Saint Louis’ Tengan impressed with Damien's performance
A 52-27 win may not sound like a close call, but Saint Louis coach Delbert Tengan was quite clear about his respect for some of Damien's standout defenders.
"(Nos.) 21 and 33 are D-I (college) type players," he said.
Tengan was referring to Aminis Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior defensive back, and speedy safety Christian Vasconcellos (6-2, 190), who has already committed to play for the University of Hawaii.
Tengan also was impressed with Damien's new quarterback, Anthony "Bones" Tuitele.
"I think if Tuitele continues to develop as well as he has in a short time, if you give him six months, he'll be someone to reckon with next year along with all of the top quarterbacks," he said.
Saint Louis' win over Damien last Saturday was also a chance to unveil the option package in far more depth and repetition. Quarterback Micah Mamiya's offensive direction has been identified by precise out-route bullets, feathery-soft deep passes and long scrambles on third down. Now opposing defenses have to be wary of his finesse and natural instincts out of the Crusaders' flex option.
He ran for 150 yards and threw for 198 while orchestrating the offense, weaving through the perimeter and delivering perfectly timed pitches to his running backs in a style reminiscent of J.C. Watts, who quarterbacked at Oklahoma in the 1980s. But the Crusaders certainly haven't forgotten the risk factor. Mamiya's collarbone injury in last year's state semifinals proved to be the difference between a state title and a runner-up finish.
"Colt Brennan hurt his ankle and they don't run the option much," Tengan said. "It could happen any time, on a sack, on a scramble, so you know, it's one of those things, if it happens it happens. We're not gonna have him run the option if we don't need it. We try to save him as much as we can."
Mamiya is aware of his value.
"Yeah, my coaches always tell me, if it's not there, just slide or get out of bounds," the senior said.
Pac-Five's three-man defensive line is one of the more underrated defensive units in the state.
The front, with Aaron Tipoti (6-2, 250), Alika Vaiese (5-11, 260) and Brad Foster (6-1, 215) put enough pressure on Iolani's superlative offense in a 21-14 win over the weekend.
"We worked better as a team. (Kela) Marciel is a great player," Tipoti said, referring to Iolani's junior quarterback.
Kamehameha has a tradition of strong defense, and this year is no exception.
In the rematch against Punahou, the Warriors brought a different look that stifled the Buffanblu, who had just 7 points in the first half.
"They changed it up. They didn't run their (regular) flex. It was more of a four-man (line) with two flexes in the middle," Punahou running back Dalton Hilliard said.
Linebacker/running back Manti Te'o, like Hilliard, found very little running room early.
"They were in the box, anticipating the run more," he said.
The Buffanblu adjusted at half-time, and offensive coordinator Darryl Kan's unit gained the lead and held on for dear life.
Reserve quarterback Cayman Shutter entered the game and pierced the Warrior defense with bullets to his receivers in the seams.
"The line gave him time to throw," coach Kale Ane said. "And he hit his receivers."
New route for HBA
For years, Hawaii Baptist volleyball languished in the ILH's Division I girls volleyball league. In fact, for two years in a row, the Eagles came up just a bit short of a state tournament as the "Big 3" of Kamehameha, Punahou and Iolani hoarded state berths.
Now, HBA is in Division II and en route to the D-II state tourney. Meanwhile, Sacred Hearts moved up to D-I in the ILH -- by new enrollment criteria -- and fell short of a state berth despite having one of its best volleyball teams ever.
Former player and assistant coach Abel Werner
is the new girls basketball coach at his alma mater, McKinley.
Werner assisted Bob Morikuni, who had been head coach of the boys and girls basketball programs. With the girls basketball season now in the winter, the highly-successful Morikuni yielded the girls hoops program.
"It's gonna be fun, I know that," said Werner, a former All-State football and basketball player.