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Farrington faces the unknown

By Paul Honda

LAST UPDATED: 01:41 a.m. HST, Nov 10, 2011

They’ve gone down this road before, but perhaps never with so much expectation.

The Farrington Governors saw a perfect season — and a rare No. 1 ranking — slip away with a loss to Kahuku.

The good news is the Govs play in the Oahu Interscholastic Association, where three Red Conference teams get state-tournament berths.

Sure enough, almost on schedule, Farrington will pack up for a trip to Maui on Friday. The Govs, ranked No. 2 in the Star-Advertiser Football Top 10, will meet up with the Baldwin Bears at War Memorial Stadium in the Division I opening round of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships.

Four years ago, the Governors went this route and met a prolific passing attack led by Jordan Helle. At that time, Baldwin was ranked No. 2 in the state and Farrington was seventh. The Bears won 26-14 and advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to Leilehua.

Two years ago, Farrington traveled to the Big Island and trounced Honokaa 48-16. Farrington then lost in overtime to Kahuku in the semifinals. Honokaa, a smaller school, moved down to Division II after that season.

This year’s Governors (10-1) feature a smashmouth ground game with a little more girth up front and a little more savvy in the backfield.

Baldwin’s run-and-shoot ways of years past have been more run than shoot lately, but the Bears are all about defense this year.

On paper: If the nuances of Baldwin’s offense and defense are a mystery to OIA fans, the opposite is true of Farrington, which has been on statewide TV often enough to showcase a stellar defense and the state’s leading rusher.


Aug. 13: Kamehameha W, 26-21
Aug. 20: ‘Iolani W, 42-7
Aug. 26: Kaiser W, 46-0
Sept. 3: Castle W, 50-13
Sept. 9: Kailua W, 25-0
Sept. 16: Roosevelt W, 63-0
Oct. 1: Kahuku W, 14-13
Oct. 7: Moanalua W, 28-24
OIA Playoffs
Oct. 21: Mililani W, 25-20
Oct. 28: Campbell W, 27-24
Nov. 4: Kahuku L, 23-0
Recent state history
2010: Did not qualify
2009: Lost to Kahuku in semifinals
2008: Lost to Punahou in semifinals
2007: Lost to Baldwin in first round


Oct. 26: Edison (Calif.) L, 48-10
Sept. 2: Lahainaluna W, 40-0
Sept. 9: Kamehameha-Maui W, 41-7
Sept. 17: King Kekaulike W, 43-0
Sept. 23: Maui W, 42-6
Oct. 7: Kamehameha-Maui W, 33-22
Oct. 14: King Kekaulike W, 28-6
Oct. 22: Maui W, 30-0
Nov. 4: Lahainaluna W, 41-0
Recent state history
2010: Lost to Leilehua in first round
2009: Lost to Leilehua in first round
2008: Lost to Leilehua in first round
2007: Lost to Leilehua in semifinals

Tyler Taumua has racked up 1,624 yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 games. At 8.1 yards per carry, only twice has the junior been limited to fewer than 100 yards. The first came against Moanalua (35 yards in an injury-shortened stint), the second (19 yards on 11 carries) last Friday in the 23-0 loss to Kahuku.

Baldwin (8-1) has been untested in Maui Interscholastic League play since a nonconference loss to Edison (Calif.). In the MIL, the Bears allowed double-digit points just once, a 33-22 win over Kamehameha-Maui. As a unit, the Bears surrender just 59 rushing yards per game.

Baldwin’s offense has been heavily dependent on quarterback Keelan Ewaliko, who passed for more than 1,000 yards and rushed for 811 yards and 12 touchdowns, second only to teammate Vetekina Malafu (828 yards, 12 touchdowns).

“We’re young up front and the receiving corps is young, but they’ve all jelled together. Whatever the defense gives us, we’ll take,” coach A.J. Roloos said. “Keelan has gotten stronger from last year. He’s added about 10 or 15 pounds. He’s gotten faster and his arm strength is unbelievable. He does his reads correctly and we run the ball a lot since we’ve got him and Vetekina in the backfield.”

The Bears mix their traditional shotgun with pistol sets.

“I don’t think we took a snap under center all year,” Roloos added.

Farrington coach Randall Okimoto remembers the past, but is confident about facing another four-wide offense.

“Baldwin is always competitive. They’re the team to beat from Maui. They run run-and-shoot stuff, so it’s nothing we haven’t played against,” he said, noting a playoff win over Campbell and its run-and-shoot offense.

After years of facing pass-happy Leilehua in the postseason, the Bears are almost relieved to face an old-school offense.

“The good thing is we’re facing a good Farrington team that’s heavy on the run,” Roloos said. “Our defense, our core is our line and our linebackers. If you’re rushing, you’re rushing into the teeth of our defense.”

Pasoni Tasini (6 feet 4, 245 pounds) and Vili Tolutau (5-10, 190) anchor the defensive line.

“Most teams run away from Pasoni because he’s strong, he’s quick. He’s just an unreal athlete,” Roloos said. “Farrington’s going to do what they’re going to do and run, I would say, 80 percent of the time. That’s their offense. We’ll prepare for their passing game, too, but they have the No. 1 running back in the state.”

Okimoto isn’t about to change gears.

