, the Panthers did it on all sides of the ball. D.J. Cruz ran the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and Daniel Morta a punt-return TD of 95 yards. Lordon Aguon and Damon Demick each ran for touchdowns. Matt Eaton and Marcus Domingo each caught a scoring pass from Sean Sweet, who was 4-for-7 for 145 yards, ran five times for 13 yards and returned an interception 45 yards for a TD.
-- Mustang survival: American School In Japan slogged through one of those chilly, wet evenings at Robert D. Edgren’s Eagles Field, rallying for a 20-10 win on Friday, a victory that was anything but easy.
Like the Panthers, ASIJ did it on all sides of the football. Henry Wallrapp recorded four sacks for minus-50 yards on Eagles quarterback Sean Gammel. Haru Kent ran 11 times for 72 yards, blocked a punt that set up a touchdown and intercepted a pass. Ken Yajima benefitted from Kent’s punt block and added 101 yards on 14 carries.
Then, of course, there was Hayden Jardine, 7-for-14 for 85 yards and a touchdown, picking off a pass at the safety spot and running 1 yard for a score. ASIJ amassed 249 yards on 45 rushing plays.
Despite falling to 0-3, with two of the defeats at home, coach Michael Gros feels his Eagles are getting close to turning a corner. They did force three fumbles and an interception, and Keaton Lewis and Eric Ferrufino each had nine tackles. And the line is blocking better, Gros said.
The crucial test, of course, will be Friday against Zama. Stay tuned. I’ll be there.
-- Serves up: In all the 31 years I’ve been covering high school athletics in the Pacific, one thing I’d never seen occurred last Tuesday at Yokota High School’s Capps Gym, when Yokota setter Kat White served out the Panthers’ first 13 points in a Kanto Plain volleyball match with American School In Japan. The Panthers roared ahead 18-1, eventually winning the first set 25-19 before the Mustangs restored order and won the next three 25-20, 25-20, 25-10.
One of the reasons for ASIJ’s rally: The set-spike combination of junior Baileigh Gibson and sophomore Liz Thornton.
Gibson, who played as a youth in the States before coming to Japan three years ago, began her Mustangs career as a strong-side hitter, which makes her doubly dangerous. She’s got a nice touch on set (to the tune of 30 assists against Yokota), and can either dink or rip the ball over the net if an opening presents itself.
And Thornton! Wow! The third of three Thornton sisters to grace the court for the Mustangs, she may be the hardest hitter of the bunch. But it’s not how she can rocket the ball (18 spike kills, eight service aces against Yokota); it’s her intensity on the court. Purposeful stride. As if she’s on a mission. Someday, you might see her join the pantheon of Far East Division I Tournament Most Valuable Players that includes her older sisters Catherine and Gwen. Stay tuned.
-- Henderson keeps on winning …: It was a week of poor health in the Henderson household in Seoul. Reigning Far East cross-country girls champion Amanda Henderson, a senior, came down with a cold, while her sister, Pam, a sophomore, stayed at home with one and missed Saturday’s Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference race at International Christian-Uijongbu.
Didn’t seem to faze the elder Henderson, who won with a time of 21:02. About a minute slower than her winning time at Far East last year (Pam came in second), but allowed her – and her Falcons girls teammates – to stay unbeaten in six duals this season.
-- … and so does Strandemo: Former Hong Kong International two-time Asia-Pacific Invitational cross-country champion Madeline Strandemo took first for Fargo South in the Mustang Invitational in Mounds View last Friday with a time of 14:54. That beats her personal best by 11 seconds in the 2.1-mile, in preparation for the North Dakota state meet on Oct. 22.
-- They banned what?: Barcelona has banned bullfighting? Gad, that’s like the Bronx, Chicago’s North side, Los Angeles’ Elysian Park and Boston’s Kenmore Square banning baseball. Or Austin, Texas, Tuscaloosa, Ala., Tallahassee, Fla., Columbus, Ohio, and State College, Pa., banning college football. Or Manchester, England, banning soccer.
Published: September 22, 2011
Congratulations to the All-Air Force women's softball team, featuring rookie Rozilynn Breedlove-Stone from Osan Air Base, South Korea. They clinched their third All-Armed Forces tournament gold medal in the last four years, and made coach Lou South of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., successful in his debut at the helm. Air Force improved to 7-1 after four days of play, a game ahead of defending champion Army (6-2), but the soldiers already lost twice, 15-5 and 6-2, to Air Force with one game remaining Thursday in the triple round-robin tournament. On the men's side, Army and two-time defending champion Air Force went into Thursday's final day of play tied at 6-2, wiht a game remaining against each other at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.
Published: September 22, 2011
The Top Ten
The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' weekly Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 17, 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. Yokota, Japan 3-0 452 1
2. George Washington, Guam 4-0 444 2
3. Kadena, Okinawa 3-0 440 3
4. Kubasaki, Okinawa 2-1 420 6
5. American School In Japan 1-1 416 4
6. Guam High 2-3 412 5
7. John F. Kennedy, Guam 4-0 400 10
8. Seoul American 1-2 388 7
9. Nile C. Kinnick, Japan 2-2 380 8
10. Daegu American, South Korea 0-2 372 9
Week 5 grid honors
Guam High—Shawn Sweet 41 yards, 2 touchdowns, 5 carries. Logan Demick 14 tackles. Theatris Eaton 10 tackles. Brandon Saville 10 tackles.
Zama American—Andre Encarnacion 78 yards, 4 touchdowns, 18 carries. Mitchell Harrison 94 yards, 1 touchdown, 10 carries.
Nile C. Kinnick—Aaron Stravers 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 blocked kick, 2 fumble recoveries. Quinton Holden 70 yards, 1 touchdown, 9 carries. Dustin Kimbrell 135 yards, 3 returns.
Yokota—Morgan Breazell 134 yards, 1 touchdown, 18 carries; 83 yards, 4 returns. Trenton Traylor 1 fumble recovery, 42-yard interception-return touchdown; 11 yards, 4 carries. Stanley Speed 122 yards, 2 touchdowns, 9 carries.
American School In Japan—Hayden Jardine 132 yards total offense, 26 plays, 1 touchdown. Ken Yajima 173 all-purpose yards, 1 touchdown, 19 touches. Haru Kent 113 yards total offense, 1 touchdown, 15 plays.
Kubasaki—Jarrett Mitchel 193 yards, 2 touchdowns, 9 carries; 94-yard kick-return touchdown. Jace Johnson 54 yards, 6 carries; 38-yard touchdown return of blocked punt, 60-yard touchdown run after recovering teammate’s fumble. Cristian Rivera 5-for-10, 78 yards, 1 touchdown; 52 yards, 6 carries.
Seoul American—Ty White 70 yards, 1 touchdown, 14 carries.
Kadena—Joseph Hermon 82 yards, 8 carries; game-winning two-point conversion. Justin Sego 49 yards, 9 carries, game-tying touchdown run.
Daegu American—Lee Wright 64 yards, 1 touchdown, 5 carries. Darius Wyche 4-for-8, 54 yards; 17 yards, 2 carries.
Week 6 outlook
Nile C. Kinnick at Yokota, 7:30 p.m.—Expect far more of a fight from the Red Devils than last week’s loss to Zama American, but without injured Dustin Kimbrell, it will still be a long night for Kinnick. … Panthers 22, Red Devils 6.
American School In Japan at Robert D. Edgren, 7 p.m.—Hayden Jardine and the Mustangs should rebound nicely after a closer-than-it-looked loss at Yokota. … Mustangs 23, Eagles 11.
Daegu American at Seoul American, 6 p.m.—Host Falcons, featuring Ty White, have vastly improved this season, but the Warriors are two-time DODDS Korea champions until somebody knocks them off. … Warriors 13, Falcons 12.
