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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Nothing, coaches and players say, is worse for a football team than having to sit idle, without a game, for whatever reason.

It has been doubly bad for Robert D. Edgren and American School In Japan, neither of which has played since the Mustangs topped the Eagles 23-13 on Sept. 18.

Edgren’s first game slipped away when Kadena balked at the cost for a visit on Sept. 26. Last week, ASIJ didn’t travel to Edgren because too many Mustangs had H1N1 flu.

That followed the cancellation of ASIJ’s home game against Zama on Sept. 25 for the same reason.

So, how does a coach keep his players honed to a fine edge, ready for action, when they have waited weeks to play?

“If a coach has the answer, it sure isn’t me,” Eagles coach Chris Waite said Wednesday, three days before visiting Nile C. Kinnick at Yokosuka Naval Base.

“It’s been tough. We practice as much as we can [but] you can’t recreate game conditions in practice.”

Compounding the Eagles’ rustiness is the 10-hour drive to Yokosuka and facing a Kinnick team that earned its first win last week.

As vocal as Zama’s and Edgren’s coaches and players were in their desire to play ASIJ, so, too, were the Mustangs upset at being sidelined, ASIJ’s athletics director John Smith said.

“It’s been a very frustrating year,” Smith said.

Neither of the games could be rescheduled, so they become forfeits — the only losses so far for the Mustangs (3-2).

This week, the Mustangs have practiced in “three days of horrible conditions” as Typhoon Melor approached Japan to prepare for Friday’s home game with Yokota.

“They have some guts about them,” Smith said. “We just want this game to be on Friday. We’ve already lost two games. We don’t want to lose a third.”

Helping Kadena avoid a similar plight was the fact that the Panthers played last Friday against Ryukyu University, the first meeting between the Japanese college/club team and an Okinawa Activities Council team since 2003.

“We had to bring them back,” coach Sergio Mendoza said on Tuesday, three days before Game 3 of the best-of-five OAC season series with Kubasaki. “We needed to play and shake the rust off.”

In the first quarter, the Panthers played “tenuous” ball, but “then we started clicking again,” Mendoza said. “It was great for us. We came out of it with no injuries, worked on things and got hungry to hit again.”

Scores and standings

DODEA Japan

W L Pct. PF PA

Yokota 4 1 .800 165 64

Zama American 3 1 .750 126 85

Robert D. Edgren 1 2 .333 81 82

Nile C. Kinnick 0 4 .000 39 181

Kanto Plain

W L Pct. PF PA

Zama American 3 1 .750 88 61

Yokota 3 1 .750 123 57

ASIJ 1 1 .500 45 8

Nile C. Kinnick 0 4 .000 45 185

Friday’s game

Yokota at ASIJ, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s game

Edgren at Kinnick 3 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 16

Zama at Edgren, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17

Kinnick at ASIJ, 1 p.m.

Kadena (Okinawa) at Yokota, 7 p.m.

DODEA Korea

W L Pct. PF PA

Daegu American 2 0 1.000 59 34

Osan American 1 2 .333 36 51

Seoul American 1 2 .333 34 44

Friday’s game

Seoul vs. Daegu at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 6 p.m.

Saturday’s game

Osan at Singapore Falcons, 3 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 16

Daegu at Seoul, 2 p.m.

Okinawa Activities Council

W L Pct. PF PA

Kadena 2 0 1.000 77 10

Kubasaki 0 2 .000 10 77

Friday’s game

Kubasaki vs. Kadena at Ryukyu Middle School, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 16

Ryukyu University at Kubasaki, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17

Kadena at Yokota, 7 p.m.

Guam

W L Pct. PF PA

Geo. Washington 5 0 1.000 216 7

Guam High 3 1 .750 60 68

John F. Kennedy 3 1 .750 49 38

Father Duenas 2 2 .500 79 59

Simon Sanchez 2 3 .400 12 81

Southern 0 4 .000 6 93

Okkodo 0 4 .000 0 76

Friday’s game

Simon Sanchez vs. Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington High School, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s games

Southern at Okkodo, 10 a.m.

John F. Kennedy at Guam High, 3 p.m.

The Top Ten

The Top Ten teams in the Stars and Stripes’ 2009 Far East high school football ratings, with records through Oct. 3, 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. Kadena, Okinawa 3-0 460 1

2. Geo. Washington, Guam 5-0 456 1

3. Zama American, Japan 4-1 452 5

4. Yokota, Japan 5-1 440 3

5. Daegu, South Korea 3-0 436 4

6. Guam High 3-1 432 5

7. ASIJ 3-2 420 7

8. Father Duenas, Guam 2-2 416 8

9. John F. Kennedy, Guam 3-1 412 9

10. Seoul American 1-2 372 —

Week 6 grid honors

Kinnick—Elijah Gamble 167 yards, 26 carries. Channing Meyer 7-for-13, 91 yards, 2 touchdowns. Nick White 2 ½ sacks, 3 batted passes.

Kubasaki—Josh Bales 164 yards, 1 touchdown, 30 carries. Andrew Haar 2 fumble recoveries.

Kadena—Shariff Coleman 163 yards, 3 touchdowns, 8 carries; 1 touchdown return.

