A Kadena football team will travel to Yokota on Nov. 13 to play the Rising Sun Bowl, which the Panthers have won the past four years.

The problem, for some, is that the Kadena-wide Panthers won’t be that team representing Okinawa in the DODDS All-Japan championship contest. Instead, either the Islanders or Buccaneers — the monikers for Kadena’s split-squad football teams — will try to end Yokota’s dominance.

That’s the way the Rising Sun Bowl was designed in 1999 when DODDS-Pacific superintendent Dr. Nancy Bresell directed that a championship game be staged between the champions from Japan and Okinawa.

DODDS-Japan district superintendent Mike Diekmann and his Okinawa counterpart, Steve Bloom, agreed to take into account the enrollment disparity. This year, for instance, Kadena has about 870 students while Yokota’s enrollment if 429.

“We felt ... that if we put the Okinawa split teams together, it would be an unfair advantage,” said Diekmann, now Guam superintendent for the Domestic Defense Elementary and Secondary Schools.

The first two contests were tight, but Yokota has ruled the series, including winning the past three games by a combined score of 130-31.

Is it fair that Yokota faces an Okinawa opponent operating at half-strength?

Among those who would prefer to merge the Okinawa squads for Rising Sun is coach Brian Wetherington, whose Buccaneers play the Islanders on Friday for the OAC championship and the right to travel to Yokota.

“I’d love to see us play as the real Panthers,” Wetherington said. In last year’s Rising Sun Bowl defeat, he said, “we didn’t have the best of Kadena out there.”

Islanders coach Sergio Mendoza said, “It’s been shown in the past three years that we haven’t been able to compete.”

“I knew that if Yokota would continue to kick butt, there would be a chorus of voices wanting to see how well they [Okinawa] would do if they could put the schools’ best team together,” Diekmann said.

Yokota coach Tim Pujol said he “sympathizes” with Okinawa’s situation, but had the full Okinawa squads been able to play Yokota, “I’m sure the Yokota community would have cried foul as well.”

Although “if they had set it up differently, we wouldn’t have refused to play,” Pujol said. “I just want the postseason competition.”

Former Kadena athletic director Brian Hill attributes much of Yokota’s success to continuity and leadership — Pujol has been there since 1999 and built a program that breeds success.

Meanwhile, the head coaching posts of three of Okinawa’s four teams has changed since then, with Wetherington taking over the Bucs in 2001. The Samurai have had three head coaches since Jim Hall transferred to Italy in 2002. Mendoza is in his third season with the Islanders.

“He’s [Pujol] got good support” at Yokota, said Hill, who also coached the Islanders. “We’ve had a lot of turnover on Okinawa. We haven’t had the continuity. And when you’re winning, it makes a big difference.”

And Diekmann credits Pujol’s presence for Yokota’s success.

“The quality programs come about because of leadership,” he said.

Mendoza and Wetherington admit that Pujol has done the right things to make his team successful.

“He’s built a good program up there,” Mendoza said, “but he has some advantages. He starts two-a-day practices on Aug. 11. We start tryouts on Aug. 25 and practice on the 29th or 30th. That puts us three weeks behind. You can’t overlook preparation time. Championships are won in those three weeks.”

The Pacific prep football playoff structure was discussed at last week’s Far East Activities Council meeting and tabled until the Feb. 28-March 1 meeting, also on Okinawa.

Don Hobbs, DODDS-Pacific FEAC chief, said the council plans to take input from district superintendents, “pencil in” something by December, then “think it through and fine tune it” before the meeting. “Somehow, we’re going to have to act on this, and the sooner the better,” he said.

Among ideas discussed:

All 11 football-playing DODDS-Pacific schools would play as full-school squads. That would be a significant disadvantage for Osan and Taegu American of Korea, with just 120 students each.All larger schools would be split into two teams. “But ... at what [enrollment] level is the decision made, 400, 500, 600?” Hobbs asked. That option also raised questions of how to finance coaching, equipping and transporting the new teams.Adding Seoul American and Guam High into the mix.Noting that all the options so far discussed “also have downsides,” Hobbs said that although “we hope to arrive at some type of decision before the next FEAC meeting ... it may also be that we stay with the status quo, possibly for one more year, maybe two.”


Japan Football League

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Yokota 6 0 1.000 198 28

Nile C. Kinnick 3 2 .600 105 57

Robert D. Edgren 1 4 .200 48 175

Zama American 1 5 .167 64 155

x-clinched six straight Japan Football League title.

Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Yokota 5 0 1.000 156 21

Nile C. Kinnick 4 2 .667 140 55

Zama American 2 4 .333 74 158

American School In Japan 0 5 .000 32 178

x-clinched sixth straight Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools title.

Friday, Nov. 5

Robert D. Edgren at Nile C. Kinnick, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 6

Yokota at American School In Japan, 1 p.m.


Saturday, Nov. 13

JFL All-Star Game, Berkey Field, Yokosuka Naval Base, 1 p.m.

Rising Sun Bowl VI, DODDS All-Japan championship, Okinawa Activities Council champion at Yokota, 7 p.m.

Okinawa Activities Council

Final standings

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Kadena Islanders 7 0 1.000 174 78

Kadena Buccaneers 4 3 .571 134 136

Kubasaki Samurai 3 4 .429 130 150

Kubasaki Shogun 0 7 .000 76 150

x-clinched regular-season championship, top seed in island playoffs.