Kubasaki at Kadena, 4 p.m.—I could apply the same logic to the Daegu-Seoul game, since Kadena is five-time Okinawa Activities Council champion … Upset special: Dragons 18, Panthers 17.
Osan American at Zama American, 6 p.m.—Cougars get their first look at a rejuvenated Trojans running attack featuring Andre Encarnacion and Mitchell Harrison. Much will depend on how Osan’s injured recover from the Seoul American home loss two weeks ago. … Trojans 20, Cougars 8.
George Washington at John F. Kennedy, 3 p.m.—Island’s oldest rivalry resumes with a very one-sided verdict as Geckos clinch yet another Interscholastic Football League title. … Geckos 19, Islanders 6.
Southern at Guam High, 7 p.m.—Panthers continue righting the ship, will seal fourth place with the victory. … Panthers 17, Dolphins 3.
Father Duenas Memorial at Okkodo, 7 p.m.—Tightest game of the weekend sees Friars averting a school-first loss to the Bulldogs. … Friars 14, Bulldogs 12.
Last week—6-1, .857.
Published: September 19, 2011
With heavy heart, SportsBlog reports that Vaughn Mesa, longtime friend of Far East high school basketball, passed away on Monday; he’d been in ill health for some time. Mesa taught and coached basketball and football for more than three decades at Guam High, John F. Kennedy and Guam Community College. Of all the people I’m acquainted with in the Pacific, Mesa was by far the foremost authority on Far East high school basketball tournaments, so much so that he authored a book called “The Way It Was: A Far East Basketball Adventure,” which went on sale on Aug. 1. He was in the process of authoring another book about Far East high school girls basketball tournaments when he passed. The Far East basketball world is that much poorer without him. He survived by three daughters, Tina San Nicolas Mora, a JFK cheerleading champion; Joannaly San Nicolas Butler, a basketball and volleyball star at JFK and Guam High; and Shella Mesa, a Guam High basketball standout; and five grandchildren.
Published: September 18, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer decompresses from a very exciting weekend of football, and realizes that what appears on the scoreboard may not be what it seems:
-- They may have lost to both Okinawa Division I powers for a second straight year, and they may have started the season 0-2. But in no way should anybody count out the Daegu American Warriors, the reigning Far East Division II champions.
-- This is a very, very good team, even without graduated stars Jarel “Tank” Connie and Tre Griffin. Dynamic Darius Wyche is every bit the athlete Griffin was with an equal arm, even if he’s not quite as tall. So Daegu doesn’t have a back as big and quick as Connie? In Lee Wright and Romar Banzon, coach Ken Walter has two good running backs to take the pressure off Wyche. And though not very deep, this team is strong (you ought to see the team’s offseason weight and conditioning program!), experienced and knows how to win against D-II opposition and can give D-I opponents fits.
-- Coach Sergio Mendoza of Daegu’s latest conqueror, Kadena, which rallied to beat the Warriors 10-8 on Friday, is very much convinced. “When you talk Division II, you have to start with Daegu,” he said after freshman tailback Justin Sego scored from 18 yards out and Joseph Hermon converted the two-pointer to rally the Panthers from an 8-2 halftime deficit.
-- In case you missed it, this game, and Kubasaki’s 41-17 home triumph over Seoul American, helped Okinawa clinch the Okinawa Activities Council vs. DODDS Korea season series 4-0 for the second straight year. But though three of the four scores may have seemed one-sided, both Mendoza and Dragons coach Fred Bales said their Korea opponents were every bit as worthy as if the scores had all been tight.
-- And after outscoring opponents 665-105 from 2008-10 en route to winning the last two D-I titles, the Panthers won their last two games by a combined three points.
-- But in no way, because Kadena only beat Daegu by two points and Kubasaki beat the Warriors by three touchdowns, should anybody take anything for granted when the Dragons visit the Panthers at 4 p.m. Friday at Kadena High School.
-- After all, Kadena is unbeaten in 15 tries against Kubasaki since the 2005 season, though the Dragons came within a block-in-the-back penalty on what may have been the kick return that would have ended the streak when Kadena won at Kubasaki 15-14 on Sept. 9. It may be the other way around next time; then again, history may repeat itself when the teams lace it up on Friday.
-- A 41-17 victory might seem dominating. Again, things are not what they seem. Three big plays were truly what separated the Dragons from the Falcons; the game could have just as easily ended 20-17, instead of a 24-point margin.
-- Senior Jace Johnson took a fumble by Kubasaki’s offense and ran it the rest of the way, 60 yards for one touchdown. Tyler Smith blocked a punt and Johnson returned it 38 yards for a score.
-- Then, there’s Dragons sophomore Jarrett Mitchell, who saw action on the Far East Division I champion basketball team last year as a freshman. In addition to his 193 yards on nine carries with two touchdowns, he returned a kickoff 94 yards for a score.
-- When you have all that going for you, plus you’re playing in the rain, there’s not as need to pass, really taking the pressure off senior quarterback Cristian Rivera, who went 5-for-10 for 78 yardds, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Crawford.
-- Ty White continues to have a big season, if not posting giant statistics, for the Falcons; he ran 14 times for 70 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run. Andrew Weber ran back a kickoff 80 yards for the Falcons’ version of a big-play score. And quarterback Harold Martin also managed a 30-yard field goal.
-- Give mad props to Daegu and Seoul American for their heart and true grit. They each had early-morning wakeups, Daegu for a 7 a.m. flight and the Falcons for a 6 a.m. bus ride to Inchon International Airport, where they caught a 9:20 a.m. departure to Naha International on Okinawa, where they landed in crosswinds at 11:35 a.m., then caught buses to Building 484 on Camp Foster, from where Daegu had maybe an hour to catch its breath before boarding a bus to Kadena for its 4 p.m. kickoff. Seoul American had a bit more time to rest, but that’s still a very, very long day. And despite the bad weather, Kadena and Daegu playing in the breeze and Kubasaki and Seoul braving stop-and-go downpours, the Korea teams showed “class and sportsmanship” to fly and play in such close time quarters, Bales said.
-- Did Nile C. Kinnick overachieve when the Red Devils rallied from an 18-7 first-half deficit to win 39-26 on Aug. 26 at Zama American? Or did the Trojans improve that much from that date until last Friday, when Zama walloped the Red Devils 34-13 at Yokosuka Naval Base’s Berkey Field?
-- Again, things aren’t what they seem. Zama was always a good team, the best 0-2 team in the Pacific before the Trojans snapped on their chinstraps at Berkey. They simply had trouble with ball security, keeping the ball out of the opponents’ end zone; in short, they had difficulty finishing. That changed, resoundingly, on Friday.
-- Andre Encarnacion only gained 78 yards on 18 carries, but boy, did he make them count – in the form of four touchdowns, none longer than 10 yards. He has 268 yards on 49 carries and a league-tying six touchdowns.
-- Mitchell Harrison! Talk about somebody who’s coming into his own. On just 27 carries, Harrison has totaled 303 yards and two touchdowns. That’s 11.22 yards per carry, if you’re scoring at home. Yep, the general’s son is starring in his own right.
-- But defense sounded off, with authority, for the Trojans. Roland Cote and David Coleman each had fumble recoveries and Hiroshi Yo and Mike Duncan each picked off Dustin Wilson passes, while Zama held elusive Kinnick running back Dustin Kimbrell to a career-low 5 yards on five carries.
-- And special teams also aided Zama’s cause. Facing fourth down at the Trojans 10, James Liker sent a booming punt into the air, bouncing it a total of 80 yards and settling it at the Kinnick 10. That certainly tipped the field in favor of Zama, in terms of field position.
-- It’s not that Kinnick was totally silent; Isaiah Long and Ian O’Brien each recovered fumbles, and then there was Aaron Stravers’ multi-faceted performance: Eight tackles, a sack, a blocked kick and two fumble recoveries. Quinton Holden had 70 yards on nine carries, including a 48-yard touchdown run, and Wilson was 11-for-22 for 95 yards and a touchdown.
