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Coaches meeting gets state football tourney under way

By Paul Honda


They flew in from near and far, five days before the start of the state football championships.

No, by Friday, it will be all business, and with Kahuku and ‘Iolani seeded first in Division I and II, respectively, all teams are taking aim. The state tournament kicked off Sunday morning with a coaches meeting at Aloha Stadium.

In Division I, second-seeded Punahou will have a bye. Oahu Interscholastic Association members Farrington and Leilehua will board planes this week: Farrington visits Baldwin and Leilehua goes to Kealakehe.

In D-II, No. 2 seed Waipahu also rests this week. Konawaena, the surprise of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, will travel to Lahainaluna. In the other opening-round matchup, Pearl City will travel to Kauai, though the Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion has yet to be crowned. The deciding game between Kapaa and Waimea on Saturday was postponed due to lightning, so the teams will bring new meaning to Monday night football when they meet tonight.

Farrington, ranked No. 1 in the Star-Advertiser Football Top 10 nearly the length of the regular season and playoffs, will need some bounce in its step. After a resounding 23-0 loss to Kahuku in the final of the OIA Red playoffs, the Govs have little time to dwell on the end of an unbeaten run. Baldwin's defense, one of the best in the program's history, will take no pity.

"I would've rather stayed home, but obviously Kahuku earned the right," Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. "The traveling shouldn't be too bad, I think. Friday is a holiday, so we won't have the distraction of school."

There are bus rides far longer than the interisland flight.

"Maui is a 25-minute flight, so it's not as long as a drive to Kahuku," Okimoto added.

Baldwin's defensive unit has been a jewel, stacked with size and speed.

"The boys are excited. They're ready to go. They've gotten closer and we've gotten better as a whole," coach A.J. Roloos said. "Farrington's going to do what they do. They're going to run the ball and keep it inside the tackles. They've got the No. 1 running back in the state (Tyler Taumua) — why wouldn't you try and run?"

The teams last met in 2007 at War Memorial Stadium, when the Bears won with Jordan Helle at quarterback.

Kealakehe made strides after some tumultuous changes in the offseason. First-year head coach Sam Kekuaokalani, who is also the varsity boys basketball coach, has corralled a veteran staff. Defensive coordinator Sam Papalii, the former head coach, and the staff have done much of the heavy lifting.

"What's progressed the most is the mentality of the boys, the bigger goal, of what needs to be done," Kekuaokalani said. "We're a lot more physical this year and that comes from Coach Papalii."

With starting quarterback Tyler Yates done for the year due to a knee injury, the load is now squarely on the shoulders of the defense.

"Leilehua is well-coached, well-disciplined and they execute. They may not be the biggest, but speed kills," Kekuaokalani said.

Kahuku last won the state title in 2006 in Reggie Torres' first season as head coach.

"We're happy to be here in the state tournament," Torres said, noting that all the driving between the North Shore and town is worth every drop of gas. "I've been here three days straight."

The Red Raiders' title win was on Friday, and Torres' son, Richard, played in the University of Hawaii's game against Utah State on Saturday.

"It was a physical game against Farrington. We do have a lot of kids who are banged up. That's why we're so fortunate to get that bye," he said. "But we've got to clean up our practices so we're up-tempo and be ready for the game."

Punahou, like Kahuku, has an opening-round bye as the No. 2 seed.

"I think you could make a case for us this year, being first (seeded), but Kahuku beat a great Farrington team in the final of the OIA, so it's accurate," Punahou coach Kale Ane said.

"I'm sure it makes a difference to people, which is nice. But both teams (Kahuku, Punahou) get a bye, both will play difficult teams. The bye is critical for all of us. It's definitely an advantage."

