Things learned, observed in Pacific high school football Week 6.0

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer says yet another prayer for the folks on Okinawa who suffered through the worst tropical cyclone to hit the island in five years:

Should anybody wonder why this pontification on high school football so close to the tail end of what was a disastrous weekend on Okinawa, I pen this with a very heavy heart. Though I spent the weekend distant from my beloved home, this writing finds me beside myself with concern for those who suffered damage to home or injuries to selves, the more than a quarter million buildings that lost power, all the trees, power lines and power poles that snapped like so many twigs. Here’s hoping the island gets back on its feet soon.

Week 5 review, Week 6 preview

The Top Ten

The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' weekly Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 22, 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      440    1
2  Guam High                                              5-0      432    4
3. Kadena, Okinawa                                   2-0      428    2
4. Simon Sanchez, Guam                          4-1       412    6
5. Kubasaki, Okinawa                                2-1       396    3
6. Zama American, Japan                         3-2      384    9
7. Okkodo, Guam                                        3-2      376  10
8. George Washington, Guam                  2-2      372    5
9. Nile C. Kinnick, Japan                           3-2      368   7
10. Robert D. Edgren, Japan                     1-3      364   8

Week 5 grid honors

All-Armed Forces softball: Sweep dream for Army

Congratulations to the All-Army men’s and women’s softball teams, which swept the gold medals in the All-Armed Forces tournaments last week at Fort Sill, Okla., and to four overseas players selected to the All-Armed Forces teams that will play for the Amateur Softball Association’s national championship Sept. 28-30 in Oklahoma City.

Army’s women went 8-1, outdistancing Air Force (7-2) by one game. Navy went 3-6 and the Marine Corps finished last at 0-9.

Things learned, observed in Pacific high school football Week 5.0

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Dave Ornauer wonders how things could really be in a perfect world, then reminding himself that imperfection is truly the spice of life and creates the sort of debate that forever changes the face of Far East football:

-- Guam High on the outside looking in: Can there be any doubt now, any doubt, that Guam High deserves to be in the DODDS Pacific Far East Division I football title conversation?

Off the gridiron: Volleyball powerhouses keep making their mark

-- One stat that stood out for me Tuesday at Yomitan was watching Kubasaki rack up 33 service winners in their second three-set victory at Okinawa Christian School International in eight days. And almost by the same identical set scores. At 4-0, the Dragons are off to their best start in seven seasons.
-- I remarked to setter Emily Lampert, sidelined with an injured left hand, that aside from not having a “signature, go-to hitter” as Kubasaki did in 2005 in Alex Fernandez, that the Dragons have virtually everything else. Lampert’s reply was something to the effect of how this Dragons team is better than the sum of its parts. She’s right. Definitely a Far East Division I tournament Final Eight team, perhaps Final Four.
-- No question, after the final match of American School In Japan middle blocker Liz Thornton’s star-studded career, sometime next November, somebody from another team is going to tell her: “You know what I like best about you? You’re graduating. I won’t have nightmares about you next year.”
-- The names Hardeman of Faith Academy and Nelson of Christian Academy Japan fame are arguably the most decorated families in Far East tournament history. But how many families can claim THREE sisters who helped spell team championships for ASIJ in volleyball AND earn Most Valuable Player awards?
-- Don't forget Nile C. Kinnick, though. The Red Devils are 80-1 dating back the last three-plus seasons, with those unprecedented three straight Kanto Plain and DODDS Japan titles.
-- Just as Kubasaki doesn’t have a Fernandez in the fold (the Dragons finished fourth in 2005), neither does Seoul American have tree choppers in the form of Destinee Harrison or Liz Gleaves any more. Face it, those were once-in-10-years players. Well, don’t look now, but the Falcons are off to a 3-0 start themselves.
-- The common denominator? They each have efficient setters, some with experience (ASIJ’s Baileigh Gibson, Kubasaki’s Jienniphyre Soderlund, Kinnick's Jerimae Capuyan), while the Falcons have asked, with success, Ashley Clement, a defender and outside hitter, to disguise herself as a setter. Any doubters out there about how important the setter position is?
-- On the cross-country courses, we’re seeing as wide-open a chase for Kanto Plain team honors as we’ve seen in a long time. A lot of it has to do with the improvement of Yokota and the repeated top 10 placements by Kinnick boys runners, plus the emergence of Zama American’s Jarrell Hibler, which I mentioned in this space last week.
-- Kinnick’s boys came within three points of powerhouse St. Mary’s International in Week 1. International School of the Sacred Heart upset Seisen International the same week by one point. American School In Japan is not as dominant as it’s been in the past.
-- Four or five schools are in the hunt on both sides for the first time in decades. The boys finish in Week 2 last week demonstrated that. Just 15 seconds separated Kinnick sophomore twins Aaron and Ethan Russ, the third- and ninth-place runners. “Any given Saturday,” one coach said.
-- Little doubt, I think, that Kinnick’s Robert Beard and Carydaliz Fontanez will likely run the table in Kanto and DODDS Japan, the same way defending Okinawa and Far East champion Erik Armes has done on island in the boys.
-- While Kubasaki has cornered the Okinawa market on individual honors, keep in mind, Kadena has run the table in the team points thus far. Doesn’t bother coach Tom McKinney that his tightly bunched packs of runners don’t get the same spotlight that Armes and teammates Allie Reichenberg and Jessica Freedman do; he likes flying under the radar.
--Same thing will likely happen on the tennis courts come November on Okinawa. The girls singles could be a free-for-all, as Yokota’s Emily Beemsterboer, Zama’s Natalie Burke and Kadena’s Erika Youngdahl could make it a battle royal to see if anybody can dethrone Guam High’s Chloe Gadsden. But as far as team points go? Division I is going to be all-out war between Kadena and Yokota, strong from top to bottom.

