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It’s not enough that Kadena’s final regular-season football game decides who will face Kubasaki on Nov. 7 in the Far East Division I championship game.

It also caps homecoming week for the Panthers, which, while a fun and sentimental time for any high school, comes complete with its own set of pressures, demands and distractions for football players facing divided loyalties – to team and to their respective classes.

No wonder Kadena coach Sergio Mendoza also feels conflicted, wanting a fun homecoming for the school but, at the same time, wishing homecoming was held during another week.

“Yeah, like, last year,” he said, only half jokingly and adding that he felt sure a majority of Pacific coaches would say that “it’s their least favorite week of the season because of the distractions.”

“It is a distracting week, but we do the best we can with it.”

The Panthers host American School In Japan. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Ryukyu Middle School’s Habu Field.

For each team, the equation is simple: Win or go home. Whichever team wins gets the chance to play the Dragons for the title at 6 p.m. Nov. 7.

None of the other handful of games have much bearing in the standings.

Robert D. Edgren plays at Zama on Friday, a makeup of a game originally scheduled for Sept. 11 but postponed by heavy rain.

Matthew C. Perry on Saturday visits Daegu in a rematch of the Division II title game last year. The night before, Humphreys travels to Seoul American for their DODDS Korea season finale.

Guam hosts Southern in the Interscholastic Football League’s third-place game at 7 p.m. Friday. The next night, Father Duenas and George Washington tangle for the island championship.

Off the field and indoors, Korea’s top boys and girls volleyball teams square off in the league’s Blue Division tournaments, boys at Humphreys and girls at Seoul American.

The Korea tennis season also ends with the Blue and Red Division tournaments, at Seoul Foreign and Chadwick International.

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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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