HIGH SCHOOL REPORT
MIKE BURLEY / MBURLEY@STARBULLETIN.COM
Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda says Edieson Dumlao is a receiver in a fullback's body. The senior is committed to bringing the defending state champion Mules back to the state tourney.
Leilehua’s go-to guy
Dumlao likes to think of the second-ranked Mules as underdogs
There's more than one way to help a team.
Leilehua's Edieson Dumlao subscribes to that philosophy, and has taken it upon himself to help the second-ranked Mules however he can.
"Great kid, always wants to work on his craft on how to get off the bump and how to get open. Watches vidoes, stays after practice, those are the little things that makes coach so enjoyable if you have someone like him who's a student of the game."
On Mules senior receiver Edieson Dumlao
Since the spring, the senior receiver has battled a nagging hamstring that limited his mobility as the Mules prepared their state title defense. As a result, Dumlao, a first-team Star-Bulletin All-State selection a year ago, has tried to play himself into shape over the first month of the season.
The Mules are 3-0 after their victory over rival Mililani last week, and Dumlao has performed admirably by anyone's standards - except perhaps his own. He's caught a touchdown in four straight games going back to last year, despite being in decoy mode for much of the time on the field.
"I'm getting there," Dumlao said. "Give me, like, a week and a half, two, the conditioning and everything, I should be good."
Against the Trojans, he tweaked a dormant shoulder injury on an awkward landing and was forced to leave the game. To the surprise of no one, he came back in and scored again.
Coach Nolan Tokuda is just thankful the Mules have a bye week this week to rest the walking wounded. That goes double for the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Dumlao, who he describes as "our go-to player, period."
He's stayed a threat in the secondary because of an exceptional combination of burst and hand-eye coordination, Tokuda explained.
"I'm sure he has a lot of expectations and I know it's frustrating for him to know that he's injured and he's not out there to help his team," Tokuda said. "He actually is. Just his presence alone, for opponents to know where Edieson is and they have to game plan for him. Just having him back for his senior year, I feel so lucky that I'm able to coach Edieson for one more season."
No surprise there. In many ways, the experienced Dumlao - also the Mules' center fielder in baseball - acts as another mentor on the field for the Mules receivers. He'll hit a route, then hit the up-and-comers with some knowledge.
His coach describes him as a receiver in a fullback's body. At practice and games, he's also a coach in a player's uniform.
"He is (a player-coach)," junior quarterback Andrew Manley said. "He helps out the other receivers a lot. It's easier for me and him to get along too, because he tells me what he sees on the field, and it's easier for me to get him the ball. If Edieson sees something wrong he'll go up there and help (the other receivers). That's just how Edieson is."
Cheves Aberilla-Ramento, Leilehua's opposite-field receiver on the left, has known him since the eighth grade. The aura of respect around his friend is hard to miss.
"The (younger guys) come up to mostly Edieson. I guess 'cause he caught the winning touchdown pass (to beat Saint Louis in the state championship game a year ago)," Aberilla-Ramento said with a laugh.
Dumlao grins at this.
"I love that, because when you tell them what to do and they run the route, they get all happy and you know (mentally) that I helped that guy out right there," he said.
In games, though, Dumlao is accorded a whole new plane of respect by his opponents.
"Sometimes, I just raise my hand up (for the ball)," Aberilla-Ramento said. "Edieson (draws) a lot of attention. They double him."
After racking up 709 yards on 53 catches (13.3 yards per catch) last season with 11 touchdowns, Dumlao has 255 yards on 17 grabs through three games (15 ypc).
Despite the team's lofty ranking and success so far this season, Dumlao has done his utmost to convince himself and his teammates that nothing is automatic this time around, like when the Mules were 4-4 entering the OIA playoffs last year.
"We're going the same from last year, underdogs, we don't try to think that we're No. 2 in the state. We go in like how we went to the playoffs. Same thing, nothing changed."
It's admittedly difficult at times for him to keep that mentality, but Tokuda sees it through Dumlao's efforts after practice to work through his injuries and get his routes down with Manley.
"Great kid, always wants to work on his craft on how to get off the bump and how to get open," Tokuda said. "Watches videos, stays after practice, those are the little things that makes coaching so enjoyable if you have someone like him who's a student of the game."
Football Top 10
The Top 10 high school football teams in Hawaii as voted on by coaches and media from around the state. First-place votes in parentheses. Ten points for first-place votes, nine for second, eight for third, etc.
| 1. Punahou (27), 2-0
||at Central Kitsap
| 2. Leilehua (9), 3-0
||does not play
| 3. Saint Louis (1), 2-0
||does not play
| 4. Kamehameha, 2-1
||lost to St. John Bosco
| 5. Farrington, 2-1
||lost to Saint Louis
| 6. Kahuku, 2-1
| 7. Baldwin, 1-1
||lost to Mission Viejo
||does not play
| 8. Waianae, 1-2
||at Pearl City
|- 9. Iolani, 2-1
|10. Castle, 2-1
||lost to Punahou
» Also receiving votes:
Waipahu 28, Kapolei 20, Kalaheo 16, Konawaena 12, Campbell 9, Damien 7, Lahainaluna 4, Mililani 3, Kaimuki 1, Kauai 1.
» No longer in top 10 (previous rank):
Kapolei (No. 7).