HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Govs’ ‘D’ gets boost from ‘O’
Farrington's stoppers practice against a huge line every day
The best defense in the state belongs to Saint Louis, which shut out a potent Leilehua offense three weeks ago.
No, make that Kamehameha. The Warriors allowed only six points in a win over Farrington two weeks ago.
Actually, if a defensive unit develops best through reps at practice, it could be Farrington's defense that turns out to be the best by year's end. Why?
Look at what Saint Louis, Kamehameha and Farrington see on a daily basis. The Saint Louis 'D' sees the spread option every day, where Micah Mamiya throws the ball as many as 20 times a game. The problem is, the Crusaders haven't developed a game-breaker on offense, which could limit the defensive unit's development in the long run.
Kamehameha's offense is powerful, but coach Kanani Souza hasn't quite unleashed his arsenal. Truman Chun has yet to carry the ball more than 17 times in a game, the better to save him for Interscholastic Galaxy of Football (a.k.a. Interscholastic League of Honolulu) battles. The Warrior defense sees the new wrinkles Souza brought home from a one-year stint at Oregon State, but as with Saint Louis, the lack of a game-breaker across the line every day can have an effect.
Farrington's defense has to deal with a mammoth offensive line, a talented receiver corps led by Elijah Lesu, and sturdy running back Hercules Sula. The nature of the West Coast offense means the defense can't ever assume run or pass, especially with scrambling Elijah Filifili. That's the kind of preparation that sharpens a unit for postseason play, when balanced offenses usually prevail.
On top of that, the fifth-ranked Govs (2-1) have as many defensive playmakers as any other team, if not more. Sam Fehoko (6-2, 220) has emerged as one of the top defensive ends in the state. The entire starting D-line returned, giving the Govs a terrific nucleus. Laoleamiotonu "Tonu" Tuimalealiifano and Taua Olomua are each 260 pounds, and when teams run away from Fehoko, Andrew Noga (6-2, 230) has come up with key stops.
Farrington only gave up seven points at Kamehameha, but with six new starters on defense, only time will tell how well the Governors defense develops.
Kailua (2-2, 2-0 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East) will have to keep Farrington's defense at bay when they meet tomorrow night at Roosevelt Stadium. Despite being the youngest squad in the Red East -- the Surfriders have three returning starters -- quarterback Zach Akamine has helped them take leads of 20-7 at Leilehua and 10-0 at Kahuku.
Here's a look at more of tomorrow's matchups:
Kaimuki at Waipahu --
The Bulldogs aren't deep, but could win the OIA White title if they stay healthy. Waipahu, though, has been nearly unstoppable on the ground. Keo Palimo'o rushed for 179 yards in a win over Anuenue two weeks ago, and the Marauders are well-rested.
Anuenue at Kaiser -- The first-year varsity program in Palolo Valley is doing exceedingly well. Na Koa have been very competitive and notched their first varsity win last week against Kalani. Ehukai Nauka and Kamaki Sherman have developed into one of the best big-play duos in the OIA White.
Kaiser is coming off a tough road win at Nanakuli, but can't afford a letdown.
Kalani at Waialua -- A balanced offense means quarterback Caleb Fore will be dangerous to handle. The Bulldogs quarterback passed for 209 yards and ran for 54 in last week's 33-20 win at Roosevelt. The 'Dogs ran 36 times and Fore had 32 pass attempts for the OIA White's most prolific offense.
Hilo at Hawaii Prep --
Both teams are coming off tough losses. Last week, Hilo fell to Keaau, a surprise to old-timers. Hilo's youth -- a sophomore starts at quarterback -- is a factor, especially in a faraway, afternoon road game at HPA.
Waiakea at Ka'u -- The Warriors (1-1 BIIF) make their second long bus drive in as many weeks, but the Trojans are hoping to just show improvement. Ka'u has been outscored 119-0 in two games.
Konawaena at Kohala -- The Cowboys lost their home opener two weeks ago to Hilo, while the Wildcats are used to hostile crowds on the road. Konawaena lost 7-6 at Kauai, and won a big D-II showdown at Keaau 21-18 two weeks ago.
Maui at Lahainaluna --
The Lunas aren't big defensively, but their trademark speed and aggressive play are rarely matched in the MIL. A new coaching staff at Maui may mean that Lahainaluna's Wing (fly) offense will be tough to chase.