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Kubasaki 129-pounder Josh Bales gets Kadena's Ben Breazile in a head-in-arm hold during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Bales pinned Breazile in 1 minute, 10 seconds and the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20.

Kubasaki 129-pounder Josh Bales gets Kadena's Ben Breazile in a head-in-arm hold during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Bales pinned Breazile in 1 minute, 10 seconds and the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Kubasaki 129-pounder Josh Bales gets Kadena's Ben Breazile in a head-in-arm hold during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Bales pinned Breazile in 1 minute, 10 seconds and the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20.

Kubasaki 129-pounder Josh Bales gets Kadena's Ben Breazile in a head-in-arm hold during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Bales pinned Breazile in 1 minute, 10 seconds and the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Kadena 148-pounder Jacob Bloom gets Kubasaki's Chris Workman in a head-in-arm hold during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Bloom, a defending Far East tournament gold medalist, pinned Workman in 1 minute, 32 seconds, but the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20.

Kadena 148-pounder Jacob Bloom gets Kubasaki's Chris Workman in a head-in-arm hold during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Bloom, a defending Far East tournament gold medalist, pinned Workman in 1 minute, 32 seconds, but the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Kubasaki 168-pounder Jake Haynes wrenches the shoulders of Kadena's Matt Correia to the mat during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Haynes pinned Correia in 1 minute, 30 seconds and the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20.

Kubasaki 168-pounder Jake Haynes wrenches the shoulders of Kadena's Matt Correia to the mat during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Haynes pinned Correia in 1 minute, 30 seconds and the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Kubasaki 215-pounder Lawrence McCain wrenches the shoulders of Kadena's Mike Ward to the mat during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. McCain pinned Ward in 1 minute, 20 seconds and the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20.

Kubasaki 215-pounder Lawrence McCain wrenches the shoulders of Kadena's Mike Ward to the mat during Thursday's Okinawa Activities Council season-opening dual meet at the Panther Pit, Kadena High School, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. McCain pinned Ward in 1 minute, 20 seconds and the Dragons snapped a nine-meet losing streak to the Panthers, beating Kadena 39-20. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa

— Before Kadena’s dual meet with Kubasaki on Thursday, Kadena wrestling coach Steve Schrock gazed at a lineup sheet depleted by injuries and ineligibility and mused, “It might be a good night to be a Dragon.”

His prescience proved perfect as Kubasaki leaped back atop the Okinawa high school wrestling heap, at least for the moment.

Sparked by former Far East tournament champions Scott Wood and Matt Maza, the Dragons won five total-pinfall victories in a 39-20 triumph over Kadena at the Panther Pit. The victory snapped a nine dual-meet losing streak dating to the 2004 Far East tournament.

Thursday’s match was the first of three scheduled Okinawa Activities Council dual meets between reigning Far East tournament champion Kadena and Kubasaki, the 2006 Far East dual-meet runner-up and holder of a record 20 Far East tournament titles.

“It’s going to be close all season,” Kubasaki coach Terry Chumley said of the rivalry with the Panthers. “It can always go the other way with Kadena.”

The victory came against a Panthers lineup so depleted by injuries and ineligibility — six regulars were sidelined — that Schrock was forced to juggle his lineup: Six of Thursday’s starters wrestling outside their normal weight class.

“Put that up against good athletes with good coaching and effort, that’s a pretty powerful formula,” Schrock said. “We got hit by the triple whammy tonight: ineligibility, injuries and inexperience. I do have some guys who work hard; they just don’t have the mat sense yet.”

Kubasaki was missing only one starter. After falling behind 5-0, the Dragons took charge, outscoring the Panthers 19-3 over the next five bouts. Wood (108 pounds), Josh Bales (122) and Maza (135) led the charge with pins and Chris Paul (115) scored a decision.

Kadena tried to rally, as 2005 Far East champion Brandon Mc- Cullough (141) won by technical fall, defending Far East champ Jacob Bloom (148) won by pin and Cody Cash (158) gained a decision, giving the Panthers a brief 20-19 lead.

Jake Haynes clinched it for the Dragons, pinning Matt Correia in 1 minute, 30 seconds at 168 pounds, and Lawrence McCain (215) ensured it by pinning Mike Ward at 1:20. Despite Thursday’s victory, Chumley cautioned that her young squad still has much to work on.

“We need more decisive takedowns, assertiveness,” she said. “The more matches we get, the better we become. They (Kadena) have a good team, no doubt. They have a lot of potential.”

The two teams meet again on Thursday, this time at Kubasaki’s Dragons Den. “We’ll come back at them hard next week,” Schrock said.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.
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