“We played a top defense in Kahuku, so I don’t think anyone’s got a tougher defense,” he said.

The skinny: The Bears aren’t about to shy away from a physical battle in the trenches. When they beat Farrington in the ’07 state tournament, it was Roloos’ first swing through the postseason as a head coach. Whether they can contain Farrington’s play-action game, featuring receiver Toma Barrett, is a key question.

In Baldwin’s win over Kamehameha-Maui, Warriors wide receiver Daylan Machado struck early for an 80-yard touchdown catch.

The Bears have a history of standing up to smashmouth offenses from Oahu, but with so much time since they last met a physically equal front, it might take some time to get used to the brutality of Farrington’s offensive line, the “Bamboolas.”

Conversely, the Governors haven’t seen a lot of mobile, experienced quarterbacks with numbers like Ewaliko’s (14 touchdown passes, only six picks).

Farrington linebacker Semo Sila will be on the lookout for Ewaliko’s trickery, no doubt.

X factor: Farrington racked up 132 yards in penalties in the loss to Kahuku, and quarterback Travis Tamatua finished the game with nine consecutive incompletions, including two picks.

Establishing the ground game is key for the Govs, and if they force Baldwin into putting eight men in the box, Barrett and Tamatua could have career-best games.

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OregonRedRaider wrote:
Lets go OIA....Go Govs till we meet in the finals...then is Go Big Red...
on November 10,2011 | 01:28AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
What year u grad?
on November 10,2011 | 07:35AM
OregonRedRaider wrote:
C/o '87
on November 10,2011 | 04:48PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Me, class of 1975. So I am 54 years old and you are 42 years old. Okay, not too much of an age gap. Sometimes I drive around island and stop at The Kahuku Superette. I have a friend who played for Kahuku in the early 1990s. I am the rare person who likes both my own Alma Mater and their fiercest rival, Kahuku, in football. Thanks, Bud.
on November 10,2011 | 06:00PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I went to Baldwin High School in 1974 and 1975 as part of the Farrington High School boy's Rifle Team State Championships. In those days, 22-caliber rifles were used, instead of the air rifles nowadays. I did okay, however being on the "road" was kind of "scary" as of course shooting in the home court rifle range ROTC at FHS, at Leilehua, at Kamehameha, at Saint Louis, at McKinley, etc. Riflery was using real bullets, so if we were not careful, we could actually kill people. I was fairly good, at i was high shooter only once in my two year letter career, shooting a 274 in 1974. That time I was on. I never shot 100 in prone. Of course standing was the worse, because you have the rifle swinging around without any support. I think I had something like 99-89-86, for prone, kneeling and standing at Farrington's Rifle Range. My average was 267. Not a bowling score, a riflery score. Anyway, go Govs.
on November 10,2011 | 02:06AM
Sunny wrote:
Interesting but, what does this have to do with football? Did you know that they main buildings of Farrington and Baldwin used the same blueprints? Take a look when you get a chance, the front of the schools are nearly identical.
on November 10,2011 | 06:32AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Travel. It was the first time that I flew on a plane to anywhere. I bonded with some of my friends. Shall I drop some names. Clarence Martinez, William Pratt and Bill Garcia. I was number four as far as average my Senior Year. I think we use the top ten scores in a match to count for our team totals. Leilehua was very good for both the men and women in the OIA. Saint Louis and Punahou was great in the ILH. We went on home and away in the OIA, and we occasionally visited Saint Louis and Kamehameha. Punahou did not have a rifle range, so they had to compete always on the road. Clarence was number one because he also was The Batalion Commander in ROTC and I believe his rank was Major. I did not get fazed by that because I took an Analytic Geometry class with him in our Senior Year at Farrrington, Class of 1975. Bill, William and myself were also in ROTC, however we never were the polished leader that Clarence was. It could be the first time that a lot of the football players on Farrington's team would fly to anywhere. You know, going on the Road??? Thank goodness Baldwin is not in Utah. Enough facts. The moral of the story is that going to the Neighbor Island is a jaunt. Naturally I am not a football player however I am for the Governors of Farrington High School.
on November 10,2011 | 07:09AM
Sunny wrote:
Wow lau lau!
on November 10,2011 | 07:32AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Like Jay Leno says, give facts when people doubt if one is bluffing or not.
on November 10,2011 | 11:58AM
Anonymous wrote:
this story is not about you, it's about the kids from Farrinton and Baldwin, your glory shooting days is long gone.
on November 10,2011 | 06:57AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Yah, like your glory is gone because u had to be anonymized.
on November 10,2011 | 07:00AM
motoxdad wrote:
OK HonoluluHawaii, i guess your parent's were really creative with your name. he's right the story is about the kids, not you, like sunny said "wow laulau"
on November 10,2011 | 07:29PM
kekiokaaina1 wrote:
Good Luck Governors, I'll be cheering all away from the Rocky Mtns!
on November 10,2011 | 02:03PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
can u watch OC16 on your PC ???
on November 10,2011 | 06:30PM
stanmanley wrote:
If there is anything sweeter than a public school beating a private, it's when a neighbor island school beat an Oahu school. Congrats Baldwin on a great and gutsy win!!!
on November 11,2011 | 07:54PM