-- But something was just not right last week. This was a different Kinnick team than I saw play at Zama. I visited a practice last week; the body language wasn’t there, the fire wasn’t there, the spirit wasn’t there. Coach Dan Joley as much as admitted it was a bad week of practice. I’d imagine after last Friday’s game that the Red Devils players couldn’t answer yes to either of the coaches’ postgame questions: 1) Are you proud of the way you played, and 2) Did you play as hard as you can?
-- On the surface, Yokota’s 41-20 home win over American School In Japan might seem one-sided. Once more, things are not what they seem.
-- It was far closer than the score indicated. The Panthers led by only 23-13 entering the fourth quarter, after seizing a 23-0 lead only to watch the Mustangs engineer a couple of scoring drives to get within 10 points in a battle of the last two Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools champions.
-- Yokota scored 18 points in a 2:55 stretch late in the fourth quarter to put away the contest. Following Scott Hanson’s 2-yard touchdown run with 4:02 left, Trenton “Tractor” Traylor’s fumble recovery set up Michael Litman’s 31-yard TD run with 1:26 left. Just 17 seconds later, Traylor returned an interception 42 yards for a score.
-- But ASIJ again opened Yokota’s eyes following Traylor’s TD. Ken Yajima raced up the right sideline with the ensuing kickoff, averted several tackles and went 97 yards for the game’s final touchdown.
-- It was the first kick-return touchdown allowed by Yokota in 12 seasons. Me thinks the Panthers will be working on kick coverage come this week’s practices.
-- And from the friendly confines of the top level of the Bonk Field press box alongside the longtime voice of Panthers football Don Kalina, it was easy to see how ASIJ managed 160 yards on 42 carries against Yokota. On most of the Mustangs’ outside sweeps, they got two to three linemen pulling for the running back, putting so many holes in Yokota’s defensive outside contain, something I’m sure the Panthers will also work on this week.
-- That put aside, Friday’s performance was very Yokota-esque, to the tune of 380 yards on 46 carries with five touchdowns. What was expected was Morgan Breazell, Japan’s leading rusher, leading the way with 134 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown.
-- What was not expected was quarterback Stanley Speed rushing seven times for 122 yards, including touchdown runs of 55 and 42 yards on a play called 34 bootleg, which twice had ASIJ’s defenders to a man leaning the wrong way when Yokota showed play action right. Speed faked handoffs, then took off around left end, virtually untouched on the first bootleg and averting two tacklers on the second.
-- Coaches from Misawa to Mangilao like to say Yokota coach Tim Pujol always comes up with something to neutralize an opponent. Incontrovertible evidence, you could call 34 Bootleg.
-- While Breazell is Yokota’s most versatile back, also returning kicks four times for 83 yards, Hanson is perhaps the team’s hardest runner. Need a first down on third-and-2? Send in Hanson.
-- Defense also stepped up for Yokota, and though the Panthers only had Traylor’s two takeaways and one sack by Phillip Burnett, Yokota’s pass rush had Mustangs quarterback Hayden Jardine on the run all night. He managed 11-for-26 for 140 yards, but somehow, it didn’t quite seem to be that much.
-- Big props to Haru Kent, the diminutive ASIJ running back who had 88 yards on 13 carries plus the Mustangs’ first touchdown of the contest. And while Yajima was held to 20 yards on 13 carries, he made up for it in returns, five for 147 yards.
Published: September 18, 2011
Despite having to forfeit its first two games of this season over a clerical error in which one of its players wasn’t on the roster turned into the league prior to the first game, defending Interscholastic Football League champion Guam High can take heart, for this could be the best motivational spark the program can possibly need.
Go back in time with me, nine years ago, when a reigning DODDS league champion faced a similar situation. Sufficiently awakened, in the same way one would react to a slap in the face with a wet squirrel, that same team roared to life, mauling opponent after opponent en route to a league title repeat and its third straight win in what at the time passed for a DODDS Far East championship.
That team was perennial Japan power Yokota, at the time three-time defending DODDS Japan and Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools champion.
Unknowingly, the Panthers had used an ineligible player in their first two games of the 2002 season (Dwayne Sessoms was too old to be eligible; the discrepancy was discovered during a routine records check). Yokota had won its first two games on the field, 43-0 at Robert D. Edgren and 21-6 at home vs. Zama American, but the team seemed strangely flat and unmotivated, almost going through the motions as the Panthers sliced through their opponents like a knife through butter.
Until the ineligibility was discovered, of course.
Responding proactively, coach Tim Pujol immediately informed his administration, the DODDS Japan district office, and me by telephone, “We’re 0-2.” Very frank and candid, no arguments, no excuses. “Shame on me for not checking any closer,” he said for a Stripes story the next day.
I drove to Yokota from Stripes’ downtown Tokyo office the day after Pujol’s announcement, mainly to gauge how the team was feeling. At dismissal, the players could be seen in the parking lot, in the gym, heading toward the practice field, a different sort of air about them. Determined. Focused. A purpose in each player’s step. Things were totally different.
I approached “Big” Mike Wright, the inspirational leader of a Panthers line that steamrolled opponents in the early 2000s. “Hey, Mike, sorry to hear what happened,” I said.
He looked at me with surprise. “Hey, don’t feel sorry for us,” he replied. “We’re still the head busters. We ain’t sitting here waiting to exhale.”
Next, I approached Mike Chamberlain, the soon-to-be school record holder for all-purpose yards. He put his hand up and said, “No need to ask. We’re going to the bowl,” he said of the Rising Sun Bowl at season’s end. “As long as I’m here, we’re not losing another game.”
Unsaid, but very much at the head of everybody’s thoughts, was that this could have been the best thing that happened to Yokota that year.
From that point on, Yokota bulldozed the field, winning nine straight to close the season and outscoring opponents 428-44, including a 57-14 shellacking of the Kubasaki Samurai in the Rising Sun Bowl.
That could very well be the Guam High Panthers the rest of this season. All depends on how they react to learning they’d have to give up their first two games. Will it light a fire under them? Coach Jacob Dowdell was stationed at Yokota during that forfeit saga, and remembers it well.
“Adversity builds character,” Dowdell told me last night by phone. Truer words were never spoken.
So what if Guam High can’t finish any higher than fourth in the Interscholastic Football League playoffs? They still do have those playoffs to go. So perennial IFL power George Washington shellacked the Panthers 35-0 on Sept. 3? That was the regular season.
Guam High will meet either Okkodo or Father Duenas Memorial in the first playoff round on Oct. 7, teams the Panthers have already beaten on the field 28-0 and 20-0. They get past that, they’ll likely next face George Washington on Oct. 15 in the semifinals, and you know Dowdell and his coaching staff will cook up something different, something the Geckos haven’t seen in that next matchup. The championship game is Oct. 22, and if the Panthers get past the Geckos, why, whomever they face in the title game, they’ll have already beaten.
Not to mention, the Panthers also have a shot at the DODDS Pacific Far East Division I title. They travel to Okinawa to face either Kadena or Kubasaki in the Oct. 3 “play-in” game. Win that and they head on Oct. 29 to face Japan’s top D-I team for a berth in the Nov. 12 championship game at a site to be determined.
What I’m suggesting very pointedly is, this is far from the end for Guam High. Only a beginning. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Winter always turns to spring. For every valley, there’s another peak ahead. It’s all in how the Panthers deal with this. Things may look bleak now, but great times may lie ahead, if the Panthers want it enough.
Published: September 18, 2011
Don’t look now, but a Red Devil just might be gaining on you.
Junior Robert Beard, a distance track runner and cross-country specialist, is the latest name to come out of a program that’s a pantheon of Far East cross-country champions, including two-time Far East individual winner Nadine Mulvany and her teammate Gee Mi Jorde.
