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Kadena Islanders players perform a rope agility drill during a practice Wednesday at Kadena High School's lower practice field on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. The Islanders, 5-0 so far this season, host the Kubasaki Samurai in the Okinawa Activities Council regular-season finale on Friday.
Kadena Islanders players perform a rope agility drill during a practice Wednesday at Kadena High School's lower practice field on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. The Islanders, 5-0 so far this season, host the Kubasaki Samurai in the Okinawa Activities Council regular-season finale on Friday. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Even with Friday’s games remaining in the regular season and the island playoffs still a week away, in some coaches’ minds the Okinawa Activities Council football postseason already has begun.

True, the Kadena Islanders already have locked up the regular-season championship. And the playoff pairings already have been determined, with the Islanders facing the last-place Kubasaki Shogun and the middle two teams, the Kadena Buccaneers and Kubasaki Samurai, squaring off Oct. 29.

So why does Islanders coach Sergio Mendoza view this as a dangerous time?

In his mind, one misstep — even in a seemingly meaningless regular-season finale — ultimately could lead to his team’s downfall.

“We could lose everything we’ve been working for if we don’t take this game, and all other games, seriously,” Mendoza said.

Led by senior running backs Keith Loving and David McCowan, his Islanders have bulldozed their way to a 5-0 mark.

“You can throw all that out,” Mendoza said.

Letting up even a little, he said, can destroy everything for which they have worked.

“We have to stay focused,” he said, adding that if the Islanders enter Friday’s game against the Samurai “with a lackadaisical attitude, it can bring a distraction for us going into the playoffs that we don’t need."

Such a distraction would be very similar to what the Islanders experienced last year, when they also opened 5-0, but lost two of their last three.

“Everything’s unsettled,” he said. “We have to prove ourselves all over again. We have to battle that little thing called complacency.”

Meanwhile the Shogun, winless thus far, enter this weekend and the playoffs with a “nothing-to-lose” mind-set.

Friday’s game with the Buccaneers “could be a stepping-stone” toward the Shogun becoming a playoff spoiler and be a confidence builder, coach Charles Burns said.

For the Buccaneers, a victory Friday and a Samurai loss to the Islanders would give coach Brian Wetherington’s team the No. 2 playoff seed and a “psychological edge.”

“It’s important just for the fact that we’d like to be considered the No. 2 team on the island,” he said. “That says we’re a little stronger than [the Samurai] are.”

Standings

Japan

W L Pct. PF PA

Yokota 6 0 1.000 229 21

Nile C. Kinnick 4 1 .800 142 33

Robert D. Edgren 2 4 .333 76 168

Amer. School In Japan 1 4 .200 49 156

Zama American 1 5 .167 48 166

Friday, Oct. 22

Zama American at Robert D. Edgren, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 23

Nile C. Kinnick at American School In Japan, 1 p.m.

Okinawa Activities Council

W L Pct. PF PA

Kadena Islanders 5 0 1.000 136 48

Kubasaki Samurai 3 2 .600 95 99

Kadena Buccaneers 2 3 .400 74 102

Kubasaki Shogun 0 5 .000 47 103

Friday, Oct. 22

Kubasaki Samurai at Kadena Islanders, 3 p.m.

Kadena Buccaneers at Kubasaki Shogun, 7 p.m.

End regular season

Guam

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Father Duenas 5 0 1.000 165 32

George Washington 4 1 .800 101 14

Simon Sanchez 3 2 .600 118 58

Guam High 2 3 .400 98 86

Southern 2 3 .400 16 114

y-John F. Kennedy 1 4 .200 62 48

Guam Int. Christ. Acad. 1 5 .167 35 233

x-clinched regular-season championship, first-round bye in island playoffs.

y-forfeited two victories for using an ineligible player.

Friday’s game

Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s games

Southern at John F. Kennedy, 3 p.m.

Simon Sanchez vs. Guam High at Naval Station, 7 p.m.

End regular season

Korea

W L Pct. PF PA

x-Seoul American 3 0 1.000 87 13

Osan American 1 2 .333 39 40

Taegu American 0 2 .000 0 73

x-clinched league title.

Saturday’s game

Seoul American at Taegu American, 2 p.m.

Top 10

The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes’ 2004 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Oct. 12, 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) 6-0 464 1

2. Father Duenas (Guam) 5-0 452 2

3. Kadena Islanders (Okinawa) 3-0 448 3

4. Seoul American 3-0 428 4

5. Nile C. Kinnick (Japan) 4-1 404 5

6. George Washington (Guam) 4-1 384 9

7. Simon Sanchez (Guam) 3-2 380 8

8. Kubasaki Samurai (Okinawa) 3-2 372 6

9. Kadena Buccaneers (Okinawa 2-3 356 --

10. Osan Amer. (South Korea) 1-2 332 10

Dave Ornauer's Week 8 outlook

Friday, Oct. 22

Robert D. Edgren 14, Zama American 12

Kadena Buccaneers 18, Kubasaki Shogun 6

Kadena Islanders 20, Kubasaki Samurai 13

Father Duenas 23, George Washington 9

Saturday, Oct. 23

John F. Kennedy 21, Southern 8

Simon Sanchez 25, Guam High 11

Seoul American 22, Taegu American 8

Kinnick 24, American School In Japan 10

Last week: 3-2, .600

Season: 36-9, .800.

Week 7 grid honors

Osan American-Terry Stephens 269 yards, two touchdowns, 27 carries; one forced fumble, one sack. J.D. Fuiamono two interceptions.

Seoul American-Bruce Voelker 14-for-21, 160 yards, one touchdown. Leo Kim 12 tackles, one fumble recovery. Kris Stadler 110 yards, one touchdown, 10 carries. Leo Pacheco 94 yards, one touchdown, six carries. Phillippe Anglade 68 yards, one touchdown, four catches.

Robert D. Edgren-Jeff Fotakis 91 yards, 16 carries; one interception. Terry Ashton two halfback option passes to Charles Whatley for 90 yards.

Kadena Islanders-Keith Loving 119 all-purpose yards, one touchdown (110 yards, one touchdown, eight carries; 9 yards, one return). Eric Robinson 95-yard fumble-return touchdown. Hunter Harveston one sack, one punt block.

Kubasaki Shogun-Rafael Mew 5-for-10, 98 yards, one touchdown; one interception. Ronnie Stephens 86 yards, one touchdown, three catches.

Kadena Buccaneers-Darnell Womach 222 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns (68 yards, one touchdown, 17 carries; 25 yards, one catch; 129 yards, one touchdown, three returns); one fumble recovery. Tyler Schmidt 185 all-purpose yards, one touchdown (56 yards, 10 carries; 4-for-11, 66 yards, one touchdown; 63 yards, two returns); two interceptions. Gary Wright 24-yard touchdown catch; two interceptions.

Kubasaki Samurai-Justin Daugherty 9-for-22, 106 yards, two touchdowns. Stephen Thompson 83 yards, two touchdowns, six catches; one interception. Ricky Jones two fumble recoveries. Jake Bilyew two interceptions, one punt block.

Yokota-Chris Roach 266 all-purpose yards, four touchdowns (225 yards, four touchdowns, 26 carries; 41 yards, two returns). Shawn Novak 3-for-5, 81 yards, one touchdown. Kenny Harris 78 yards, one touchdown, two catches. Jamal McNeill 9 tackles. Mike Herron 9 tackles. Josh Cunningham 8 tackles.

Zama American-Chris Johnson 74 yards, 14 carries.

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