Rebuilt line will be key to Kubasaki's success
Stars and Stripes August 29, 2011
Seventh in a series of high school previews.
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Cristian Rivera-to-Brandon Crawford may be the most prolific passing combination in coach Fred Bales’ seven years at the helm of Kubasaki’s football program.As juniors last year, Rivera went 73-for-129 for 1,140 yards and nine touchdowns, eight of them to Crawford, who caught 34 aerials for 708 yards as Kubasaki improved from 1-7 in 2009 to 6-3 a year ago and third place in the Far East Division I playoffs.They’re back as seniors, but Bales has to wonder and worry about whether a young, inexperienced line can hold up its end, and how to replace Deon Lewis, who set an Okinawa single-season record with 1,221 yards while scoring 15 touchdowns on 117 carries.“Total rebuild in the offensive and defensive lines,” Bales said.For that reason, Bales sounded a cautionary note about his team’s chances against a two-time defending D-I champion Kadena program.The Panthers have run the table on the Dragons since the 2006 season, but will begin this season with just two returning players and must replace the 5,118-yard, 69-touchdown production of departed running backs Shariff Coleman and Thomas McDonald.“Kadena has a veteran coaching staff, good athletes and a good program,” Bales said. “Until proven otherwise, they’re the black-and-gold standard for Pacific Division I football. Three titles in six years of D-I football. That says a lot.”The Dragons have gotten more help along the sidelines in the form of two new assistant coaches.-- Tony Alvarado joins Bales’ staff after serving as an assistant for five years under Marcus George at Ansbach, Germany. Alvarado coached Osan American to the Pacific’s first D-II championship, a 16-14 win over Robert D. Edgren in 2005.-- Bill Riggs transfers to Kubasaki from Daegu American, where he helped the Warriors reach the D-II title game in 2007, the first of Daegu’s three D-II finals appearances, the last one resulting in the title last November.“We’ve been fortunate to have an outstanding group of coaches,” Bales said. “We’re thrilled to have them (Alvardo and Riggs) on our staff.”firstname.lastname@example.org