Beard possesses the fastest time among DODDS runners anywhere in the Pacific this season, running 17 minutes, 27 seconds on Sept. 10 at Isanoura Park, in Sasebo in southwestern Japan, in the inaugural DODDS Japan meet of the season.
Then Beard went at it hammer and tongs on Saturday with American School In Japan distance specialist Trevor Maggart, finishing two-tenths of a second behind Maggart, 16:02.4 to 16:02.6, in the first combined DODDS and international-schools meet on the 2.9-mile boys course at Tama Hills Recreation Center in western Tokyo.
That’s going to be a world-class rivalry this season.
Then, there’s sophomore Carydaliz Fontanez, who hasn’t quite matched Beard’s feats, but has placed in the top 10 in both meets this season, third at Isanoura in 23:14, and eighth at Tama in 14:58.8 on the girls’ 2.1-mile course.
Madeline Cotton of Robert D. Edgren currently holds the top 3.1-mile time in Japan, 21:59 at Isanoura. But it’s a long season. Every chance that Fontanez could ramp up her game and perhaps catch up to Beard at the top of the ladder, although Cotton and Yokota’s Abigail Wall will sure have something to say about that.
On the hardwood inside Kinnick’s gymnasium last weekend, the Red Devils swept three home matches to improve to 63-1 since the start of the 2009 DODDS Japan and Kanto Plain seasons, dropping just one match on the road last season.
From my chair, this may be coach Al Garrido’s best TEAM since he arrived at Kinnick five years ago. He had superior individual talent in Shannon Jackson and Camille Kawamoto two years ago, when the Red Devils won their first Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools title in school history and finished sixth in the Far East Division I Tournament on Guam.
Jackson was lost to transfer after that season, but still finished fourth at Far East D-I and repeated their Kanto title behind the play of setter Marina Nakayama.
This year, with middle blockers Emily Stith, a senior, and Mashiya McKinney, a junior, plus junior outside hitter Michayla Robinson and junior setter Jerimae Capuyan, the Red Devils are functioning ever more as a team, emphasis on team. Much better chemistry. They look like they’re enjoying every match as do happy 5-year-olds in a playground.
It’s worked thus far to the tune of 9-0 this season. And there’s plenty of talent behind them. Audrey Salter, a freshman, isn’t overpowering, but she places her hits well and is staying until she graduates.
“She’s better than Shiya was as a freshman,” Garrido says. “The question is, will she be better than Shiya by the time she reaches her junior year? The sky’s the limit for her.”
She’ll likely blossom into Kinnick’s No. 2 hitter behind McKinney when Stith graduates in June.
A shame that Salter won’t be able to team next year and the year after with sophomore backup middle blocker Kayleigh Richards; her father, former Guam Community College basketball star Mark Richards who played for the Far East Division I Tournament runner-up Tradesmen in 1985, works for Navy MWR and is transferring from Yokosuka to Bahrain in October. Kayleigh will be missed, by both volleyball and Kinnick softball.
But given the way Kinnick’s JV performed over the weekend, Garrido will likely field a powerful team for years to come.
Published: September 18, 2011
Cross-country runners from Misawa to Mangilao might remember the name Madeline Strandemo, who for two straight years won the Asia-Pacific Invitational Cross-Country Meet girls 3.1-mile individual race. She is now the No. 2-rated runner in North Dakota, running for Fargo South, and just missed by three seconds beating the defending state champion Tarin Lachowitzer, 15:02 to 15:05, in the 2.4-mile Andrew Nelson Memorial Metro Classic last week in Fargo. Click here to see a news clip of her.
Published: September 15, 2011
It's official: This weekend’s Korea at Okinawa high school football games will be played Friday instead of Saturday due to Tropical Storm Roke’s proximity to the island. Daegu American at Kadena will kick off at 4 p.m. and Seoul American at Kubasaki at 7 p.m.
Published: September 14, 2011
There's a certain empty, hollow feeling -- and a relentless hunger -- that goes along with bearing the burden of holding the title "Far East High School Tennis Tournament singles runner-up." It doesn't set well with Yokota seniors Arlo Taylor and Erika Ettl, who bear that burden and say they intend to shrug it come this season's Far East tournament Nov. 7-10 at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Click here to read their story.
Published: September 14, 2011
Don’t look now, but Kubasaki cross country is making a statement.
Evidence: Wednesday’s meet at Okinawa Christian International School in Yomitan. Freshman Erik Armes scorched the 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 9 seconds, while sophomore Alle Robles gave the Dragons a rare first-place double by taking the girls race in 23:57.
Now, here’s something that’s never happened in coach Paul Campbell’s nine seasons at the Dragons’ helm: Combine the team points and Kubasaki won the overall meet, scoring 67 points, outdistancing by 26 points a Kadena team which has not lost the island championship under Tom McKinney, who’s coached the Panthers since 2003.
“I’m just pretty excited,” Campbell said.
He has plenty of reason to be, McKinney said. “He has a good team, with that freshman coming and that group of girls he has … He’ll have a team that will challenge come Far East.”
Published: September 13, 2011
Just announced this afternoon by the DODDS Japan district superintendent's office: The neutral-site clash between Zama American and Robert D. Edgren for the right to travel to Korea for the Far East Division II football championship game on Nov. 5 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Berkey Field, Yokosuka Naval Base.
Published: September 12, 2011
One of the major topics of discussion at this week’s DODDS Pacific athletics directors meeting at Yokota Air Base is a proposal to fully segregate Far East tournaments in wrestling, tennis and cross country into Division I and Division II events. In recent years, athletes would compete as one in a combined field, but team titles would be handed out to the best in each division. Now, they’re talking having D-I athletes compete against only D-I athletes and D-II against D-II. In theory, that’s supposed to level the playing field at each division. However, some, particularly the wrestling faction, believe it would water down the competition, especially at the D-II level, where the teams are generally very small. And in the past five years, two of the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestlers have come from D-II schools (Carlos Albaladejo, Osan American, and Michael Spencer, Zama American). Some are strongly opposed to such a move. Your thoughts?
Published: September 12, 2011
The All-Army wrestling team has maintained a monolith on the All-Armed Forces freestyle and Greco-Roman team titles since 2001. All-Marine coach Dan Hicks says if his superiors wanted him to recruit Marines to be wrestlers and put the gold before everything else, “I’d do that.” But he feels the Marine way, recruiting wrestlers to be Marines, is the way the Corps should do things. The Army recruits soldiers to be in its World Class Athlete Program, where the emphasis is on competition, recruiting and retention while at the same time the soldier-athletes maintain their job skills. Which way is the better way? Thoughts?
Published: September 12, 2011
The Top Ten
The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' weekly Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 10, points and last season's final 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. Yokota, Japan 2-0 448 2
2. George Washington, Guam 3-0 440 6
3. Kadena, Okinawa 2-0 436 1
4. American School In Japan 1-0 432 8
5. Guam High 3-1 424 4
6. Kubasaki, Okinawa 1-1 416 5
7. Seoul American 1-1 412 --
8. Nile C. Kinnick, Japan 2-1 404 --
9. Daegu American, South Korea 0-1 400 3
10. John F. Kennedy, Guam 2-1 392 --
Week 4 grid honors
Guam High – Sean Sweet 8-for-12, 185 yards, 3 touchdowns; 15 yards, 1 touchdowns, 3 carries. Matt Eaton 70 yards, 3 touchdowns, 6 catches. Nygee Smith 10 tackles, 3 sacks. Theatris Eaton 12 tackles, 3 sacks.
Zama American – Mitchell Harrison 146 yards, 6 carries. Andre Encarnacion 90 yards, 1 touchdown, 16 carries. James Liker 6-for-10, 123 yards, 1 touchdown. David Coleman 113 yards, 1 touchdown, 5 catches. Richard Castillo 64 yards, 6 carries; 45-yard fumble-return touchdown.