Zama American—Michael Spencer 205 yards, 3 touchdowns, 28 carries. Mike Jorgenson 2 touchdown runs. Malcolm Franklin 2 fumble recoveries.

Yokota—Gerald McCloud 105 yards, 13 carries; 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception. DeEric Harvin 3-for-9, 46 yards, 1 touchdown; 49 yards, 11 carries.

Seoul American—Brandon Morton 5-for-17, 151 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 fumble recoveries. Adrian Thomas 156 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 catches.

Week 7 look ahead

Friday

Japan

Edgren at Kinnick, 7 p.m.: Eagles must shake off the rust of a three-week layoff on the road against a Red Devils team reveling in Spirit Week and rejuvenated after getting first win of season over Kubasaki. ... Eagles 21, Red Devils 17.

Yokota at American School In Japan, 7 p.m.: Speaking of teams coming off lengthy layoffs, the Mustangs host a Panthers team licking its wounds from that 33-6 loss at Zama last week. ... Panthers 20, Mustangs 14.

South Korea

Seoul American vs. Daegu American at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 6 p.m.: Falcons enter this one seeking payback for having had their homecoming spoiled last October by the Warriors. Won’t happen this time. ... Warriors 17, Falcons 13.

Okinawa

Kubasaki vs. Kadena at Ryukyu Middle School, 7 p.m.: Speaking of homecomings, the Panthers hope theirs is a happy one as they look to seal their fourth straight Okinawa Activities Council title and Class AA playoff berth. ... Panthers 22, Dragons 12.

Guam

Simon Sanchez vs. Father Duenas Memorial at George Washington High School, Mangilao, 7 p.m.: Friars hope their homecoming is just as joyous as they try to remain in the chase for one of two postseason first-round byes. ... Friars 18, Sharks 6.

Saturday

Guam

Southern at Okkodo, 10 a.m.: In a battle of the winless, give a slight edge to the Dolphins, who at least have experience, while the Bulldogs remain a startup unit. ... Dolphins 3, Bulldogs 2.

John F. Kennedy at Guam High, 3 p.m.: These two teams and the Friars are the ones chasing that second-place spot and first-round playoff bye. Panthers continue to show they’re for real this season. ... Panthers 21, Islanders 15.

Last week—1-2, .333.

Season—19-9, .679.

Midseason report card

Japan

Zama American (4-1) – What they’ve done: Move the ball as efficiently as at any time in school history; beaten Yokota for the first time since 1998. What they need: Keep healthy and remember, they’ve not won a thing yet; Oct. 16 at Edgren looms on the horizon, a Class A title-game berth on the line. Grade: A-.

Yokota (5-1) – What they’ve done: Clinched an 11th straight playoff berth. What they need: Help from other folks if an 11th straight DODEA Japan or Kanto Plain title is in the cards; a healthy Rainey Daley back in the lineup. Grade: B+

American School In Japan (3-2) – What they’ve done: Gone unbeaten on the field, demonstrated great balance on offense. What they need: Victories over Zama and Yokota, a way to reschedule two games lost to the flu. Grade: Incomplete.

Robert D. Edgren (2-3) – What they’ve done: Shown big-play capability, handled Kinnick easily 51-0 at home. What they need: On-field leadership, a victory by 17 or more points over Zama on Oct. 16. Grade: B-

Nile C. Kinnick (1-5) – What they’ve done: Found a passer in freshman wunderkind Channing Meyer, finally tasted victory over Kubasaki after a series of sound defeats. What they need: Keep the momentum going. Grade: C+

South Korea

Daegu American (3-0) – What they’ve done: Earned a breakout 23-point victory over perennial power Seoul, gone up 1-0 in the season series with Osan. What they need: To finish the job, beat Seoul Friday at homecoming and at Osan on Oct. 23 for first DODEA Korea title and a Class A title-game berth. Grade: A-

Seoul American (1-2) – What they’ve done: Rallied from the school’s first 0-2 start to avenge season-opening loss at Osan. What they need: Exact revenge on Daegu for last year’s homecoming debacle, and remember they can still win their third Class AA title in four years. Grade: C+

Osan American (1-2) – What they’ve done: Started the season on the right foot, beating Seoul at home on Cougars’ new field turf. What they need: A rousing performance Saturday at Singapore, somehow manage to beat Daegu by 24 or more points on Oct. 23. Grade: C.

Okinawa

Kadena (3-0) – What they’ve done: Gone up 2-0 on Kubasaki in race for Okinawa’s Class AA playoff berth, found a truly explosive weapon in Shariff Coleman. What they need: Very little other than stay healthy, win Friday’s homecoming game so they can use the Oct. 23 game at Kubasaki to try things and tune up for playoffs. Grade: A+

Kubasaki (0-3) — What they’ve done: Went up 10-0 on Kadena in first half of first game before Panthers scored 27 unanswered. What they need: Cash in on opportunities like the two late ones that slipped away Saturday at Kinnick, remember to play all 48 minutes. Grade: C-.

Guam

Guam High (3-1) – What they’ve done: Beaten Simon Sanchez and Father Duenas Memorial in the same season for the first time, improved to a school-best record after four games. What they need: Beat George Washington for the championship this time. Grade: A-.

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