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One of the most fun weeks of the school year can also serve as a tripwire for football teams – homecoming week, fraught with criss-cross dress days, powder-puff football games, parades and bonfires.

It’s even more of a distraction for teams headed for the Far East playoffs that begin on Nov. 3, coaches say. And even without homecoming, such games — with little at stake as far as league standings are concerned — can become injury bear traps.

“They’re a necessary part of school spirit,” coach Tim Pujol of Japan Football League champion Yokota said. Stretched thin by homecoming activities, his Panthers lost eight players to a Junior ROTC trip to Camp Fuji this week before Friday’s game with American School in Japan.

Between all that and looking ahead to a Class AA semifinal trip to Guam High, “all that makes Friday’s game dangerous,” Pujol said.

Other teams preparing for homecoming games include Taegu American, which hosts Osan American on Saturday in a game that means little, because the host Warriors already clinched their spot in the Class A title game.

Also, Nile C. Kinnick entertains Zama American on Friday in another homecoming contest.

Injuries, Pujol said, were more of a concern earlier in the season, but “we’ve been as healthy as we’ve been all season. We hope to go to Guam as healthy as we can be.”

Coach Ken Walter said he hoped his Taegu American team could seize an early lead on Osan so he could rest his regulars.

“You always want to win homecoming; our boys have never won one. [But] injuries are always a worry,” he said. “We want to come away with a win, but we want to stay healthy.”

One of Walter’s goals for Saturday’s game is to prepare for defending Class A champ Edgren. “We don’t want to do too much live stuff in practice [next week] and get people hurt,” Walter said.

Far East playoffs

Saturday, Nov. 3

Class A

Championship

Edgren vs. Taegu American at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, South Korea, 2 p.m.

Class AA

Semifinals

Yokota vs. Guam High at Blue Jacket Field, Naval Station “Big Navy,” Guam, 7 p.m.

Seoul American vs. Kadena at McDonald Stadium, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 10

Class AA

Championship

Yokota-Guam High winner at Seoul American-Kadena winner, site, time TBD

Japan Football League

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Yokota 6 0 1.000 200 78

Edgren 3 3 .500 124 99

Kinnick 1 4 .200 84 126

Zama 1 4 .200 65 145

x-clinched Japan Football League title

Friday, Oct. 26

Zama at Kinnick, 7 p.m.

American School in Japan at Yokota, 7 p.m.

End regular season

South Korea

W L Pct. PF PA

Seoul American 5 0 1.000 121 20

x-Taegu American 2 2 .500 33 28

Osan American 0 5 .000 14 120

x-clinched berth in Far East Class A championship game Nov. 3.

Saturday, Oct. 27

Osan American vs. Taegu American at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 2 p.m.

End regular season

Okinawa

W L Pct. PF PA

Kadena 2 0 1.000 86 6

Kubasaki 0 2 .000 6 86

Guam

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Father Duenas 7 1 .875 225 44

x-Simon Sanchez 6 2 .750 102 89

x-George Washington 5 3 .625 130 99

x-Guam High 4 4 .500 75 88

John F. Kennedy 2 6 .250 34 132

Southern 0 8 .000 50 164

x-clinched Interscholastic Football League playoff berth

Friday, Oct. 26

Guam High vs. Father Duenas at George Washington High School, Mangilao, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 27

Southern vs. Simon Sanchez at Ramsey Field, Kennedy High School, Upper Tumon, 7 p.m.

John F. Kennedy at George Washington, 7 p.m.

The Top 10

The Top 10 teams in the Stars and Stripes' 2007 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Oct. 20, 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) 8-0 480 1

2. Kadena (Okinawa) 2-0 476 4

3. Seoul American 5-0 472 2

4. Father Duenas (Guam) 7-1 468 3

5. George Washington (Guam) 5-3 428 5

6. Simon Sanchez (Guam) 6-2 432 7

7. Robert D. Edgren 4-3 420 6

8. Taegu American (S. Korea) 2-2 412 9

9. Guam High 4-4 404 9

10. Zama American (Japan) 3-4 356 --

Week 9 outlook

Friday

Japan-Yokota 26, American School In Japan 12; Kinnick 18, Zama 15.

Guam-Father Duenas 20, Guam High 10.

Saturday

South Korea-Taegu American 16, Osan American 8.

Guam-Simon Sanchez 19, Southern 7; George Washington 21, John F. Kennedy 8.

Week 8 grid honors

Zama-Kenneth Johnson 210 yards, 3 touchdowns, 16 carries.

Guam High-DeAndre Weaver 97 yards, 1 touchdown, 12 carries.

Yokota-Anthony McNeill 205 yards, 1 touchdown, 31 carries. Tony Presnell 121 yards, 1 touchdown, 17 carries.

Kadena-Ernest Carr 113 yards, 1 touchdown, 11 carries. Vince Coronado 82 yards, 2 touchdowns, 5 carries.

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