American School In Japan – Ken Yajima 175 yards, 2 touchdowns, 12 carries. Zach Oshima 114 yards, 2 touchdowns, 17 carries. Hayden Jardine 7-for-14, 86 yards, 1 touchdown.
Nile C. Kinnick – Dustin Wilson 7-for-18, 257 yards, 2 touchdowns. Corey Smoak 201 yards, 2 touchdowns, 5 catches. Dustin Kimbrell 56 yards, 2 catches; 80 yards, 13 carries; 40 yards, 1 return. Quinton Holden 8 tackles, 1 interception. Alex Banks 12 tackles, 2 sacks.
Kadena – Joey Dyer 74 yards, 2 touchdowns, 15 carries. Gage Bongo 2 sacks. David Padilla 2 sacks.
Kubasaki – Jarrett Mitchell 91 yards, 1 touchdown, 7 carries.
Seoul American – Ty White 120 yards, 3 touchdowns, 16 carries. Josh DeCastro 58 yards, 2 touchdowns, 13 carries. Andy McDonald 94 yards, 1 touchdown, 10 carries.
Osan American – Ibrahim Mustapha 2 touchdown catches.
Week 5 outlook
American School In Japan at Yokota, 7:30 p.m. – The game of the month, at least, in the Kanto Plain. Now, it appears the Mustangs have a ground game to match the Panthers’; can ASIJ’s line match Yokota’s? … Panthers 14, Mustangs 12.
Zama American at Nile C. Kinnick, 7:30 p.m. – Looks like the Red Devils’ offense clicked big time with the promotion of Dustin Wilson to quarterback. Kinnick’s JV’s loss in the varsity’s gain. Can the Devils make it a season sweep of the Trojans for the first time in four season? … Red Devils 17, Trojans 15.
Seoul American at Kubasaki, 7 p.m. – Assuming the tropical storm headed to Okinawa doesn’t interrupt travel plans, expect the Dragons to hold their ground at home and maintain their unbeaten streak dating back to last season against non-Okinawa competition. … Dragons 18, Falcons 14.
Daegu American (South Korea) at Kadena, 4 p.m. – A rare afternoon date for the host Panthers made necessary because Ryukyu Middle School’s Habu Field is not yet ready. But Kadena should prove more than ready in this battle of defending Far East Division II at Division I champions. … Panthers 16, Warriors 9.
Guam George Washington vs. Simon Sanchez at Ramsey Field, John F. Kennedy High School, Upper Tumon, 10 a.m. – This game could be played Friday if they can get Ramsey’s lights working. Whenever, Dondre Barnes and the Sharks will find their most stern opposition in the league-leading Geckos. … Geckos 22, Sharks 8.
John F. Kennedy at Southern, 3 p.m. – Islanders will continue their resurgent season against the down-at-the-heels Dolphins. … Islanders 20, Dolphins 6.
Guam High vs. Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington High School, Mangilao, 7 p.m. – Panthers, who’ve beaten everybody except GW, make it four wins against that one defeat; this may be as down a year as the Friars have had in awhile. … Panthers 19, Friars 7.
Last week – 7-0, 1.000.
Season – 18-3, .857.
Published: September 12, 2011
A year ago, DODDS Pacific funded a full, complete season series of interarea football games between DODDS Korea’s three teams and the Okinawa Activities Council’s two.
That group of five dwindled to four this season when Osan American, a Division II team, opted not to play Kubasaki and two-time defending D-I champion Kadena and instead scheduled a Sept. 24 game at Zama American.
And that prompted one coach to suggest that DODDS Pacific should, once and for all, set a full, complete football season schedule.
To which I plan in this space to revive a plan I proposed after the 2004 season, in which I, too, suggested a Pacific-wide season schedule, Division I vs. Division I teams and D-II against D-II teams. And a plan that would get every DODDS Pacific team on the gridiron in one form or another.
Teams that play in leagues with more than one D-I team play each other twice per season, home and away. Example: Yokota plays Nile C. Kinnick twice, home and away, then plays against the Pacific’s other D-I schools once per season, home and away on a rotating basis as they do in college ball. That gives Yokota six D-I games, one game each against Guam High, Seoul American, Kadena and Kubasaki. It also leaves room in the schedule for Yokota and Kinnick to play a home-and-home with longtime Kanto Plain rival American School In Japan.
Teams in leagues with just one D-I team, Seoul American and Guam High, will have a more creative schedule. They would play each of their D-I foes at least once, home-and-home on a rotating basis as they do annually in college, which gives each five games against D-I teams, and two times against three of those teams, selected randomly each season, two home and one away one season and one home and two away the next, to give each eight regular-season games.
The top four teams would qualify for the Division I playoffs. The top seed would host the No. 4 and the No. 2 would host the No. 3 in the first round. The winners would face off at the highest remaining seed for the D-I title.
Here’s where some rivalry games would be lost, such as Seoul American playing Osan and Daegu American and Zama American battling ASIJ. But your small-schools teams would get a welcome infusion of teams thanks to a proposal that makes less much more.
Have the D-II teams play nine-man football. That would permit smaller schools that don’t play football at the moment, such as E.J. King of Sasebo Naval Base and Matthew C. Perry of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, an opportunity to field teams, whereas before, 11-man football prevented them from doing so for lack of bodies.
This would give the D-II field six teams, Osan and Daegu in Korea, and E.J. King, M.C. Perry, Robert D. Edgren and Zama in Japan.
These teams would play a full double round-robin schedule, giving each 10 regular-season games. The top two teams would meet at the site of the higher seed for the D-II championship.
As to what ASIJ would do, they play Japanese teams during their preseason and have laced it up against Singapore American’s All-Star team in years past. I doubt there would be a shortage of opponents who’d be willing to fill out the remainder of the Mustangs’ schedule. Or perhaps let the Mustangs into the D-I playoffs (see below).
Keanu Lujan, Derek Santos and George Washington are about as for real as any Geckos team since the run of five straight Interscholastic Football League titles in the late 1980s under Loring Cruz. But the real story with GW is defense. The Geckos have outscored three foes 120-0, and utterly manhandled their closest opposition, Guam High, 35-0 in Week 3.
It will never happen, but teams such as GW this season, and ASIJ two years ago, give me pause to wonder what would happen if DODDS would ever permit non-DODDS teams to participate in the Far East football playoffs. So what if those entities have different eligibility standards? What DODDS should do is mandate to those teams: If you want to play in our playoffs, provide us with confirmation that every player on your roster meets DODDS eligibility standards: 2.0 GPA with no F’s, eight semesters clock ticking and no players 19 years old before Sept. 1.
When they’re not playing the Geckos, Guam High remains the island’s second-best option, and Sean Sweet appears to be coming into his own as the island’s best passer since Father Duenas Memorial’s S.P. Phillips. That 8-for-12 performance for 185 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-0 shutout Saturday at Okkodo was as good as any that Panthers Nation has ever seen. “He’s a good decision-maker,” coach Jacob Dowdell said.
Told you Sweet was a good fit for Dowdell’s spread option.
And those defensive tackle hounds, Nygee Smith (10 tackles, 3 sacks) and Theatris Eaton (12 tackles, 3 sacks) continue to wreak havoc on opponents not named Geckos.
As for ASIJ, which had been known for its hybrid Wing-T/spread option attack, it appears as if they’re going ground first this season, if Saturday’s 42-26 home win over Zama is any indicator. Ken Yajima and Zach Oshima combined for 289 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries – a hair under 10 yards per attempt. Holdover quarterback Hayden Jardine was just 7-for-14 for 86 yards, but when a team runs that efficiently, why throw?
As for Zama, the Trojans just might be the best 0-2 team in the Pacific. They’ve scored 52 points, more than any other winless team, and can do it on all sides of the ball. James Liker is starting to feel his oats as a passer (6-for-10, 123 yards, 1 touchdown) and Mitch Harrison ripped off some huge runs en route to a 146-yard, 6-carry day. David Coleman pleaded constantly with the coaching staff to let him into the 39-26 season-opening loss to Kinnick so he could make some catches; 113 yards and a touchdown on five catches shows he can back up his talk.
