SB FILE / 2006
Baldwin's Chauncey Bolosan returns as a starting running back. CLICK FOR LARGE
Baldwin's bear of a loss in state semifinal is driving force
A promotion to head coach is a new world for any longtime assistant.
For Baldwin's A.J. Roloos, who has replaced Jimmy Morimoto, the mind games won't end. Roloos will remain as offensive coordinator for one of the state's most explosive offenses.
"It took me four, five years to learn it from Pohai (Lee). Once you learn it, it's like a chess match," he said.
Though this marks the second coaching change in the past decade, Roloos and Morimoto both coached under Chad Kauhaahaa and the system is largely intact.
Jordan Helle, a big, tough quarterback, threw for 2,292 yards and 32 touchdowns last season. Though he racked up massive numbers against some of the MIL's lower-tier teams, he was superb against Mililani in the state tourney. Helle finished that game with 290 yards passing with three touchdowns in a comeback win.
He also threw for a touchdown against Kahuku. Yes, the Bears haven't quite forgotten that heartbreaking loss. Kahuku won that state semifinal classic with a double pass for a touchdown on the game's final play and went on to capture the state crown.
"After last year's loss, that was kind of hard to swallow," Roloos recalled. "Everyone in that stadium knows what happened. You had to be at the game to know how we felt. Had it in the bag and all of a sudden it's gone."
NO. 6 BALDWIN BEARS
Here's a look at Baldwin's results from the 2006 football season and its schedule this season:
Maui -- W 41-0
KS-Maui -- W 45-9
Lahainaluna -- W 6-5
King Kekaulike -- W 54-14
Pac-Three -- W 39-14
Maui -- W 42-2
KS-Maui -- T 14-14
Lahainaluna -- W 14-6
King Kekaulike -- W 25-22
Pac-Three -- W 64-0
Mililani -- W 22-17
Kahuku -- L 20-22
Aug. 24 -- at KS-Hawaii
Aug. 30 -- San Clemente
Sept. 15 -- Maui
Sept. 22 -- at King Kekaulike
Oct. 5 -- KS-Maui
Oct. 13 -- St. Anthony
Oct. 19 -- Lahainaluna
Oct. 27 -- Maui
Nov. 2 -- King Kekaulike
Nov. 9 -- Pac-Three
That loss tainted an otherwise brilliant 10-1-1 season. Though Helle and his top receiver, all-state pass catcher Chase Nakamura (46 receptions, 828 yards, 12 touchdowns), both return, voters in the Star-Bulletin Football Preseason Top 10 gave the Bears a No. 6 ranking.
Have coaches and media already forgotten what Baldwin did? Maybe. Even the Bears want to move on.
"We just gotta forget about last year and strive to get where we want to get. As long as they don't fall back to last year, they'll be fine," Roloos said.
The offense will have to find capable replacements up front, where only Sean Tesoro returns. Kai "Baby" Maiava, an all-state pick, will be especially missed. Defensively, stud linebackers Kyle Kaimiola (6-0, 220) and David Kamana (5-10, 190) return to anchor Baldwin's 4-4 base defense.
Defensive ends Troy Aoki, a third-year starter, and Mana Rosa give the Bears excellence on the edge.
"Mana is probably going to be one of our college prospects," Roloos said of the 6-1, 240-pound junior.
Tackle Leti Longi also returns after an injury-plagued junior year.
In all, the Bears have seven returning starters on defense.
Roloos found success last year in bringing balance to the pass-happy offense. Chauncey Bolosan, the starting running back, is back.
As expected, there was a tentative response to a new coach, but by the first day of summer workouts, 48 players showed up.
"I was surprised. All my assistants were surprised," Roloos said. "That loss got to them and they want to prove everybody wrong. They want to erase last year."
Roloos has an aggressive team that requires "quick whistles" during practice, he said. It's a good problem. Being ranked as low as No. 6, well, that could be a positive, too.
"To me, I hardly even read the paper. If we do get ranked high, I'll let the kids know, but we have to earn it. I'll let the kids know we have to earn it. We just have to prove everybody wrong," he said. "I try to get across to the kids that you're playing for a school that's well known across the state. You go out in the community, you represent Baldwin."
Baldwin will travel to Kamehameha-Hawaii for a game on Aug. 24 before hosting San Clemente (Calif.) on Aug. 30.
The Bears open MIL play with a game against rival Maui on Sept. 15.