Pacific football Week 1 Fearless Forecast


Friday's games
George Washington at Okkodo, 7 p.m. – Nothing worse than a hungry team of Geckos for the Bulldogs to face in their season opener. … Geckos 21, Bulldogs 7.
Tiyan at Guam High, 7 p.m. – Speaking of hungry, a Panthers team that finished on a high note last season should give an outmanned Titans team all it can handle. … Panthers 18, Titans 6.
Saturday's games
Simon Sanchez at Southern, 10 a.m. – Might this finally be the year that the Dolphins join the league elite? It won’t happen this week. … Sharks 20, Dolphins 8.
Father Duenas Memorial vs. John F. Kennedy at Guam, 7 p.m. – Defending league champion Friars show why against an Islanders team that may have the potential to recall its glory years. … Friars 19, Islanders 7.

Pacific high school final boys basketball ratings

Last go-round for the 2015-16 season, and a couple of late entries stamp their mark on the Top 15, given the surprising results of the Guam quarterfinals.

Boys basketball

1, Kubasaki (27-1).
2, Yokota (30-5).
3, Kadena (16-11).
4, Humphreys (18-3).
5, John F. Kennedy, Guam (17-6). Great run to close season gives Islanders back-to-back island titles.
6, St. Mary’s (17-8).
7, Seoul American (17-5).
8, Guam (16-6). Lengthy winning streak snapped during Guam quarterfinals.
9, Father Duenas Memorial, Guam (16-6). Same quarterfinal fate as the Panthers.
10, Robert D. Edgren (17-7).
11, American School In Japan (11-11).
12, Simon Sanchez, Guam (14-9). Came up short in Guam finals vs. Islanders.
13, Okkodo, Guam (16-9). Another team that came on late on Guam.
14, Seoul Foreign (13-6).
15, St. John’s, Guam (14-11). It’s not always about the best record; it’s sometimes about getting hot at the right time.
Dropped out — Matthew C. Perry and E.J. King.

5th Tomodachi Bowl: Closer than most

A 26-6 victory might seem a bit one-sided, until one considers the truly one-sided nature of previous Tomodachi Bowl friendship football games in the Tokyo area since 2010.

The first four times Team USA and Team Rising Sun teed it up, the Americans outpointed the Japanese 236-51; then came last year’s debacle, a 100-22 Team Rising Sun win, fueled by the presence of Japanese college soph0mores and freshmen going up against American high school players.

The tweaks made by the Japanese to their player-selection formula appears to have worked this time. They held a combine similar to what they held last year, only this time without the sophomores; just college freshmen and high school seniors. They invited 175 players and kept 55, and had practices over five weekends leading up to the game. Team USA had its usual complement of 32 players, from 10 DODEA-Pacific and international schools, and had just three practices over 18 hours on Friday and Saturday.

This one was a defensive struggle. And both sides appeared to be pleased after the game ended, on a cloudy, cold Sunday afternoon at Tokyo’s Amino Vital Stadium.

“It’s the most evenly matched game we’ve had,” said Dan Joley, one of Team USA’s assistants and head coach at Nile C. Kinnick. “I think they got the formula right this time.”

Were it not for a Team USA defense that racked up four sacks, forced Team Rising Sun to punt eight times, stopped the Japanese deep in USA territory three times, plus an interception by Seoul American’s Myles Haynes early in the third quarter, it might have been closer.

Team Rising Sun had just benefitted from a pass-interference penalty that brought the ball to the Americans’ 29 … and negated a Haynes interception. Two plays later, Haynes got the pickoff that this time stood up.

Another star on defense included Anthony Calhoun III of Daegu, who racked up 11 tackles and one sack.

Then there was Jaylin Barmer, the lone representative from Humphreys, who also had 11 tackles, four for losses, including one sack. He also ran for a touchdown.

Isaiah Johnson of Kubasaki scored Team USA’s other rushing touchdown. Yokota’s Marcus Henagan tossed touchdown passes to Kubasaki’s Jacob Green and Panthers teammate Shota Sprunger. Daegu’s DeAndre Rosalie made a leaping catch between defenders to keep one scoring drive alive and Sprunger toed the sideline to snag another pass to set up another scoring play.

All told, Team USA held Team Rising Sun to 186 yards, the second-most the Japanese have ever totaled in the game’s history … but far less than the 666 yards and 13 touchdowns they scored last year. Team USA, held to 291 yards on 68 plays last year, amassed 395 yards on 80 plays this time.

Organizers on both sides say they want the Tomodachi Bowl to continue. And a handful of coaches said they’re hoping for an even closer verdict next March 12, site to be determined.

A close Tomodachi Bowl at last?

They’ve tried and failed each year since the inception of a friendly football game pitting Japanese vs. DODEA and Tokyo international school players each March to make those annual contests close ones.

The first four times they teed it up, Team USA clobbered Team Rising Sun to the tune of 236-51. Then came last March 7, when Japan got its revenge, overwhelming the American side to the tune of 100-22 at Amino Vital Stadium in Tokyo’s western suburbs.

Might Sunday’s renewal of the Tomodachi Bowl be the close battle that each side has hoped for so long?

Team USA head coach and one of the game’s founders, Tim Pujol of Yokota, says he and the Japanese side feel they’ve come up with the right formula.

The first four times the sides played, starting with 2010 when the game was called the Camellia Bowl, Japan would trot out whole high school teams, each with some good players and a slew of not-so-good ones, to play one quarter each against best-of-the-best collections of American high schoolers culled from DODEA schools in Japan, Okinawa and Korea and the American School In Japan.