Pacific high school football Top Ten, Week 4 grid honors, Week 5 outlook

The Top Ten

The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' weekly Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 15, 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   436  1
2. Kadena, Okinawa                                       2-0  428   2
3. Kubasaki, Okinawa                                    2-0   424  3
(tie) Guam High                                              4-0   424  4
5. George Washington, Guam                     2-1   408  6
6. Simon Sanchez, Guam                              3-1   400  7
7, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan                               3-1   392 8
8. Robert D. Edgren, Japan                          1-2   380 9
9. Zama American, Japan                             2-2    376 10
10. Okkodo, Guam                                         2-2    364  --

Week 4 grid honors
Nile C. Kinnick
– Dustin Wilson 64 yards, 2 touchdowns, 7 carries. Marcus Boatwright 53 yards, 9 carries; 10 tackles, interception.
Zama American—Andre Encarnacion 107 yards, touchdown, 8 carries. Holden Limas 144 yards, 12 carries. David Coleman 72 yards, 2 touchdowns, 8 carries. Rafael Morales 8 tackles, interception.
Guam High – L.J. Aguon 71 yards,  2 touchdowns, 9 carries. Tegan Brown 126 yards, touchdown, 18 carries; 6 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, interception. Cody Burpo 7 tackles, forced fumble, fumble recovery. Joshua Foronda 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, fumble recovery.

Week 5 outlook
Robert D. Edgren at American School In Japan, 7 p.m.
—Eagles have looked anything but like a 1-2 team; can the Mustangs bounce back from two disheartening defeats?. … Eagles 18, Mustangs 16.
Zama American at Nile C. Kinnick, 7 p.m.—Throw out the Red Devils’ 20-6 comeback win in the season opener; these teams hardly resemble the ones who played that night. … Red Devils 14, Trojans 13.
South Korea
Osan American at Daegu High, 6 p.m.
—Battle of two teams trying to stay alive in the chase for a berth in the D-II title game. … Warriors 8, Cougars 6.
Southern vs. Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington High School, 7 p.m.
– Friars should get well on this evening. … Friars 13, Dolphins 6.
Yokota at Seoul American, 5 p.m.
–Panthers will continue to assert themselves as the Pacific’s powerhouse. … Panthers 24, Falcons 7.
Guam High at Kubasaki, 7 p.m.—Get well, Fred Bales! Dragons will take this one over the Panthers for their ailing coach. … Dragons 19, Panthers 10.
John F. Kennedy vs. Simon Sanchez at Okkodo High School, 7 p.m.
– Sharks continue to fly just below George Washington and Guam High on the IFL radar. … Sharks 22, Islanders 8.
Last week—4-1, .800.
Season—22-4, .846.

Things learned, observed in Pacific high school football Week 4.0

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer grumbles once again: How much more fun it is to cover football than chase typhoons?

-- The great postponement debate: How serendipitous it was that the DODDS Pacific Far East Athletic Council met last week? On Thursday, with Typhoon Sanba bearing down on Okinawa – and looking like the worst typhoon to hit the island in 13 years – DODDS officials called off the Yokota at Kubasaki and Kadena at Daegu High football games.

