Govs shooting for the top


POSTED: Monday, August 10, 2009

Randall Okimoto tastes it. Farrington's four captains taste it. So do the rest of the Governors' 25 seniors.

Last year's bitter tang remains from narrow losses in the Oahu Interscholastic Association championship game and the state semifinals.

But that sensation has given way to a renewed determination to taste something else—victory—in Kalihi.

“;The guys who return this year, they got a taste of a championship atmosphere,”; said Okimoto, now in his eighth year leading the Govs. “;I think they know what they want now.”;

The 22-19 heartbreaker against Kahuku in the OIA championship game and the 35-28 loss to eventual champ Punahou in the state semis had a galvanizing effect on one of the OIA's most feared players.

“;The losing helped me a lot,”; said senior V.J. Fehoko. “;After losing, I trained harder. I take no breaks. I think most of the team has a sour taste in their mouths, they want to come back and get some more. Get revenge, kind of.”;

Fehoko is moving to linebacker from defensive end this year, but more important to the Governors is the move he is not making. He announced two months ago that he was transferring to Kahuku due to his grandfather's illness, but he has since decided to stay at Farrington.

Farrington last won the OIA in 1990 under Skippa Diaz.





        With the high school football season approaching, the Star-Bulletin is counting down its preseason Top 10:

10. Waianae
        9. 'Iolani
        8. Mililani
        7. Kapolei
        6. Kamehameha
        5. Farrington
        4. Tomorrow
        3. Wednesday
        2. Thursday
        1. Friday







Aug. 18at McKinley
Aug. 22Word of Life*
Aug. 28at Roosevelt
Sept. 5Castle*
Sept. 12McKinley*
Sept. 19Kailua*
Sept. 26at Waipahu
Oct. 2Kahuku*
Oct. 10Kaimuki*


        *at Roosevelt

2008 (7-5)
        » Farrington 20, Waianae 7
        » Farrington 25, Roosevelt 6
        » Saint Louis 24, Farrington 10
        » Farrington 24, Castle 6
        » Farrington 36, McKinley 0
        » Farrington 17, Kailua 14
        » Kahuku 13, Farrington 6
        » Farrington 41, Kaimuki 0


OIA Playoffs
» Farrington 37, Kapolei 20
        » Farrington 26, Leilehua 24
        » Kahuku 22, Farrington 19


State Tournament
        » Farrington 30, Kealakehe 13
        » Punahou 35, Farrington 28





2008: 9-4

On paper: Six offensive players and seven defensive players return to start for the Govs.

Farrington lost quarterback Dayton Kealoha, top back Apelu Sooalo, and receivers Drake Miller and Ani Isumu from its West Coast offense.

But Harry Tuimaseve got valuable experience last year sharing handoffs with Sooalo and will shoulder the rushing load this season. Last year's JV quarterback, Jared Hakuole, has emerged as the top signal-caller heading into the season opener against McKinley.

Both the offensive and defensive lines—the “;Bamboolas”;—should remain strong. Three players return on the O-line, highlighted by captain Joseph Siliga.

Last year, the Govs ran on about 70 percent of their offensive plays. Okimoto didn't foresee a tweak of the offense to any large extent.

The Govs boast two tall senior receivers (6-4 and 6-3), reserves last year, to replace the speedy Miller and Isumu.

Farrington will be without the kicking services of Sooalo, a reliable leg last year.

The skinny: Okimoto will rely heavily on his four captains—Siliga, Seth Ilae, Tuimaseve and Keith Chargualaf-Tuileapa—to keep the team's eye on the prize.

“;We are putting more responsibility on our captains as compared to years past, because we are senior-heavy,”; Okimoto said.

Getting his team to come together is a top priority for the coach at this stage, and offseason activities arranged by the players seem to have the Govs on the right track.

Most notably, a large number of Govs (mostly seniors) would go running together on Saturday mornings over the summer.

Siliga is aiming high based on his team's heavy upper class and the volunteer work put in over the last few months.

“;Undefeated. I really have high expectations for this team because there's a lot of seniors, a lot of returnees,”; he said. “;We seniors can carry this team.”;

Okimoto estimated that only three players on the JV last year would have prominent roles this season.

X-factor: Okimoto glowed most about his team's performance in the classroom last year, an area of dramatic improvement. If the Govs can stay focused there, they'll be at their most dangerous.

“;That's our No. 1 reason why we go out here: keep them interested in school,”; Okimoto said. “;Last year we had three guys on academic probation, something we were very proud of. We used to have about 20. This year, I don't know what the numbers are yet, but we're working toward it.”;