RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Andrew Manley's many different nicknames include "Colt Brennan," "Roethlisberger," "Rubbishberger" and "Clumsy."
What’s in a name?
Call him what you like, but Leilehua quarterback Manley is a winner
Colt Brennan. Roethlisberger -- and Rubbishberger. Clumsy. Not yet "The Manchild," although that one's only a matter of time.
Andrew Manley, Leilehua's wunderkind sophomore quarterback, has about as many nicknames as he does wins as the Mules' starter -- and that's a good thing.
Improbably, Manley has guided the Oahu Interscholastic Association champions to four straight wins in the football postseason in his only four starts at the varsity level, and now leads 9-4 Leilehua against top-ranked and unbeaten Saint Louis in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA state championship game Friday.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Manley -- who suddenly replaced the Mules' top two quarterbacks Kaipo Ke'a and Kaipo DeRego after both injured their ankles in a playoff win against Castle -- has a simple explanation for a couple of the nicknames.
"I'm a white guy, so (it's the) white guy playing quarterback here," the JV call-up said with a grin. "They call me Colt Brennan, just messing around, because (the Hawaii quarterback) has been successful here. (Coach Nolan) Tokuda used to call me Rubbishberger -- he changed it from (Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben) Roethlisberger to Rubbishberger -- as a freshman. I've gradually made my way up to Roethlisberger. But when I mess up he calls me Rubbishberger."
Manley, sporting Brennan-esque bleached blond hair, paused as running back Rico Newman shouted another playful greeting at him while taking a lap at Hugh Yoshida Stadium in Wahiawa.
"There's a lot of joking around out here," Manley said. "We have a good time out here."
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Andrew Manley said the speed of the varsity game is way faster than that of the JV, where he was five games ago.
It's that philosophy -- have fun even under pressure situations -- that has allowed Manley to flourish in a simplified spread offense under Tokuda, despite missing almost all of his freshman year with a broken left wrist. He threw for two touchdowns in Leilehua's 27-21 overtime victory over Mililani, the Mules' lone score in a 7-3 win over Farrington, and the go-ahead TD in the third quarter in the OIA title game against Waianae, a 12-3 triumph.
Prior to all of that, Tokuda took Manley aside and told him: "I want you to write out of every package that we have, what are your favorite plays to run, label it 1 through 10."
"He labeled it, and I said 'OK, if these are the plays you're comfortable with, we'll stay with those plays.' So we cut down the package tremendously," Tokuda said.
It's worked. Most recently, there was the 41-34 shootout against Baldwin in the state semifinals last week, in which he passed for 263 more yards and two scores.
"It's pretty unreal," said junior receiver Edieson Dumlao, who affectionately refers to Manley as "Clumsy" for his lack of footspeed. "Come up, fresh from the JV, not used to the varsity speed yet, it's good. I didn't expect that."
Manley was adamant in giving the offensive line and defense credit for his sudden success in adapting.
"My first game, against Mililani, it was super fast," he said. "Every game (since) is slowed down and I've been able to make my reads better and everything. I'm getting used to it."
Manley is part Hawaiian and the son of Kimo Manley, a safety and cornerback who graduated from Leilehua in 1981 (just three years prior to Leilehua's lone state championship win). Kimo joined the Air Force after graduation, and Andrew, born in Florida, experienced the military whirlwind life around the mainland before returning to Hawaii for good in the seventh grade.
His sudden emergence has worked out well for Tokuda, who intends to use Ke'a and DeRego as a cornerback and a slotback in the championship game.
"He's a sponge right now and grabs (all) knowledge he can," Tokuda said of Manley, adding that his poise in the pocket reminds him of Dallas Cowboys great Troy Aikman. "(He) doesn't come up with excuses, just wants to know 'K, what did I do wrong' which is what I love about him."
If "Rubbishberger" can lead Leilehua past the Crusaders, he'll have done a whole lot of right.