Speaking of passing attacks, what an inspired move by Kinnick coach Dan Joley to promote jayvee-er Dustin Wilson, a sophomore, to starting quarterback. Wilson’s old man, JV coach Gary Wilson, probably isn’t a fan of the idea – “Where will I find another quarterback?” he asked me rhetorically last week in a phone conversation – but Joley sure must be – 7-for-18, 257 yards, 2 touchdowns, each to Corey Smoak, in a 13-0 shutout at Robert D. Edgren. Smoak had 201 yards on five catches. That’s in addition to regular Dustin Kimbrell’s 176 all-purpose yards on 16 touches.
What of those 18 penalties against Kinnick to two against Edgren?
This Kinnick team, which eclipsed its entire win total of last season, is starting to turn a corner, just as I suspected it would under Joley and former head coach Robert Stovall.
Not since Oct. 21, 1998, had Kadena and Kubasaki played to such a tight outcome as they did on Friday, when the Panthers had to come from behind twice to edge Kubasaki 15-14 in the first of two games to decide Okinawa’s top seed in the D-I playoffs starting Oct. 3.
Defense ruled the day in this one. The teams were held to a combined 265 yards of total offense, just 180 by Kadena, playing its second game of the post-Speed, Inc. era. Kadena recorded five quarterback sacks, a punt block and an interception; the Dragons recovered two Panthers fumbles in the first quarter.
Joey Dyer looks like the real deal at running back for Kadena. He carried 15 times, just twice for negative yardage, and scored both Panthers touchdowns, the last one on a 19-yard run with :29.6 seconds left in the third quarter.
Freshman Justin Sego’s two-point conversion gave the Panthers the final victory margin. He’s just the first freshman to start in any Sergio Mendoza-coached team’s backfield since he arrived on island nearly 10 years ago.
Gabriel Ahner is the biggest thing on the field in the OAC.
Jarrett Mitchell, a sophomore running back who darted 70 yards for Kubasaki’s second touchdown, is going to be a beast. Forget the ball security issues he had at Daegu; this kid can flat fly.
Once the young Panthers figure everything out, they’ll be as solid as they’ve been the past two years.
The Dragons’ rebuilding interior line has to provide senior quarterback Cristian Rivera the same type of protection he had against Daegu, or he’ll have trouble staying on the field. Five sacks is way too many.
Weather might play a role in whether the reciprocal games in the Okinawa-Korea season series take place on Saturday. Tropical Depression 18W is headed toward Okinawa, forecast to intensify and rake the island with 58-mph sustained winds and 75-mph gusts Thursday evening into Friday afternoon. Daegu and Seoul are slated to fly in that day.
Published: September 9, 2011
Boys cross country on Okinawa has long been dominated by veteran runners. That trend got turned on his ear in Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening meet on the new Kishaba Housing Area course, when Erik Armes (last photo in the gallery seen here), a Kubasaki freshman, outlasted his foes and ran the 3.1 miles in 18 minutes, 16 seconds. He's young, he's a fresh face, but he'll bear considerable watching as the season progresses. Trust.
Published: September 9, 2011
They've locked horns for the last seven years, winning the overall Division I team titles in the Far East cross-country meet every year since 2004. Every indication shows Seoul American and Kadena could battle it out yet again for top honors, especially with their deep girls lineups. Robert D. Edgren, meanwhile, has the most runners it's ever had and looks to challenge for the Division II top spot. Click here to read all about it.
Published: September 9, 2011
Finally, the stars and planets have aligned for coach Tommy Palmer, whose Yokota Panthers tennis lineup is rich in depth and Far East tournament experience. Making them all the more hungry is the presence of both reigning Far East singles runners-up, Arlo Taylor and Erika Ettl. Question is, will that be enough to overcome equally skilled opponents at both DODDS and international schools? Click here to see what Palmer and his coaching foes have to say on the matter.
Published: September 9, 2011
You'll never hear coaches Lori Rogers and Joanna Wyche utter the word "rebuilding" when it comes to their Seoul American and Daegu American volleyball teams. Their big star hitters have departed, but the defending Far East Divisions I and II champions have enough, each coach says, to write their own happy endings. The question being, can they measure up to or exceed their predecessors' high standards? Click here to get the full lowdown on the Pacific high school season.
Published: September 8, 2011
-- Congratulations to Lori Rogers, the 11-year coach of Seoul American's boys volleyball team who got off to a great start at the helm of the team she played for from 1988-91. The Falcons girls volleyball team, the reigning Far East Division I Tournament champions, won at Seoul Foreign 27-25, 26-24, 25-20 on Wednesday, with Tammy Garman powering 20 spike kills in 42 attempts.
-- Likewise, Sara Corley, last year's junior varsity coach, sparkled in her debut as Kadena's girls volleyball varsity coach on Thursday. The Panthers swept Kubasaki in three sets, rallying from behind in the first two games en route to a 26-24, 25-23, 25-18 home victory
-- At that match, Mitsuhiro Shimizu, for two year's the Saudi Arabia men's coach and coach of the Vietnamese women's team for 16 years, attended as a guest of Art Arao, a civilian assigned to Kadena and director of OkiSlam, an off-base volleyball program.
-- Speaking of coaching heavyweights, Maj. Dan Hicks will be on island Saturday, scouting for new talent for the All-Marine team during the Camp Schwab Open freestyle wrestling tournament. First bouts are at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Published: September 8, 2011
Week 4 outlook
Seoul American (0-1) at Osan American (0-0), 7 p.m. – Could be a close battle between two teams striving to climb out of the valleys they endured the past two years. ... Falcons 12, Cougars 9.
Kadena (1-0) at Kubasaki (1-0), 7 p.m. – Dragons may have their best pass combination since Robert Westberg in 1984; Panthers are champs until somebody knocks them off. ... Panthers 14, Dragons 10.
Nile C. Kinnick (1-1) at Robert D. Edgren (0-1), 7 p.m. – Kinnick should prevail after a Red Devil of a road trip in which a front tire blew on the bus ride north, delaying them for three hours. ... Red Devils 16, Eagles 10.
Father Duenas Memorial (1-1) at George Washington (2-0), 7 p.m. – In another day, this would have meant a tightly pitched battle. Not with the Geckos' defense thrashing foes. … Geckos 21, Friars 7.
Southern (0-2) vs. Simon Sanchez (1-2) at Ramsey Field, John F. Kennedy High School, Upper Tumon, 10 a.m. – Sharks just might be the best 1-2 team on the island. … Sharks 19, Dolphins 8.
Guam High (2-1) at Okkodo (1-2), 7 p.m. – Panthers should rebound nicely from first regular-season loss to GW last week. … Panthers 23, Bulldogs 11.
Zama American (0-1) at American School In Japan (0-0), 1 p.m. – Last season of the Jardine era gets off to flying start at Mustang Valley. … Mustangs 25, Trojans 11.
Last week – 4-2, .667.
Season – 11-3, .786.
Week 3 grid honors
Guam High – Damian Demick 60 yards, 5 carries. Theatris Eaton 11 tackles. Logan Demick 9 tackles..
Kubasaki – Cristian Rivera 82 yards, 1 touchdown, 6 carries; 8-for-14, 159 yards, 3 touchdowns. Jarrett Mitchell 76 yards, 10 carries. Brandon Crawford 85 yards, 2 touchdowns, 5 catches. Roland Hernandez 54 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 catches; 85-yard interception return.
Daegu American -- Romar Banzan 60 yards, 12 carries. Lee Wright 70 yards, 5 carries..
Nile C. Kinnick – Dustin Kimbrell 63 yards, 16 carries; 26 yards, 1 return..
