Pearl City's Cyrus Coen is a man in constant motion and has the grades and game to show for it
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 10, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 01:56 a.m. HST, Aug 20, 2010
In an era of specialization, Cyrus Coen defies generalities.
There are hundreds of football players in public schools in Hawaii, but how many of them have done as much as Coen?
The Pearl City senior has a 3.8 grade-point average and a 1,630 SAT score and actually enjoys physics and English classes. So much for the disruption of basic spelling due to modern texting. In fact, Coen goes one step further, disassembling any notion that local kids don't like speaking in public. It's the "speak out" portion of Mr. (Ed) Duggan's English class he enjoys most.
All of that would be nice enough for any student, but Coen also has a penchant for defending turf. The 6-foot, 205-pound safety is one of the best in the state, even as the Chargers wallow in Division II of the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
Thursday's scrimmage against perennial power Waianae was the clearest evidence that Coen and his teammates have overcome a lack of numbers (36 suited up) and size. They kept pace with the visiting Seariders by sheer technique -- staying low and wrapping up Waianae's ball carriers most of the night -- and willpower.
Stepping in at middle linebacker due to academic casualties, Coen roamed sideline to sideline making tackles along with state champion wrestler and linebacker Ray Cooper, his best friend.
Coen also stepped up offensively, taking a pitch on a speed option 90 yards for the Chargers' lone touchdown. He cut back from the right sideline to the left, leaving Waianae's rugged defense in his tracks on a third-and-20 play.
"We'd rather surprise other teams and just focus on what we do," Coen said.
His 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash doesn't just carry over to the football field. His acceleration and ability to finish plays should carry far more weight, but Pearl City is a recruiting magnet in baseball and soccer, not so much in football.
So far, Stanford and Oregon State have made contact with Coen.
After a stellar junior season -- 67 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, plus eight touchdowns on offense, and punting and kick-return duties -- it might be too difficult to ignore Coen's feats. He remains, however, a secret hidden away.
"He doesn't say a lot. It's hard to get words out of him," Pearl City coach Kai Kamaka said. "When he says something, it's subtle."
Kamaka, a former MMA athlete, saw Coen's older brother Norman leave before his senior season to play for an uncle in Idaho.
Cyrus has no such intention. As soon as the track season ended -- he threw the discus and ran the 100-meter dash and 200 relay -- he was cranking iron in the weight room at 24-Hour Fitness with stepbrother Terence Songsong. Six days per week, the weights and the field -- combine drills including the 40-yard dash -- were Coen's staples.
He's gained 30 pounds since the start of high school.
"I actually think I got a lot stronger. We're having fun. I like the intensity," he said. "The offseason is the most important time of year."
All the time and energy spent in the summer make the brighter moments shine a little more.
"Waianae came in playing with 80 guys and we had only 36," he said. "That's a real big statement."
PREP PREVIEWThe Star-Advertiser kicked off the high school football season with unprecedented coverage, featuring top players at each position and counting down to the top teams in the state. See below for past and upcoming stories.
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