Fourth time might be charm for Kadena, Kubasaki
Stars and Stripes
If they win their games Saturday, the Kadena Panthers will host the Kubasaki Dragons for the Far East Division I football title on Nov. 9, DODDS Pacific athletics coordinator Don Hobbs announced Thursday.
Kadena visits Nile C. Kinnick and Kubasaki hosts Seoul American at 2 p.m. Saturday in the regular-season finales.
The Yokota at Kadena game originally slated for Oct. 5 but postponed by a typhoon will not be made up because funds are not available, and the season will not extend past Nov. 9 to reduce impact on winter sports, Hobbs said.
Should either Okinawa team lose Saturday, “this would create other scenarios. Information would be sent out via e-mail regarding the championship game if this should occur,” Hobbs said in an e-mail to coaches, athletics directors and administrators.
Asked what the other plans are, Hobbs would not elaborate.
Kadena would host and Kubasaki would be the visitor, Hobbs said, because Kadena would be undefeated in D-I “and Kubasaki has beaten Yokota and Kinnick handily.” Kubasaki won 27-3 at Yokota on Sept. 21 and 38-7 over Kinnick on Oct. 19.
“It’s unfortunate for a school or two, but I have to make a decision and I’ll live with that,” Hobbs said.
It creates a must-win situation for Kinnick, which began the season 5-0 but has lost four of its last five games.
“It’s obvious to us we have to win the game,” Red Devils coach Dan Joley said. “Beyond that, I only have to worry about one thing at a time. It’s not good that they can’t make up that (Yokota at Kadena) game and bring the tie-breakers into play.”
Several suggestions were brought by coaches and athletics directors to Hobbs, including one from Kadena AD Robert Bliss that Kadena fly up and play Kinnick on Thursday and Yokota play its season finale with American School In Japan, scheduled for Friday, on Thursday.
Then both Panthers teams could rest for three days and play the makeup game on Monday, a scenario which would not involve buying more airline tickets since Kadena would already be in the Kanto Plain.
The suggestion was turned down because it would involve Kadena’s players missing at least two days of school, Hobbs said.
While disappointed that the Yokota-Kadena game can’t be rescheduled, Yokota coach and AD Tim Pujol expressed understanding over DODDS being “handcuffed by the inability to extend the season and make up the game. It’s a tough thing to do,” Pujol said.
“Not all decisions are easy to make and are certainly not popular, but given the circumstances, I understand the rationale.”
Should Kubasaki play Kadena for the title, it would be the fourth time the teams meet this season. The Dragons won 12-6 on Aug. 26, then the Panthers took the next two games 49-26 on Sept. 13 and 11-0 on Oct. 25.
The Division II football picture is clearer: Zama American visits Robert D. Edgren on Friday, and if the Trojans win or lose by 19 points or fewer, they travel next Friday to Daegu for the title game. If Edgren wins by 20 or more, the Eagles will play the Warriors.