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Typhoon Bolaven, forecast to slam into Okinawa on Sunday, caused the first weather-related sports casualty of the 2012-13 school year when DODDS-Pacific officials canceled Saturday’s Osan American at Kadena football game.

It was supposed to be the first inter-district, inter-division game played under DODDS-Pacific’s new everybody-plays-everybody football format adopted at last spring’s Far East Athletics Council meeting.

“Several factors were taken into consideration” in deciding to cancel the game, said Far East athletics coordinator Don Hobbs.

With most of Kadena Air Base’s football fields under some form of renovation and construction, the only field available was Kadena High School’s upper field.

It does not hold water well. Showers associated with Bolaven are forecast to begin at noon Saturday, with a chance of thunderstorms. “You can’t play in lightning,” Hobbs said.

Osan was scheduled to return to South Korea on Sunday, when Bolaven is forecast to lash Okinawa with winds peaking at 138 mph, 167-mph gusts and heavy rain.

“There’s a good chance the airport would be closed, and it’s important for the kids to be back to Osan in time for the first day of school” on Monday, Hobbs said. “All of that was taken into consideration.”

Coaches of both teams expressed disappointment at the news.

“It’s too bad for our boys,” Osan coach Duke Allen said, adding that with a bye week Aug. 31-Sept. 1, he’s looking for alternatives, such as playing Seoul American’s JV, playing a Korean team or even inviting American School In Japan, which doesn’t play until Sept. 7, to play.

Osan’s next scheduled inter-area game is a Sept. 8 Division II clash at Robert D. Edgren, a game that counts toward Far East playoff position. “Without having played a game, we’re going to be at a huge disadvantage,” Allen said.

“I hope we can reschedule and get the game in,” Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza said.

Kadena next hosts Seoul American on Sept. 1.

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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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