Former Kailua football coach Johnson takes over at Kaimuki
There is, literally, a changing of the guard at Kaimuki.
Daniel Mafua, who stepped down as football coach in December, has been replaced by former Kailua coach Darren Johnson.
Both are prison guards. Mafua resigned to put more time into a family business venture. Johnson, who works at OCCC, has not been a head coach since 2003 and is eager to get back on the saddle.
"I'm excited for the opportunity. Daniel and his staff did a tremendous job and built a nice foundation," Johnson said.
In recent years, he has coached at Koolauloa Pop Warner and spent time as an assistant at his alma mater, Kahuku.
"He would have been a vital asset to our program if not for his job schedule," Kahuku coach Reggie Torres said of Johnson, who was going to be the Red Raiders' offensive coordinator. "I think he's gonna do great. He's a very good organizer and he knows what it takes. It's hard with the numbers there, but I think he'll bring that program up."
Kailua was a perennial Oahu Interscholastic Association title contender during Johnson's era. The Surfriders won a co-championship in '01. He'll have to get used to wearing a green shirt instead of blue or red.
"I never thought I'd leave Kailua," he said. "Now I'm following in the footsteps of Dan, Dwight Toyama, Fred Lee."
During his years with the Surfriders, they were a power-running, I-formation offensive attack with a 4-3 defense.
"The fundamentals are still the same. There's some things I've picked up," Johnson said.
He plans to retain some of Mafua's assistants. He also plans to be on campus occasionally.
"My day off is during the week, so I'll be there," Johnson promised.
Despite low turnout numbers, Kaimuki has been an OIA White Conference contender during Mafua's reign. The Bulldogs reached the White finals last season and also played in the state tournament.
Mafua, who was a two-sport standout at Kaimuki, admits that it isn't easy to leave coaching.
"Oh boy, I miss it already. You have a passion for kids. It's always difficult to walk away," he said. "I hope not to be away from it too long."
Makua Lani Christian School is nestled on the slopes of Hualalai, up the road from Kona.
With just 90 students, the school has never found it easy to field teams, let alone compete for titles in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation. That's why, when the Lions upset powerful Kamehameha-Hawaii for the boys soccer championship over the weekend, just about the entire population of the school flooded the field.
Makua Lani will have a first-round bye when the Meadow Gold/HHSAA Boys Soccer State Championships begin next week.
The girls state tourney begins today at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park.
Kaimana deadline near:
Student-athletes have until Feb. 28 to submit applications for the HMSA Kaimana Program Scholarships.
Applications are at www.hmsa.com and www.sportshigh.com.
Applicants must be high school seniors graduating this year with a minimum grade-point average of 2.75.
Athlete of the Week
Nicole Alconcel, Baldwin softball:
pitched the Bears to the state championship with a 3-0 mark, permitting just eight hits, striking out 23 and walking just eight in 21 innings. She fired a one-hit shutout over St. Francis and a four-hit shutout against Mililani in the title game.
Hunter Hunt, Punahou:
scored a 277 against Saint Louis/Sacred Hearts.
Ariel Takata-Vasquez, Saint Louis/Sacred Hearts: scored a 271 against Punahou.
Michael Alexander, Thompson:
scored 23 points against Kalani.
Alika Borabora, Lanakila Baptist: scored 23 points against Assets.
Nick Castello, Assets: scored 26 points against Redemption Academy.
Tyrus Ceria-Lux, Kauai: scored 24 points against Kapaa.
Josiah Horner, Kamehameha II: scored 24 points against Hawaii Baptist.
Kalii Kunitomo, Konawaena: scored 30 points against Hawaii Prep.
Nainoa Lessary, McKinley: scored 25 points against Kaiser.
Tristan Sealy, Thompson: scored 23 points against Kalani and 22 against Kaiser.
Matt Smith, Iolani II: scored 32 points against Lutheran.
P.J. Woods, Hanalani: scored 20 points against Lutheran and 28 vs. Le Jardin.
Kylie Ahlo, Iolani:
went 4-for-5 against Waiakea.
Ashlynn Ashby, Kapolei: went 3-for-3 with two RBIs against Waiakea.
Brittany Brackenridge, Kapolei: went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs against Lahainaluna.
Kawehi Chan, Moanalua: went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs against Iolani.
Nanea Chan, Moanalua: went 3-for-3 with two RBIs against Lahainaluna.
Kiane Dalit, Sacred Hearts: went 4-for-4 in the Division II state title game win vs. Kauai.
Makani Duhaylonsod, Mililani: allowed just one earned run against Kapolei and hurled a six-hit shutout against Iolani. The junior also allowed just one earned run in the D-I state title game against Baldwin.
Joslyn Eugenio, Sacred Hearts: won two games, including a three-hitter over Kauai in the D-II state final. She also went 2-for-4 in the title game.
Andrea Felise-Laa, Waipahu: went 3-for-4 against Hilo.
Brittney Garcia, Campbell: went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored against Hilo.
Leinna Kalua, Campbell: allowed no earned runs over five innings against Kapolei.
Sasha Koki, St. Francis: went 3-for-3 against Kailua.
Sina Nuu, Waipahu: hit a home run against Kailua and another vs. Hilo.
Tara-lyn Odo, Iolani: went 3-for-5 against Waiakea.
Breanne Patton, Campbell: fired a four-inning, one-hitter against Hilo.
Sarah Robinson, Moanalua: went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs against Lahainaluna. She also fired a four-hit, five-inning shutout against Hilo.
Britni Ronolo, Moanalua: went 3-for-3 against Hilo.
Courtney Senas, Mililani: went 3-for-4 against Iolani.
Ka'ili Smith, Kapolei: went 4-for-4 against Lahainaluna and had three RBIs against Waiakea.
Jana Tokuhama, Iolani: went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs against Moanalua.
Mitchell Chong, Punahou:
won the 100 backstroke and helped the Buffanblu 200 freestyle relay team to victory in ILH meet competition.
Josh Cutts, Punahou: won the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke and was part of the winning 200 freestyle relay team.
Michelle Yoshida, Punahou: won the 100 backstroke and helped the Buffanblu 200 freestyle relay team to victory.
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: