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StarBulletin.com

Final season for Mules' Manley Show


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POSTED: Thursday, August 13, 2009

Losing three first-team all-state offensive players to graduation would deal a serious blow to most teams.

Leilehua on the other hand, not so much.

The Mules have retooled one of the most prolific offenses in the Oahu Interscholastic Association for another run at a state crown, and check in at No. 2 in the Star-Bulletin preseason Top 10.

“;Our offense is our strength,”; coach Nolan Tokuda said. “;Guys have stepped in for Rico (Newman) and Cheves (Aberilla-Ramento) and Edieson Dumlao. Doesn't look like we skipped a beat.”;

Four of the five starting offensive linemen return, but the key behind it all is senior quarterback Andrew Manley, the reigning Star-Bulletin offensive player of the year.

Manley, who stepped up from the junior varsity squad to lead the Mules to the state title as a sophomore, is 16-3 as a starter. He completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,665 yards and 31 touchdowns in his first full season as a junior, guiding Leilehua back to the state title game before losing to Punahou.

With another year of maturity and growth under his belt, Manley is poised to take that next step into the upper echelon of high school quarterbacks in Hawaii history.

               

     

 

TOP 10 COUNTDOWN

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. Punahou
        3. Kahuku
        2. Leilehua
        1. Tomorrow

       

“;Before, he was the type of quarterback where even though the window was small, he had the arm strength to stick it right in there,”; Tokuda said. “;Now he understands the numbers game and makes better decisions with the football.

“;I've only seen three quarterbacks make those types of throws and Fred Salanoa and Darnell Arceneaux graduated so I'll go with Andrew Manley.”;

2008: 11-3 (7-2 OIA Red)

On paper: Carlos Marshall's transition from running back to receiver will be important because that's the one area on offense the Mules are inexperienced.

Four returning starters on the offensive line have helped the Mules run the ball well in early season scrimmages.

“;This year, we have to emphasize the running game,”; said running back Austin Schmidt, who was Newman's fullback last year. “;The line has three seniors and they worked hard in the offseason.”;

Defensively, Leilehua returns four starters, but has a solid front four in seniors Charlie Tua'au (6-foot-4, 290 pounds), Frazer Taua (6-2, 250), Zach Asuega Coffin (6-0, 220) and Nate Schuster (6-0, 240).

Chevez Ma'afala (6-2, 210) is a senior transfer from Aiea who could also make an impact on the line.

Those guys should be able to occupy blocks and set up senior linebacker Kalua Ellis (5-11, 230), who has a shot at becoming the league leader in tackles.

               

     

 

LEILEHUA
        2009
        Aug. 14 — Radford
        Aug. 22 — at Mililani
        Aug. 29 — Saint Louis
        Sept. 11 — at Kapolei
        Sept. 18 — Campbell
        Sept. 25 — at Waianae
        Oct. 2 — Nanakuli
        Oct. 9 — Waipahu

2008 (11-3)
        Leilehua 23, Radford 0
        Leilehua 33, 'Iolani 14
        Leilehua 24, Mililani 13
        Leilehua 21, Kapolei 7
        Leilehua 33, Pearl City 12
        Waianae 27, Leilehua 21
        Leilehua 45, Nanakuli 12
        Leilehua 27, Waipahu 21

       

2008 POSTSEASON
        Leilehua 38, Kaimuki 7
        Farrington 26, Leilehua 24
        Leilehua 32, Waianae 0
        Leilehua 34, Baldwin 15
        Leilehua 17, Kahuku 10
        Punahou 38, Leilehua 7

       

The secondary is anchored by seniors Kasey Dukes (5-9, 160) and Sly Izumigawa (5-9, 170).

The skinny: The game plan to beat Leilehua last year was simple.

Run. Run. Run.

Waianae upset the Mules at Leilehua by getting 100 rushing yards from two different players. In Farrington's win over Leilehua in the OIA playoffs, Apelu So'oalo put up 135 yards rushing against the Mules.

Leilehua's defensive line is all seniors and battle-tested, but will have to step up big against some of the OIA's more physical teams. Ellis will anchor the linebacker corps for the third straight year and was a big factor in the Mules' state title run two seasons ago. He'll need help however and junior linebacker Darric Matsumiya (5-10, 180) needs to step right in and contribute.

If the Mules can hold tough against the top rushing attacks in the OIA and get quick three-and-outs, it'll give Manley and the offense more opportunities to rack up points, which the Mules should be able to do.

X factor: Maika Kunioka's replacement. The Mules were fortunate to have a first-team, all-state kicker last season in Kunioka, who came up with clutch field goals in key moments.

The Mules are bound to be in a couple of close games if they are to make the state title game a third year in a row, and the difference between winning and losing could easily come down to the foot of whoever wins the place-kicking job.