Yokota – Morgan Breazell 139 yards, 1 touchdown, 25 carries. Scott Hanson 87 yards, 1 touchdown, 11 carries; 1 fumble recovery. Trenton Trayloer 55 yards, 2 touchdowns, 7 carries..
Published: September 7, 2011
Little has been said in this space about the Sept. 2 DODDS Japan football game pitting Zama American at Robert D. Edgren.
It was moved first to Camp Zama when the officials association at Misawa Air Base said it couldn't support a game at Misawa that day.
Then, Tropical Storm Talas happened. Citing possible weather and safety concerns, especially the Eagles having to make a 12-hour bus ride for the game, DODDS Japan district officials postponed the game (Yokota at Nile C. Kinnick went on as scheduled).
After much debate, starting at last Thursday's Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools coaches meeting, DODDS Japan district officials have tentatively decided on the following:
Edgren will travel to a neutral site, either Yokota or Kinnick, on Sept. 30 for a winner-take-all game to determine Japan's representative in the Far East Division II football title game Nov. 5 at a site to be determined in Korea. Normally, Zama plays Edgren twice per season to make that determination.
That will likely be on the agenda and a final decision made during next week's :DODDS Pacific high school athletics directors meeting at Yokota Air Base.
One other option mentioned was the weekend of Oct. 14-15, when Kubasaki is scheduled to visit Zama American and Yokota travels to Edgren. It was suggested that Zama play Edgren and Kubasaki visit Yokota instead. But the same talk indicated that the former option is more likely.
Published: September 4, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer wonders truthfully if the stairs do get higher and they do keep adding stairs every year he embarks on these pilgrimages to the different high schools around the Pacific:
-- The thinking going into Friday’s wind-blown showdown at Yokosuka Naval Base’s Berkey Field between unbeatens Yokota and Nile C. Kinnick would be the litmus test to see which team would assert itself as the early season power.
-- Despite a seemingly one-sided 34-0 final score, with Yokota having won its 25th straight over Kinnick since the 1998 season, I kind of rate it incomplete. For you really can’t assess what a team can do when two-thirds of its offensive and special-teams capabilities are negated by the wind.
-- And we’re talking winds gusting up to 45 mph, blowing objects ranging from paper plates to cardboard boxes across Berkey’s field turf the entire evening.
-- Only once did either team try to punt against the wind, Kinnick with 4:50 left until halftime, and that went just three yards. The rest of the way, even when they were backed deep in their own territory, each team refused to punt into the wind, instead trying to run for first downs to hold onto the ball. Almost as if running offensive plays were as effective as trying to punt.
-- For the second straight game, Yokota did not pass the football. Given that the Panthers won for the second straight week by the same score, one would think they didn’t have to.
-- Kinnick’s defense kept the Red Devils in this contest for three quarters. It was 12-0 with 11:16 left, when the Panthers finally lit up the scoreboard, tacking on three touchdowns in a span of 6:47.
-- The only clear advantage I saw was how Yokota’s defensive line manhandled Kinnick’s offensive line. Dustin Kimbrell exploited what few holes Kinnick could open, mostly on those little quick traps through the gut, en route to 63 yards on 16 carries. But quarterback Quinton Holden found himself on the run all night whenever he tried to pass; Yokota punched through Kinnick’s front line with relative ease.
-- Yokota gained 333 yards on 64 plays and it didn’t really seem like it. No big breakaway runs; just three yards and a cloud of dust. Longest run from scrimmage by either side – 18 yards by Yokota junior Scott Hanson in the first half.
-- A sidebar to that: While Morgan Breazell has asserted himself as Japan’s rushing leader, Hanson became a revelation on Friday, rushing for 87 yards on 11 carries. Most of those were on third-down conversions and he had no runs for negative yards. Hanson got kicked in the shin at game’s end, but he should be fine for Yokota’s next game Sept. 16 at home against American School In Japan.
-- You could very easily say that both sides scouted each other well. Yokota kept trying the right side of its offensive line, and Kinnick repeatedly stuffed the Panthers’ ballcarriers, holding them to single-digit yards most of the night. Conversely, an attempted reverse handoff to Akish Davis of Kinnick was read perfectly and stuffed by Yokota defensive lineman Jesse Christmas for an 8-yard loss.
-- Another Yokota running back revelation is senior Trenton “Tractor” Traylor, who scored two first-half touchdowns and might have had a third had he not fumbled the ball at the goal line when hit by Davis with 4:10 left in the second quarter.
-- Another thing the wind disrupts is ball security. Yokota and Robert D. Edgren combined for 18 fumbles in the Panthers’ 34-0 win Aug. 26 at Yokota’s Bonk Field in the other season opener; Zama and Kinnick combined for 17 at Zama. There were “only” 10 fumbles in Friday’s contest, five of those recovered by Yokota. Winds like Friday’s can grab pitchouts, passes, even shotgun snaps and make even the most rudimentary of plays difficult.
-- Long-range forecasts call for good weather this coming weekend. Hopefully, that will give Zama and ASIJ (1 p.m. Saturday) and Edgren at Kinnick (7 p.m. Friday) some ideal conditions to truly assess what they have.
-- Smart call by Kinnick coach Dan Joley to limit senior Marcus Boehler to just special teams, kicking and punting. He began the season at cornerback and receiver, but dislocated a shoulder during the Red Devils’ 39-26 comeback win Aug. 26 at Zama American. Marcus is trying to become just the third wrestler in Far East tournament history to win four weight-class gold medals and also has a soccer season on which to focus.
-- You know you’re getting old when the high school band covers “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You,” tunes that Queen made famous back in the mid- to late-1970s. Jonathan Parker, maybe the most enthusiastic bandmaster in all of DODDS Pacific, and his Red Devils high-school rock marching band, did their own interpretation of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor at halftime of Friday’s game at Berkey-by-the-Bay.
-- My take? … A GREAT job. A big step outside the box and something I’d very much expect Parker to do. That said … it needs a soloist. “Bohemian Rhapsody” just isn’t complete without somebody actually SINGING … ♪ I see a little silhouetto of a man; scaramouche! Scaramouche! Will you do the Fandango? ♫… Just musical instruments playing such passages made me feel a bit empty.
-- Season II of the annual Korea vs. Okinawa regular-season rivalry began pretty much as it went last year, with Kadena and Kubasaki opening victoriously, winning at Seoul American 21-7 and at Daegu American 24-6 in games that weren’t as one-sided as the scores would indicate.
-- The Panthers, two-time defending Far East Division I champions, had routed Seoul American both times it came to Okinawa, in the 2007 Division I semifinals and 57-0 in the 2010 season opener last Sept. 3 at Kadena’s Ryukyu Middle School. But despite its cavalcade of stars over the years, Kadena had never before won at the Falcons’ Sims Field … until Saturday.
-- The game-winning play came at the start of the second half, when Justin Sego, a freshman rising star for the Panthers, took the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, reminiscent of Sean Shattuck’s 91-yard TD scamper in Kadena’s 16-8 overtime loss to Seoul American in the 2006 D-I title game.
-- Two players named Dyer accounted for the other two touchdowns, receiver Josh on a 28-yard TD pass from Maverick Giron, and Joey Dyer on a 30-yard counter for the Panthers’ first touchdown.
-- Still, the Falcons didn’t quit, getting within two touchdowns on Harold Martin’s 5-yard scoring pass to Tomiwa Akinbayo.
-- “They’re far better than they were last year,” Kadena offensive coordinator Steve Schrock said of Seoul American.
-- As was thought during the preseason, Panthers head coach Sergio Mendoza found himself experimenting with different combinations and plugging different holes, simply because after having lost so many established stars from last year’s championship team, he really wasn’t sure what he had, Schrock said.
