Baldwin's defense keeping up with offense
The Baldwin Bears have earned a reputation for serious gun-slinging on the football field thanks in part to a prolific run-and-shoot offense.
Four years of success have plenty to do with the offense, which was taught in intricate detail by former offensive coordinator Pohai Lee. This year's squad, even with a first-year starter at quarterback, has scored 41 points against rival Maui and 45 on Kamehameha-Maui.
Defense, though, has been the hallmark of the better Bears teams of recent years. Baldwin has allowed 14 points in three Maui Interscholastic League games, including a tense 6-5 victory over Lahainaluna on Friday.
New head coach Jimmy Morimoto didn't mind the grind and intensity of a baseball-score finish, particularly after Dane Fernandez drilled his second field goal of the game. Fernandez, one of the top punter/place-kickers in the state, sent a 40-yarder through the uprights to keep Baldwin unbeaten.
"Any tight game is fun to be a part of," said Morimoto, who has coached at Baldwin for 13 seasons. "I'm more of a defensive guy, I like the challenge of stopping my opponent's offense."
A 1991 graduate of Baldwin, he coached the defensive backs for 13 years, and was defensive coordinator for the past four. He's more than happy to credit the unit.
"Defensively, we all played well. To stop (Lahainaluna's) fly offense, everyone needs to play assignment football, and we did," Morimoto said. "(Linebacker) Kyle Kaimiola was all over the field and Jaysen Patao set up the game-winning field goal with an interception on our 1-yard line."
The Bears are ranked No. 4 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10.
Kamehameha has played four nonconference games in the past four weekends. That has given fans and opponents plenty of opportunities to get a good read of what the Warriors can do.
"I was very impressed with Kamehemeha's defense and their lethal ability to put pressure, combined with air-tight pass coverage against Redlands, against an excellent quarterback surrounded by speedy and talented receivers," Saint Louis coach Delbert Tengan said.
Tengan also took in Friday's game between Iolani and Damien.
"I was very impressed with the talent and level of play of both teams. It sure didn't look like a season opener for both teams," added Tengan, whose Crusaders are off to a 3-0 start and ranked No. 3 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10. "Looks like another tough year in the ILH."
Like father, like son:
Rarely do father-son relationships survive in the world of sports as well as the one between Reggie Torres Sr.
and Richard Torres
Torres' first season at the helm of the varsity football program at Kahuku has been an eye-opener. The Red Raiders have a ton of new starters on both sides of the ball. Competition at quarterback has been fierce, with four quality passers in the mix.
When Richard emerged as the most consistent of the group, the coach knew there would be cries of cronyism.
"We are forced to go with Richard. When he's not there, we see a major drop in consistency, confidence and leadership," said Torres, who was a longtime junior varsity coach, as well as varsity wrestling head coach for 18 years.
"We will be forced to start him at quarterback until we can maintain and improve offensively with another quarterback," Torres said.
Richard is a quick defensive back, which may be why his father would not mind seeing another player emerge as the starting signal-caller.
Castle's play in the past few weeks caught the eye of football pollsters, who voted the Knights back into the Star-Bulletin Top 10 at No. 10. A near-upset of Saint Louis was especially gripping, along with solid wins over Kalaheo and Moanalua.
"I was hoping we could stay under the radar as long as possible," longtime coach Nelson Maeda said.
Athletes of the Week
Gabe Tuata, Kealakehe football:
scored on runs of 56, 8 and 10 yards, and caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in a win at Kamehameha-Hawaii. The senior finished with 188 yards rushing on 13 attempts, and added 50 yards on two receptions.
Keilani Watson, Kahuku cross country:
won the OIA Invitational with a time of 20:21 at CORP.
Kristina Acosta, Kaimuki:
scored a 252 as the Bulldogs defeated Farrington.
Shane Dagdag, Aiea:
rolled a 266 high game and 699 series in Na Alii's win over Leilehua.
Kyle Kamegawa, Maryknoll: posted a 257 high game and 687 series in the Spartans' victory over Punahou.
Jordan Ono, Pearl City: tallied a 258 in a win over Waialua.
Tyler Wong, Punahou: scored a 265 in the Buffanblu's win over Damien.
Keri Ogden, Hawaii Prep:
won the girls race in the BIIF meet at HPA with a time of 22 minutes, 46 seconds.
Keoni Ucker, Christian Liberty: won the boys race at the BIIF meet with a time of 18:00.
Dawson Vorderbruegge, Kaiser: captured the OIA Invitational boys race with a time of 17:08 at Central Oahu Regional Park.
Micah Abreu-Laybon, Leilehua:
rushed for 82 yards on 16 carries and caught four passes for 89 yards in a win over Mililani. The senior scored on a 68-yard touchdown pass.
Caleb Fore, Waialua: passed for 209 yards and ran for 54 more as the Bulldogs outscored Roosevelt.
Mason Koa, Kapolei: The junior quarterback passed for 106 yards with no interceptions and ran for 78 yards in a win over Aiea.
Jordan Monico, Moanalua: rushed for 77 yards and passed for 52 against Castle.
Ehukai Nauka, Anuenue: went 14-for-23 for 193 yards with no interceptions and ran for 54 yards as Na Koa defeated Kalani for their their first varsity win.
Richard Torres, Kahuku: rushed for 90 yards as the Red Raiders defeated Kalaheo.
Lauren Minkel, Iolani:
had eight kills as the Raiders swept St. Francis.
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: