HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Iolani outworks all
After losing last year's Division II state title game to Campbell, Iolani linebacker Jon Takamura vowed to work harder and make it back this year for another shot at the championship.
"Our mentality within the past 10 months building up to this was to work hard, because our goal is this (championship) right here," said Takamura after finishing with eight tackles. "Every day in the weight room, and running. ... We killed ourselves for this."
The Raiders defeated Radford 34-20 last night at Aloha Stadium, thanks in part to a core group of seniors looking to redeem themselves and their team after the disheartening performance of a year ago.
"They've worked hard, they sacrificed a lot," said Iolani head coach Wendell Look of his seniors. "They've invested a lot in this (program), not only this year but the three years they've been playing."
Running back Mike Hirokawa capped his senior season with 217 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 23 carries. The 165-pound spark plug also energized the offense with 52 yards receiving.
"This is our senior year, and we had another opportunity to get it done," Hirokawa said. "We came out here last year and couldn't pull through, but we just wanted to make sure to come out and make sure it happened this year. We were training for 10 months and we've overcome a lot.
"We just tried to not overdo it, execute, and stick to fundamentals. I have to give props to my O-line, because I'd be nothing without them. I wouldn't want to play with any other five linemen."
As the Raider players hugged one another and basked in the glory of winning a championship in front of a large contingent of Iolani fans, it seemed as if the entire team breathed a collective sigh of relief after accomplishing the ultimate goal of victory.
"To lose it last year was bad, and then to come back and win this year is amazing," Takamura said. "We wanted to contain (Alex) Daniels because we knew he was a great back and our pass defense was pretty good all year, so we wanted to focus on stopping the run. You've got to feel bad for Radford, because we know how it feels, and hopefully they can come back, too."
Another motivating factor for the Raider squad that will stick with them after the pads come off and the trophy is put in its case, came in the form of Troy Todd, a sophomore offensive lineman who could not participate because of an unspecified heart problem. In honor of Todd, the Iolani players taped the initials "TT" on their helmets.
"That was pretty bad, to lose one of our players," Takamura said. "We're one team, and every individual counts, so we're just praying for him."