Seniors itching to play in HUB all-star football game
Two nights before his first and only high school all-star game, Tyler Brown sat on the mauka bleachers at Aiea High School's field, 45 minutes early for practice.
While Aiea's soccer teams practiced on the soggy field, Brown wondered about the soggy weather that canceled classes at his school, Damien. By 6:45, the Damien lineman was joined by a handful of teammates. By 7 p.m., assistant coach C.J. Tausaga told the boys that there would be no practice for the West. Thanks to dismal weather, West coach Wendell Say and East coach Kip Botelho called off yesterday's workouts. Many schools across Oahu canceled class, and many of the players never got word from their athletic directors as a result.
It didn't matter to Brown, who had driven from Kaneohe and had waited patiently.
"I'm still gonna practice. I gotta do something," the 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive lineman said as the soccer teams departed.
While their teammates went home, Brown and Waianae defensive end Lesili Sekona put on their pads and hit the field. The two ran sprints and did some one-on-one drills under shadow of a goalpost until the lights went out at 7:12.
"I don't feel right when I don't practice," Brown said.
The HUB Goodwill Senior Bowl is still on for tomorrow, 7:30 p.m., at Aloha Stadium.
Brown and the rest of the West offense have been learning a variety of schemes since practice began on Nov. 26. From the Pistol to the run-and-shoot to the single back (Ace), offensive coordinator Fred Salanoa has put the West through the paces.
The West has a run-and-shoot gunslinger in Keenan Naeole (Aiea), along with a speedy signal-caller like Rustin Funakoshi (Mililani) and a strong pocket passer in Michael Hoke (Kamehameha).
Aiea receivers Aldodius Colquitt and James Buchanan give the West a possible edge, particularly when Naeole is on the field. Leilehua's two-way standout, Allan Macam, is another tough cover at receiver.
The East, with Micah Mamiya and Cody vonAppen at quarterback, could tantalize the West defense with the option. Jordan Monico and Earvin Sione were quarterbacks during the regular season, but will probably do more damage at their future positions. Monico projects as a running back or linebacker in college, while Sione (6-4, 205) has committed to UH as a receiver.
The East also boasts Solomon Koehler, Castle's 305-pound ironman lineman with a 34-inch vertical leap. Defensive end Aaron Tipoti (Pac-Five) and linebacker Paipai "P.J." Falemalu (Kahuku) lead a talented crew of potential Division I recruits.
Defense, however, may be the West's strength, thanks to a posse of Leilehua Mules led by Robert Siavii and Art Laurel.
Colquitt, who showed up to practice despite missing school due to a cold, thinks the West secondary has an edge. Colquitt believes his Na Alii teammate, Josh Chung, is the best cover man in the game.
"I have trouble getting off his press, and I don't have trouble with anyone else's," he said.