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OregonRedRaider wrote:
"I think you could make a case for us this year, being first (seeded), but Kahuku beat a great Farrington team in the final of the OIA, so it's accurate," Punahou coach Kale Ane said..... WHAT??? Come on there coach, the last time you guys were any good you had Manti and Robi, both Red Raiders 4 life...anyways, that was a pretty good one lol....c/o 87
on November 7,2011 | 03:35AM
Felix_TLK wrote:
Kahuku supporters need to knock it off with the complaining about "recruiting." Here are three good examples of Kahuku doing just that: 1. In 2005 the Kahuku football team brought in a key player from the mainland in the middle of the season. I don't know the name but I believe it was Manti Teo's cousin. 2. A couple of years ago they signed up kicker Cameron Mercado from out of state. He hadn't even lived in Hawaii prior to joining Kahuku. 3. After Micah Strickland was kicked out of Punahou he promptly ended up at Kahuku even though he had never lived anywhere near the North Shore prior to that. Last year Kahuku got caught for using an ineligible player. How many other ineligible players have they used over the years before finally getting caught? You can bet Punahou does not use ineligible players and Punahou athletes have to go to class and do their schoolwork.
on November 7,2011 | 01:02PM
kahuku01 wrote:
There is a difference between recruiting and wanting to play for a winning tradition. The players that transfer to Kahuku from the mainland are originally from Kahuku and return because they want to play for the Red Raiders. Kahuku have also lost key players this year because they have chosen to play in the mainland (Utah) and it just becomes a matter of reloading. The fact of the matter is, athletes do not gain better college prep education or FINANCIAL AID (not scholarship) at Kahuku or public schools like a private school would offer so there would be no advantage of recruiting. Mercado came from out of state (Florida) seeking to play for a winning tradition and father and son decided to play for the Red Raiders. Strickland lived in Kaaawa and since was kicked out of Punahou, attended Kahuku for his senior year. The ineligible player last year was an administrative mix-up and the player wasn't a starter or made an impact of each game but Kahuku administration volunteered the findings and accepted the forfeiture of all games by the OIA. Before accusing Kahuku of having ineligible players, please have your facts readily available. Assumptions or chirping nonsense reveals a sense of jealousy but Kahuku will have strong and talented athletes for the next 20 years and recruiting isn't necessary because athletes are willing to play for a winning tradition and their goal is to be a RED RAIDER FOR LIFE. Any eligible athlete that would like to play or return to Kahuku is always welcome and recruiting is not in the making because it's the family tradition that attracts these talented athletes.
on November 7,2011 | 03:17PM
motoxdad wrote:
When you recruit an athlete in any sport you have to offer that athlete something. All Kahuku has to offer is a public shcool education, a dirt and rock filled football feild, a leaky gym, a dusty and weeded track and when it rains it become the schools pool, and so much more to point out. So, before you accuse a team of "recruiting" go and find out what the word really means. for your fist example, if you don't know, then you don't know. And your second, Cameron was from Florida who moved to Kuilima and yea it was for football, did Reggie go out and "recruit" him? no way, not even McMackin who has something to "offer" is that ambiciouse. It just shows you how much impact Kahuku football has on people, if the kids are going to come it's not going to be through the coaches or the administration, they are going to come on their own. and your third don't even make any sense, why would they recriut a running back when all they breed is running backs on the North Shore, and you said it "prior", HE found HIS way to his aunties house in Kaaawa. Now for your ignorant comment about the Ineligible player, the ILH been playing 5th year seniors for years, it's only when the state tournament was implemented did they stop, only becauase the rule say that you can't be 19yrs old and play in the tourny and that leveled the playing feild. go ask Cal lee how hard it was to win with out 5th year seniors now if you want to talk about recruiting, that's the name your post should mention.
on November 7,2011 | 07:42PM
Anonymous wrote:
Good one Kale Ane, I needed a laugh today...
on November 7,2011 | 08:05AM
ss7 wrote:
Well this year, there aren't any "Red Raiders 4 life" on the Punahou team. Who would've thought Punahou could do it without them...too much! Its funny how Punahou never gets credit for their wins, there's always an excuse.....boys were injured, they recruit well, or they stole kids from Kahuku. Give the boys a little credit! Just because everyone thinks they're unworthy, i hope they blow everybody this year!
on November 7,2011 | 09:32AM
McGarret wrote:
Wait until next season, Kukui High. Go Nuts!
on November 7,2011 | 09:54AM
ss7 wrote:
Cheeehoooo, Lmbo!
on November 7,2011 | 11:03AM
sugz93 wrote:
Div I State Chamionship game will be Kahuku vs Farrington...Kahuku wins again Div II State Chamionship game will be Iolani vs Waipahu...Waipahu takes it home
on November 7,2011 | 01:52PM
motoxdad wrote:
1 or 2 coach you still have a bye, and what would you have want to see, kahuku and farrington #1 and # 2 in the same bracket. this is the most common sense way to make the brackets, or is it the number 1 that you want?
on November 7,2011 | 06:00PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
At the end of the Kahuku Farrington matchup, OC-16 showed the Raiders-Governors in a circle and saying a prayer. With players from each team intertwined amongst each other. That is true sportsmanship. LUV YA GOVS . . . FHS class of 1975, Raymond Haynes #5 remember me from our recent reunion??? Love ya Farrington !!!! Coach Okimoto bring home a STATE CHAMPIONSHIP to Farrington, formerly a member of the ILH.
on November 8,2011 | 12:03AM
kahuku01 wrote:
That was a show of class and sportsmanship by both players and coaching staff. You won't witness moments like that very often by other teams coming together after a title game and it was truly an exciting and hard fought (clean) game. Hats off to the Govs for good sportsmanship. Good luck to both teams in the state playoff.
on November 8,2011 | 05:33AM
Mulepower wrote:
Go MULES!!!!! Not the best but, hard to beat. Undersized, underappreciated, underestimated. Small plantation kids just having fun!
on November 8,2011 | 06:25AM
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