Pacific high school football Top Ten, Week 3 grid honors, Week 4 outlook.

The Top Ten

The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes' weekly Far East high school football ratings, with records through Sept. 8, 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                                             3-0   436  1
2. Kadena, Okinawa                                       2-0  428   5
3. Kubasaki, Okinawa                                    2-0   424  4
4, Guam High                                                  3-0   420  7
5. American School In Japan                        0-1   412  2
6. George Washington, Guam                     1-1   404  3
7. Simon Sanchez, Guam                              2-1   396  8
8, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan                                2-1   388 –
9. Robert D. Edgren, Japan                           1-2   380 –
10. Zama American, Japan                           1-2    372 10

On your Ahner: Kadena grid grads working with Louisville’s scout defense

It’s that rare DODDS athlete who makes it onto an NCAA Division I football team, but that’s what two of our Kadena graduates, Aaron Ahner (class of 2011) and Gabe Ahner (class of 2012) have done – they’re part of the University of Louisville’s football team, which plays in the Big East, a Bowl Championship Series conference.

UL officials confirmed the Ahners’ addition to the team as walk-ons in an e-mail to Stripes received Tuesday. Aaron and Gabe are working with the Cardinals’ scout defensive team, which helps prepare the offense for their upcoming opponents. They were added to the team on Aug. 20, and according to the coaching staff, “both Gabe and Aaron are working hard and doing their best to help the team,” associate sports information director Rocco Gasparro said in an e-mail.

Off the gridiron: Zama tennis off to a flying start

-- One Burke leaves, another one steps up and takes her place. Natalie Burke of Zama American began the DODDS Japan tennis season with three wins in as many singles matches. Twice against E.J. King, she didn’t drop a single game. Zama unbeaten after one week. Older sister Tia, last year's Kanto champion and Far East runner-up would be proud.
-- Who is Jarrell Hilber and where did he come from? Zama may have found a itself a rising cross-country star, who placed second in the first boys Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools heat Saturday at Tama Hills Recreation Center.
-- That said, Nile C. Kinnick’s Robert Beard and Carydaliz Fontanez might prove to be tough to beat on the DODDS Japan circuit.
-- Samantha (cross country) and Amelia (volleyball) Arnold. They could form a solid 1-2 family punch for Yokota, which won three volleyball matches at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, while Amelia’s freshman sister led a 1-3-4 finish by Yokotans in the girls first heat at Tama.
-- Ryan Parker, Sally Lee and Seoul American’s runners look like they still have some fight left in them after the departure of the Henderson sisters.
-- Looks like nobody’s going to catch Jeffrey and Jae-hyun Kim and Seoul Foreign tennis … again. Sure wish they’d get an invitation to Far East.
-- Yokota’s tennis girls lineup of Emily Beemsterboer, Anju Yamanaka and Ashley Hirata: As good as advertised.
-- I just love how Matthew C. Perry tennis coach Mark Lange continues to pluck soccer players off the pitch, put rackets in their hands and ask them to disguise themselves as tennis players. Something about the issue of trust; they play for Lange on both court and pitch.
-- Yokota in five sets over Perry in volleyball. Could be a preview of the DODDS Japan final.
-- Seoul American over Daegu High in five sets in volleyball. Could be a preview of the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Girls Division I tournament final.
-- Erik Armes may still rule the Okinawa district cross-country courses. But look which school placed four runners in the top 10 of last Wednesday’s season opener at Jack’s Place! Okinawa Christian International could be this year’s Zion Christian Academy. That Ryan Bugler can run just a little.
-- The girls field may be  a slugfest. Kadena’s Ana Hernandez and Rachel Burchill and Kubasaki’s Allie Reichenberg and Jessica Freedman within 17 seconds of each other.
-- We knew Alison Bowman could run the distance races in Guam track and field. But the Guam High sophomore is proving just as competitive in 3.1’s.

Things learned, observed in Pacific high school football Week 3.0

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer agrees, more can be accomplished by looking within, instead of by lashing out:

It’s said that tournament organizers, sports media, coaches and referees do jobs in which they please 46 percent of the people 50 percent of the time (I’ve come to acknowledge that the former number exists because there is no pleasing the other 4 percent, no matter how hard they try).