-- As for the Falcons, their young line simply needs more reps and work to eliminate mental errors and gain the focus needed to hang in with the Okinawa powers and two-time DODDS Korea champion Daegu American. Once the cohesion and togetherness really takes hold, the sky should be the limit for the Falcons.
-- Down south at turfed Kelly Field on Camp Walker, Kubasaki’s Cristian Rivera-to-Brandon Crawford passing combination was every bit as good as advertised. Rivera went 8-for-14 for 159 yards and three touchdowns and ran six times for 82 yards and a score. Roland Hernandez also caught a touchdown pass and had three catches for 54 yards.
-- But it was a Hernandez defensive play that “flipped” the contest on its ear, Kubasaki coach Fred Bales said.
-- With Daegu driving toward a possible touchdown that might have cut Kubasaki’s lead to 18-12 or even 18-14, Hernandez picked off a Ronald McLean pass in the end zone. He returned it 85 yards to set up the Dragons’ final touchdown with under three minutes left. That’s called a 12-point swing.
-- Were it not for that play, plus four other turnovers and losing senior quarterback Darius Wyche to injury in the first quarter, it might have been a much closer game, both Bales and Daegu coach Ken Walter said. McLean accounted for Daegu’s lone touchdown, an 8-yard run, and Lee Wright led the Warriors with 70 yards on five carries.
-- One one-sided verdict in which there was nothing misleading and no room for doubt took place at Mangilao, Guam, where the Guam High Panthers had their two-game winning streak against George Washington ended in emphatic fashion. Guam High, which beat the Geckos 7-6 for its first Interscholastic Football League island championship last Oct. 23, got pounded 35-0 by GW, a contest in which coach Jacob Dowdell said his Panthers simply got “overpowered” by a Geckos line superior in size.
Young mistakes, he said, did in the Panthers, particularly on special teams, which repeatedly put Guam High in a hole and gave GW a short field. Geckos offensive stars Keanu Lujan (two touchdown runs) and Derek Santos (TD pass) took it from there. Theatris “T-Roc” Eaton led Guam High with 11 tackles, while Damian Demick rushed five times for 60 yards to pace the Panthers.
-- Eateries of the week: 1) Aug. 26-28, Sept. 2-3, the Deli at Yokosuka Naval Base’s Arleigh A. Burke Officers’ Club, still purveys the tastiest fried chicken snack pack in the entire region. 2) Sbarro, the adjunct restaurant at Yokosuka’s food court; delicious, juicy roast chicken, a saffron rice seasoned just so and fresh-cooked veggies (broccoli and carrots) that taste as if they were just picked from the garden. At $9.95, the buffet on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays is worth it. 3) Sept. 1, Emporium at The New Sanno, still the best baked French onion soup you’ll find anywhere in the region.
-- Off the football field, congratulations to setter Jerimae Capuyan, hitters Mashiya McKinney and Sarina Clarke and the Nile C. Kinnick’s girls volleyball team on their 55th regular-season victory in their last 56 matches dating back to the start of the 2009 season. They beat Yokota in straight sets on Friday to open the DODDS Japan and Kanto Plain season. The Red Devils are also unbeaten at home during that span.
Published: September 1, 2011
This may be the smallest team coach Sergio Mendoza has had in his years of coaching Kadena’s football powerhouse, winner of three Far East Division I titles, including the last two. But just two players return from those dominating teams and the Panthers must replace irreplaceable running-back duo Thomas McDonald, Shariff Coleman. Click here to see how Mendoza plans to go about it.
Published: September 1, 2011
They may have the best passing combination in Okinawa, and arguably the best in the Pacific in senior Cristian Rivera to Brandon Crawford. But it may not matter as long as Kadena continues to rule the roost and since Kubasaki is doing a total rebuilding job in both offensive and defensive lines. Click here to get a line on how Kubasaki hopes to end Kadena’s monolith.
Published: September 1, 2011
New attitude, new results – that’s the hope of coach Aaron Mundy as he begins his second year as Osan American football coach by bringing in two members of the old guard who helped oversee the Cougars’ 2005 Far East Division II title season and title-game appearances in 2006 and ’08. Duke Allen, back from Turkey, and Mike Horan, returning after a year’s hiatus, are back as assistant coaches. Click here to get a line on Osan’s accentuating the positive.
Published: September 1, 2011
Seoul American was once the model of continuity and consistency, winning the first six DODDS Korea titles since the league’s inception in 2003 and two Far East Division I titles in 2006 and ’08. After the bottom fell out the last two years (2-15), the Falcons start over again with their fourth coach in four seasons and senior passing combination Harold Martin to Tomiwa Akinbayo. Click here to get a line on the rebuilding in Falcon Country.
Published: September 1, 2011
Those Warriors won’t surprise anybody any more. Championships are expected, now that Daegu American’s football team has won the last two DODDS Korea titles and the Far East Division II crown last November. Will continuity in weight-training, player development and coaching lead to another? Or will injuries make Daegu an ordinary team. Click here to find out.
Published: September 1, 2011
Week 3 outlook
Yokota (1-0) vs. Nile C. Kinnick (1-0) at Berkey Field, Yokosuka Naval Base, 7 p.m. – Size (Yokota’s) should win out here in what’s forecast to be a battle in wet, slippery conditions caused by far-off Tropical Storm Talas. … Panthers 21, Red Devils 11.
Okkodo (1-1) vs. Simon Sanchez (0-2) at Ramsey Field, John F. Kennedy High School, Upper Tumon, 7 p.m. – Sharks should prevail in a battle of teams that have yet to win a game on the field this season. … Sharks 14, Bulldogs 8.
John F. Kennedy (1-1) vs. Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington High School, Mangilao, 7 p.m. – Friars become the last IFL team to play a game this season, should have their way with the Islanders. … Friars 15, Islanders 9.
Kadena (Okinawa, 0-0) at Seoul American (0-0), 7 p.m. – Never have the Panthers won a game at Sims Field. This is about to change. … Panthers 19, Falcons 9.
Kubasaki (Okinawa, 0-0) vs. Daegu American at Kelly Field, Camp Walker (0-0), 7 p.m. – Cristian Rivera to Brandon Crawford have just enough to fend off the Warriors. … Dragons 15, Warriors 14.
Guam High (2-0) at George Washington (1-0), 7 p.m. – Defensive stars Theatris Eaton and Nygee Smith serve as the backbone of the Panthers’ second straight win over the Geckos in a rematch of last year’s Bamboo Bowl. … Panthers 11, Geckos 8.
Last week – 4-1, .800.
Season – 7-1, .875.
Week 2 grid honors
Guam High – Sean Sweet 15-for-22, 143 yards; 8 carries, 52 yards, 1 touchdown. Matt Eaton 6 catches, 94 yards, 1 touchdown. Nygee Smith 12 tackles, fumble recovery for touchdown. Theatris Eaton 10 tackles, 1 sack. Logan Demmick 10 tackles. Brandon Saville 13 tackles.
Zama American – Andre Encarnacion 100 yards, 1 touchdown, 15 carries; 4-yard touchdown catch; 1 sack. Roland Cote 2 fumble recoveries.
Nile C. Kinnick – Dustin Kimbrell 72 yards, 1 touchdown, 13 carries; 159 yards, 2 returns; 1 fumble recovery. David Sledge 3 fumble recoveries. Akish Davis 66 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 returns; 19 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 carry. Quinton Holden 42 yards, 3 touchdowns, 21 carries.
Yokota – Morgan Breazell 184 yards, 4 touchdowns, 19 carries; 61 yards, 4 returns. Tre Bailey 67 yards, 6 carries; 71 yards, 3 returns.
Week 1 grid honors
Guam High – Sean Sweet 4-for-8, 106 yards, 1 touchdown; 40 yards, 2 touchdowns, 5 carries. Matt Eaton 2 receiving touchdowns; 1 interception. Theatris Eaton 14 tackles, 2 sacks. Nygee Smith 12 tackles.