PHOTOS BY GEORGE F. LEE AND FL MORRIS|
/ PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY BRYANT FUKUTOMI
Brotherhood on the line
Kauai's Carvalhos are senior
offensive tackles -- one for
Saint Louis, one for Kamehameha
Bronson and Brennen Carvalho have a little bit of a dilemma this week.
The brothers from Kauai care for each other just like most siblings do, but they've got to suspend that love just a little bit when rivals Saint Louis (1-0) and Kamehameha (2-0) take the field at Aloha Stadium for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu football opener Saturday.
The two seniors are starting offensive tackles, but the problem is that Bronson plays for the Crusaders and Brennen suits up for the Warriors.
Nevertheless, both are looking forward to the confrontation.
"It will be really special for us this year, more than last year," said Brennen, a 16-year-old senior. "This time, we're both starters."
Brennen is a jack-of-all-trades, having played all of the O-line positions. A year ago, he was a backup but ended up starting most games because of injuries to others. Bronson was a full-time starter last season.
"It's going to be very exciting," said Bronson, an 18-year-old senior who was held back in the ninth grade after transferring from Kapaa. "I know that after the game, he's my brother. In my gut, as a team player for Saint Louis, I never want him to beat us. But if it's not against us, I like to see him win."
As with many brother combinations, they have different skills and personalities. Brennen is the quiet, observational type, while Bronson is the talkative, gregarious one.
They've both inherited some traits from their father, Bernard Carvalho, a former University of Hawaii offensive tackle who was drafted in the seventh round by the Miami Dolphins in 1984.
Known as a gentle, soft-spoken giant on the Garden Isle, Bernard was cut after playing all of Miami's preseason games that year. He didn't pursue the profession after that.
"Brennen is the more humble one who keeps to himself and sticks around family more," the dad said. "Bronson is the joker, the one who is always getting his friends together.
"There was always a competition between the two, but it never got to the point where they didn't like each other. Bronson is stronger and bigger and Brennen is more agile and flexible. Bronson knows the strategies and the different defenses; Brennen lets his actions do the talking."
Bernard and his wife, Regina, won't be as torn as some people might think at Saturday's 7:30 p.m. game.
"We keep our rooting even-Steven," Bernard said. "We encourage both of them, and we've become very friendly with the players and families on both sides. I think we're lucky that they play on the same side of the ball."
Neither the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Bronson nor the 6-1, 280-pound Brennen played organized football until their freshman years, despite always being bigger than their peers. Instead, they were involved in soccer, basketball and baseball as youths.
Bronson thinks the key to this week's game will be how well the Saint Louis offense does against the Kamehameha defense, and he's confident the Crusaders will win.
Brennen is intent on changing Kamehameha's custom of placing second in the league to Saint Louis, which is by far the most successful football program in the state.
"I'm prepared for what's going to happen," Brennen said. "No one really knows where the two teams are at right now, so we definitely have a chance. If we get a win, it will be good."
A year ago, Kamehameha won the first meeting between the two teams, but Saint Louis won the rematch and then earned the ILH title in a playoff before going on to capture the state championship.
"Brennen was telling me they were going to kick our butts again after they won the first game," Bronson said. "I was mad, but I laughed it off and when we beat them twice, I wasn't in his face about it."
Bronson conceded that Brennen is smarter, intellectually, but Brennen admitted jokingly that Bronson "is the one who beats up on me."
Both are getting feelers from various colleges and Bronson is seriously considering going to the University of Hawaii. He was on the sidelines along with other high school recruits during the Warriors' opener against Appalachian State, and he has a lot of respect for UH line coach Mike Cavanaugh
"Look what he's done -- he's put a lot of players in the NFL," Bronson said.
Brennen is also interested in playing college football, but will take things as they come.
Bernard's two sons aren't the only football players named Carvalho making waves in Hawaii this year.
Kahuku senior quarterback Waika Carvalho is the boys' first cousin.
In addition, Bronson's fellow Crusaders starting tackle is Makana Mardonada, a family friend from Kauai.
Whatever the outcome Saturday, one thing is for sure -- Bronson and Brennen will be getting a bite to eat with their parents when it's over.
"We always take them out to dinner after a game," Bernard said. "We talk about the game and some of the nice things they did on the field."
The same routine will continue for the Nov. 1 rematch and the possible Nov. 8 ILHchampionship game.