Friday, Oct. 29


At Mike Petty Stadium, Kubasaki High School, Camp Foster

Kadena Buccaneers 34, Kubasaki Samurai 21

Kadena Islanders 21, Kubasaki Shogun 16

Friday, Nov. 5

At Mike Petty Stadium, Kubasaki High School, Camp Foster

Kadena Buccaneers vs. Kadena Islanders, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 13

Rising Sun Bowl VI, DODDS All-Japan championship, Buccaneers-Islanders winner at Yokota, 7 p.m.

Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam

Final standings

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Father Duenas Memorial 6 0 1.000 195 38

George Washington 5 2 .714 157 44

Simon Sanchez 5 2 .714 178 64

y-John F. Kennedy 3 4 .429 108 54

Guam High 2 5 .286 104 113

Southern 2 5 .286 22 193

Guam Int’l Christian Acad. 1 6 .143 35 283

x-clinched regular-season championship

y-forfeited two victories for using an ineligible player.


Saturday, Oct. 30


George Washington 50, Guam International Christian Academy 0

Simon Sanchez 46, Southern 6

John F. Kennedy 13, Guam High 6


Friday, Nov. 5

Simon Sanchez at George Washington, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 6

John F. Kennedy vs. Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington High School, Mangilao, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 13


Bamboo Bowl, semifinal winners, time and site to be determined.

Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Council

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Seoul American 4 0 1.000 87 13

Osan American 2 2 .333 79 52

Taegu American 0 4 .000 18 142

x-clinched league title

Saturday, Oct. 30

Osan American 40, Taegu American 12


Saturday, Nov. 13

World Bowl XII, Singapore American World League All-Star Falcons at DODDS-Korea All-Stars, Falcons Field, Seoul American High School, Yongsan Garrison, 2 p.m.

The Top Ten

The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes’ 2004 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Oct. 30, points and last week’s rating, as compiled by Dave Ornauer of Stars and Stripes sports. Ratings are based primarily on teams’ win-loss records, quality of wins, strength of overall roster, point differential, team and individual statistics, strength of schedule and strength of leagues. Maximum rating is 500 points:

Record Pts Pvs

1. Yokota (Japan) 7-0 472 1

2. Kadena Islanders (Okinawa) 7-0 460 3

3. Father Duenas (Guam) 6-0 456 2

4. Seoul American 4-0 432 4

5. Nile C. Kinnick (Japan) 5-2 404 5

6. Simon Sanchez (Guam) 5-2 396 6

7. George Washington (Guam) 5-2 388 7

8. Kadena Buccaneers (Okinawa) 4-3 376 8

9. Kubasaki Samurai (Okinawa) 3-4 348 9

10. Osan American (South Korea) 2-2 340 10

Dave Ornauer's Week 10 outlook

Friday, Nov. 5

Simon Sanchez 23, George Washington 20

Kadena Buccaneers 17, Kadena Islanders 14

Nile C. Kinnick 26, Robert D. Edgren 10

Saturday, Nov. 6

Yokota 22, American School In Japan 6

Father Duenas Memorial 14, John F. Kennedy 11

Last week: 8-0, 1.000.

Season: 51-10, .836.

Week 9 grid honors

Kadena Buccaneers — Darnell Womach 130 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns (104 yards, one touchdown, 13 carries; 26 yards, one touchdown, two returns); one interception. Tyler Schmidt 180 yards total offense, two touchdowns (4-for-7, 43 yards, two touchdowns; 137 yards, 12 carries). Gary Wright two touchdown catches.

Kubasaki Samurai — Desmond Jackson 166 all-purpose yards, one touchdown (87 yards, one touchdown, 10 carries; 25 yards, one catch; 54 yards, four returns); one interception.

Kadena Islanders — Keith Loving 158 all-purpose yards, one touchdown (142 yards, one touchdown, 27 carries; 16 yards, two returns); one fumble recovery. C.J. Weidner one sack, one fumble-return touchdown.

Kubasaki Shogun — Rafael Mew 131 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns (4-for-10, 103 yards, one touchdown; 15 yards, one touchdown, three carries; 13 yards, one return). Ronnie Stephens 99 yards total offense, one touchdown (96 yards, one touchdown, three catches; 3 yards, one carry). Jarrell Moss two fumble recoveries.

Zama American — Donovan Nance 258 all-purpose yards, three touchdowns (58-yard touchdown run, 60-yard interception-return, 98-yard fumble-return touchdown). Chris Johnson 108 yards, 12 carries.

Yokota — Chris Roach 266 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns (243 yards, two touchdowns, 24 carries; 23 yards, one return). Jamal McNeill 11 tackles. Ken Harris nine tackles.

Nile C. Kinnick — Leonard Lynce 172 yards total offense (91 yards, 15 carries; 81 yards, four catches); eight tackles. David McDermott 8-for-11, 121 yards. Jarvis Williams 54 yards, one touchdown, 10 carries; nine tackles.

Osan American — Terry Stephens 367 yards total offense, five touchdowns (343 yards, Korea single-game record and third-best in Pacific history, four touchdowns, 25 carries; 24-yard touchdown pass); one interception.

Taegu American — Daniel Pressley 145 yards total offense, one touchdown (114 yards, 13 carries; 31-yard touchdown catch). Sidney Washington 122 yards total offense, one touchdown (97 yards, 16 carries; 30-yard touchdown catch).

author picture
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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