Team Rising Sun changed the formula last winter, gathering 175 college freshmen and sophomores for a tryout, keeping 55 of them and holding six practices before the fourth Tomodachi Bowl.  The speed difference between Japanese collegiate sophomores and American high school upperclassmen was “noticeable,” Pujol and other coaches on each side said.

The formula this season involves the same type of tryout for the Japanese, only this time, with high school seniors and college freshmen. Pujol said both sides were hoping that would be the key to making for a tight contest.

And Team USA, as usual, features many of the stars from the past fall football season:

-- Division I and Pacific overall rushing leader Jason Bland of two-time D-I champion Kadena (1,759 yards, 20 touchdowns, 229 carries).
-- Division I and Pacific overall total offense leader and  quarterback Isaiah Johnson of Kubasaki (110-for-173, 1,737 yards, 18 touchdowns passing; 708 yards, 79 carries).
-- Senior DeAndre Rosalie of three-time D-II champion Daegu (1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns).
-- Division II total offense leader Marcus Henagan of D-II runner-up Yokota (1,210 yards, 18 touchdowns during the regular season).

All told, 32 American players, culled from Zama,Yokota, Kinnick, Perry and American School In Japan; Kubasaki and Kadena of Okinawa; and Seoul American, Daegu and Humphreys of Korea tee it up at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Amino Vital. The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and rather chilly temperatures.

Pacific high school basketball, wrestling ratings

Next-to-last stab at rating the Pacific’s high school boys and girls basketball teams and wrestling squads. Through games and dual meets of Saturday, Feb. 27, just prior to start of Guam boys basketball playoffs. Last ratings roundup following the Guam finals.

Boys basketball

1, Kubasaki, Okinawa (27-1). Capped near-perfect season with second straight Far East D-I title.
2, Yokota, Japan (30-5). Overcame loss of Jamarvin Harvey to broken hand, didn’t lose after that.
3, Kadena, Okinawa (16-11). Solved every mystery there was out there, except Kubasaki.
4, Humphreys, South Korea (18-3). First league regular-season title for Blackhawks in any sport.
5, Guam High (16-5). Could advance higher if they can build on 10-game win streak to close regular season.
6, Father Duenas Memorial, Guam (16-5). As strong a Friars team as we’ve seen in a long time.
7, St. Mary’s International, Japan (17-8). Vaulted all the way to third in Far East D-I. Titans did what they normally do in February: Peak.
8, Seoul American (17-5). Captured 12th Korea Blue tournament title, fourth in Far East D-I.
9, Robert D. Edgren, Japan (17-7). Very quietly placed high in DODDS Japan, Far East D-II.
10, American School In Japan (11-11). Sixth in Far East D-I, handed Kubasaki its only loss of season.
11, John F. Kennedy, Guam (15-6). Won Taga Division, can still make hay in Guam playoffs.
12, Seoul Foreign (13-6). Right at the edge, waiting for one of Korea Blue’s top two to fall, which didn’t happen.
13, E.J. King, Japan (16-10). Fifth in Far East D-II, cobbled record together with precious little height.
14, Matthew C. Perry, Japan (18-11). Not quite on same plateau as last season, but still competitive.
15, Simon Sanchez, Guam (12-8). Came on late in regular season, could surprise come Guam playoffs.

Girls basketball

Pacific high school basketball, wrestling ratings

First stab at rating the Pacific’s high school boys and girls basketball teams and wrestling squads. Through games and dual meets of Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Boys basketball

1, Kubasaki (11-0). Survived stern test in Taipei, now look to the Friendship Tournament.
2, Seoul American (9-1). Loss to Humphreys only blemish on Falcons’ ledger; still deepest team in Korea.
3, Humphreys (7-1). One coach calls Blackhawks’ lineup the best in the league.
4, Yokota (13-3). Not the same team it was with Jadan Anderson, but still very strong.
5, Kadena (8-6). Starting to come on strong, had a good weekend in Taipei.
6, George Washington, Guam (5-2). Won the preseason tournament; stunned in season-opening loss.
7, Seoul Foreign (7-1). Handed Blackhawks their lone loss 53-40, but that was six weeks ago.
8, Guam  (5-2). Joe Taitano back at helm of Panthers team that reached preseason semis.
9, John F. Kennedy, Guam (4-2). Played for preseason championship against Geckos.
10, American School In Japan (6-3). Opened new year with a thrilling victory over Red Devils.
11, Nile C. Kinnick (9-5). Have shown much brilliance; need more consistency to challenge Japan elite.
12, Okkodo, Guam (5-3). Another preseason semifinal team.
13, Robert D. Edgren (7-3). Very quietly having a strong season and could be a Division II threat.
14, E.J. King (5-4). Came back strong for victory last weekend over Perry.
15, Matthew C. Perry (7-4). Need more consistency to make run at long elusive D-II title.

Girls basketball

Perry boys, Kinnick girls strikers earn national team honors

Matthew C. Perry’s boys and Nile C. Kinnick’s girls soccer teams have received the silver version of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s High School Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award, according to a NSCAA news release.

The reigning four-time Far East Division II Tournament champion Samurai and last year’s Division I runner-up Red Devils earned the awards based on having no players sent off (red cards) and five cautions (yellow cards) or fewer during the course of the 2015 season, the release said.

Yokota baseball player to attend stateside All-American camp

A Yokota senior infielder has been invited to attend a three-day Under Armour Preseason All-American baseball camp featuring more than 400 high school players from around the country Jan. 15-17 at Mesa, Ariz., according to a news release from The Baseball Factory, the event’s sponsor since 1999.

Woody Woodruff is a catcher and infielder who has played baseball in Europe and Asia. He transferred to Yokota from Ramstein, Germany, where he was chosen to the DODDS All-Europe baseball squad.


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.