FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Farrington's Seth Ilae and Sammy Park went head-to-head during yesterday's scrimmage. The Governors, No. 10 in the Star-Bulletin's preseason poll, open the season Aug. 22 at Roosevelt.
Governors get into poll
Youthful Farrington looks to get off to a fast start after just making the playoffs last season
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Farrington was ranked No. 10 in the preseason last year, but shrugged it off to earn its first berth in the state tournament since 2003.
TOP 10 COUNTDOWN
With high school football starting on Aug. 15, the Star-Bulletin is counting down its preseason Top 10, as determined in a poll of coaches and media members:
2. (tie) Aug. 13
2. (tie) Aug. 14
1. Aug. 15
A repeat performance may be in order as the Governors begin the 2008 campaign at No. 10 in the Star-Bulletin's preseason high school football poll.
Farrington rallied from a 3-2-1 start last year to beat Kapolei for the Oahu Interscholastic Association's final state berth. The Governors don't figure to start as slow this season because it is made up of a lot of youngsters who made it to the OIA JV championship game last year.
The Govs also have one returning player who hopes to showcase his offensive talent over a full season for the first time. Tailback Apelu So'oalu was a linebacker last season until the team's most important games, when he switched to the backfield and torched Kapolei for 138 yards and Baldwin for 145 in the postseason. His performance left Farrington's faithful excited over what he might do once he actually learns the position.
So'oalu's switch isn't the only transition for the Governors. Utility man-turned-quarterback Dayton Kealoha has been handed the keys to the newly installed West Coast offense.
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FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sammy Park worked out during Farrington's tight end drills yesterday. The Govs open against Roosevelt on Aug. 22.
Somehow, the Farrington Governors found a way to march forward last season.
NO. 10 FARRINGTON
Here's a look at Farrington's recent history and its schedule this season:
2007 (6-4-2, state 1st round)
Previous four years
2003: 7-5-1, state semifinals
* -- at Roosevelt High School
A campaign of ups and downs -- three key seniors finished the year on academic probation -- came to an end with a 26-14 loss to Baldwin in the state tournament.
The new Govs return 10 starters and landed at No. 10 today in the Star-Bulletin Football Preseason Top 10. They hit the practice field on Monday to start fall camp.
Farrington has reason to be optimistic, particularly with the return of highly-recruited defensive end V.J. Fehoko.
Coach Randall Okimoto's team was No. 7 in the final Top 10 of last year, which left him wondering aloud.
"What happened from that time to now for us to drop? I'm curious," the former Governors running back said. "It doesn't bother me, but I'm just wondering what happened."
Right or wrong, the voting panel of coaches and media will find out soon enough where the burly Govs stack up. Farrington will scrimmage Kaiser tomorrow and Punahou on Saturday. The Govs open nonconference play against Roosevelt on Aug. 22, then face Saint Louis on Aug. 29.
The Govs, who were at No. 10 in last year's Preseason Top 10, open Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East play Sept. 5 against Castle.
2007 record: 6-4-2
On paper: Six returning starters anchor the offense, with another four on defense. Dayton Kealoha, last year's utility man, is settling in at quarterback in the West Coast offense. The 5-foot-10, 218-pound senior is agile and has a nice throwing touch, but Okimoto hopes Kealoha bumps up the intangible part of his game.
"Dayton's leadership qualities and decision-making, those have to improve," Okimoto said of the lefty.
Wide receivers Drake Miller (5-10, 150) and Ani Isumu (5-9, 168) were outstanding in the offseason. "They're the most conditioned of our skill guys," Okimoto said of the senior pass catchers.
Running back Apelu So'oalu (5-10, 185) began the transition from linebacker last season.
"He's a hard runner, not afraid of contact, a linebacker at heart. That's what I like about him," Okimoto said.
Fehoko (6-0, 218) is only a junior, but wowed college coaches at five camps over the summer. The other defensive end, Sila Tonga (5-11, 213), has moved to middle linebacker in the Govs' 4-3 scheme.
Isiah Iutu (6-0, 201) is a key stopper at outside linebacker.
The skinny: Replacing three starters on the D-line is a big priority for Farrington. If that mystery is solved, the Govs could rise to the top quickly because of the seasoned returnees on offense. The Govs return starters at most skill positions.
X factor: When the school year used to begin in September, Farrington often had two dozen players sidelined by poor grades. Now that the school year begins much earlier, the Govs are revved up early. Problem is, too much talent falls by the wayside along the way.
"Finishing the season with the team we start with, that would be nice," Okimoto said. "Looking at last year, we need to endure through the season, know how to balance football and school. I expect a lot of maturity from them."