POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 31, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 10:52 p.m. HST, Jul 31, 2013
Entering his 23rd year as ‘Iolani head football coach, Wendell Look is the dean of the ILH.
And if it’s up to him, he will stay that way awhile.
“As long as I can get up out of bed on my own and stand on my two feet and get myself to the field,”
Look said about his coaching future. “And as long as they’ll continue to have me.”
That seems a given considering the dynasty Look, who is 161-100-3 as the Raiders’ coach, has built the last decade.
‘Iolani, which checks in at No. 8 in the 2013 Star-Advertiser preseason top 10 poll, has won nine straight ILH Division II titles and six consecutive state championships.
The Raiders will have their work cut out for them this year replacing three-year starting quarterback Reece Foy, who threw for 6,620 yards and amassed a 26-10 record as a starter.
It’s a two-way battle between senior Easton Tsubata (6-1, 187), who served as the backup last season, and junior Austin JimOn (5-9, 143).
“(The job) is still up for grabs,” Look said before the team left over the weekend for its yearly training camp in Waialua. “Easton has been here three years and is the one to get the shot but Austin is a guy who is here to compete and sees no problem with either of them — they have a good relationship.”
With the season opener 10 days away against Kalani in the 50th Father Bray Classic, Look doesn’t have a timetable on selecting a starter.
He’d also be open to rotating both quarterbacks in and out of games if the situation presented itself.
“We’re going to do what’s best for the team first and that’s really what it comes down to,” Look said. “If we can do that, starter and reliever, or if one guy elevates himself and is the guy, then we’ll do that.”
Fortunately for both quarterbacks, they will have an offensive line returning all five starters to play behind.
Senior Spencer Kiehm (5-9, 169) will anchor the group at center for the third straight year. A first-team ILH selection as a junior, Kiehm said they could help speed along the learning process for Tsubata and JimOn by giving them plenty of time in the pocket.
“There’s a little more pressure on the offensive line to know what to do, but all of us have at least one year under our belts,” Kiehm said. “Because of that, we can focus a little more outside the offensive line and help other positions to make sure we all get our assignments right.”
The Raiders will have an entirely new backfield this year to replace Kody Mento and Yuuya Kato, who combined for more than 1,100 yards rushing last season.
Sophomore Jordan Ross (5-8, 164), up from the intermediate team, will compete with senior Tyler McKenna (5-10, 173), who moves over from linebacker, for the running back job.
Junior Brent Tanaki (5-3, 164), who was a team manager last year, tried out for the squad and is also in the mix.
Leading receiver Tanner Nishioka is gone, but the Raiders return seniors Chase Kanekuni (5-9, 145), who had one 100-yard receiving game last year, and Chad Hanaoka (5-7, 165).
Defensively, ‘Iolani is experienced in the secondary. Seniors Max Look (5-7, 158) and J.T. Los Banos (6-0, 164) are outstanding on the corners.
The Raiders lost first-team all-conference linebacker Josiah Situmeang and will have new guys in starting roles, but have players who got some experience last year, including senior Brandon Sakka (5-8, 190).
Look called junior Storm Lotomau (5-4, 162) a “Tasmanian devil” kind of player.
Senior Marc Ma (6-0, 214) anchors a defensive line that has some size, but as Look is quick to point out, “by our standards.”
After the opener against Kalani, the Raiders play Leilehua in the first of four home games this season.
With the addition of St. Francis to the ILH this year, ‘Iolani will face every league team once in the regular season before a four-team playoff that will decide the Division II champion.
“From a fan’s standpoint and from a league standpoint, it’s going to be exciting,” Look said. “From a coach’s standpoint, you’ve got to adjust and make sure to peak your team at the right time.”
|Aug. 30||St. Francis*|
|Sept. 14||Saint Louis**|
|2012 RESULTS (9-3, 4-3 ILH)|
|at Waipahu||W, 35-34|
|Hawaii Prep*||W, 44-6|
|Saint Louis**||L, 39-68|
|at Kamehameha||L, 34-42|
|at Punahou||L, 14-56|
|** At Aloha Stadium|