Pacific high school tennis season preview

Even with international schools back in the fold since 2010 after a six-year absence with their litany of year-round players, DODDS Pacific players have continued to hold a veritable monolith over the Far East High School Tennis Tournament, and that conga line of champions shows no sign of abating. The question being, will Chloe Gadsden continue her family's monolith on the singles title, or will another DODDS quantity step up and claim the throne? Click here to read all about the Pacific's top teams and stars, significant dates and team capsules.

Pacific high school girls volleyball season preview

So, the replacement pipeline that brought former three-time Far East Division II girls volleyball tournament champion Daegu High such luminaries as Kristina Bergman, Maleah Potts Cash, Lynnette Grant and Kadijah Parker has shut itself off? Coach Joanna Wyche says she hope she can get players not so tall to think and play tall in the middle. Meanwhile, last year's Division I Tournament runner-up Kinnick is hoping to get a boost from the last three Guam women's national team coaches. Click here for the Pacific girls volleyball season preview, significant dates and team capsules.

Pacific high school cross-country season preview

The season gets into full gear this weekend. So, who are the teams to beat? Will Kubasaki, which got great good luck in the transfer rounds, and Robert D. Edgren repeat their Far East Divisions I and II title glory? Or might a perennial power like Kadena step up and reclaim what's been theirs four times since 2004? Click here to read all about the upcoming season, the stars and teams to watch for.

Pacific high school football Week 2 grid honors, week 3 outlook

Week 2 grid honors

Robert D. Edgren – Louis Murphy 67 yards, TD, 7 carries; 53 yards, 5 catches; 17 tackles, forced fumble, fumble recovery. Tristan Jefferson 11-for-28, 173 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Nile C. Kinnick – Quinton Holden 132 yards, TD, 14 carries; 89-yard kick-return touchdown; interception. Dustin Wilson 2 rushing touchdowns, 2-point conversion, 3 extra-point kicks. Marcus Boatwright 11 tackles, fumble recovery. Dakota Rogers 9 tackles, sack.
Yokota – Raymond Butler 143 yards, touchdown, 7 carries. Morgan Breazell 105 yards, touchdown, 6 carries; 9-yard kick return. Stanley Speed 2 rushing touchdowns, fumble recovery, interception; 25-yard kick return. Ke’Ondre Davis 4 sacks.
Kadena – Justin Sego 79 yards, 2 touchdowns, 13 carries; interception. Joey Dyer 125 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 catches; 8 yards, 2 carries; 7-yard kick return. Maverick Giron 2-for-3, 111 yards, touchdown. David Padilla 2 interceptions.
Daegu High – Steven Robinet 7-for-12, 88 yards, touchdown.
Kubasaki – Jarrett Mitchell 232 yards, 2 touchdowns, 13 carries. Tyler Smith 5-for-11, 41 yards, 3 touchdowns. Chris Schehl 2 sacks.
Guam High – L.J. Aguon 8-for-15, 134 yards, touchdown; 25 yards, 7 carries. Damian Dimmick 10 tackles; 62 yards, 7 carries. Brandon Saville 11 tackles. Tegan Brown 11 tackles. Cabe Robit 10 tackles. Juwan Jacobs interception, pass breakup to halt Simon Sanchez drives.

Things learned, observed in Pacific high school football Week 2.0

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer takes stock, report-card style, of the Pacific’s high school football teams two weeks into the season:

-- Yokota (2-0): Two words: Line surge. One observer at Friday’s Zama American at Yokota game said, “That line is pushing people back five yards.” Zama coach Steven Merrell said, “Like a blue wave marching forward. Amazing.” Yep, they’re all back, Victor Madaris, Jesse Hogan, Max Lester, Dylan Kessler and Jake Jackson, plowing the road for the likes of Morgan Breazell (289 yards, four touchdowns, 23 carries), Raymond Butler (281 yards, three touchdowns, 15 carries) and Stanley Speed (121 yards, three touchdowns, 8 carries). At that corner-free safety spot, Speed also has an appetite for turnovers, recording two in Friday’s game. But that slender sophomore defensive end, Ke’Ondre Davis. Oh, Ke’Ondre Davis! Note to opposing coaches: Double-team that guy or your quarterback is going to be eating … um … field turf, in most cases in Japan. Now, can the Panthers finally accomplished what they failed to the last three years, win at American School In Japan’s Mustang Valley? Grade: A+



Ornauer on AFN


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


Sept 28:Dave Ornauer is back with the latest on the Pacific sports scene.

May 22:Yokota has dominated in first year at D-II spring championsihps.

May 8: Dave Ornauer highlights a few athletes who are participating in the Kanto Plains track and field finals Saturday.