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Baldwin takes another shot


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POSTED: Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Bears of Baldwin have lived through their share of postseason bad news.

Somehow, it usually involves a team from the Oahu Interscholastic Association. Three years ago, it was a lateral and a touchdown pass by Kahuku in the final moments that allowed the Red Raiders to steal a victory from Baldwin in the state semifinals at Aloha Stadium.

In 2007, the Bears toppled Farrington 26-14 at War Memorial Stadium before losing a thriller to Leilehua 41-34 at Aloha Stadium in the semifinals. Andrew Manley, then a sophomore, passed for 263 yards (19-for-37), two touchdowns and two picks in the win for Leilehua. He outdueled the greatest passer in Baldwin history, Jordan Helle, who threw for 303 yards (21-for-49), four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Leilehua went on to win the state crown that season.

Last year, Leilehua jumped out to a 21-0 lead on its way to a 34-15 win over Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium. Manley was precise, hitting 12 of his first 13 tosses, and finished with 233 yards (24-for-32) with four touchdowns and just one pick.

Baldwin struggled and wound up throwing 50 times for 274 yards with quarterback Buta Wilhelm-Ioane. Leilehua then lost in the state final to Punahou.

               

     

 

                                       

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

             

             

               

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

               

             

             

               

               

               

             

             

               

               

               

             

             

               

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

             

               

               

             

         

       

LEILEHUA (8-3)

               

RadfordW, 23-20
at MililaniL, 18-21
Saint LouisL, 21-28
at KapoleiW, 14-10
CampbellW, 29-26
at WaianaeW, 47-28
NanakuliW, 47-7
WaipahuW, 38-8
Kailua,W, 29-13
FarringtonW, 9-7
KahukuL, 20-24

               

BALDWIN (6-3)

               

KailuaL, 9-20 
at King KekaulikeL, 7-14
LahainalunaW, 36-29
MauiW, 41-6 
at KS-MauiW, 24-21 
MauiW, 20-0 
King KekaulikeW, 14-6 
Kamehameha-MauiW, 14-7
LahainalunaL, 14-28

       

 

       

       

When the two teams meet again tomorrow in the opening round of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships, Manley will be there and Baldwin will have home-field advantage again. Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda expects a battle at War Memorial Stadium.

“;Baldwin's a good team, good athletes and well-coached. After beating them the last two seasons, I'm sure they're ready to send us home packing. We'll need to meet their intensity.”;

The Bears (6-3) have had two weeks to prepare.

“;Manley's got a big arm and he's a smart kid,”; Baldwin coach A.J. Roloos said. “;We've got to try to contain him. Hopefully, he'll have an off night. We'll try to throw different stuff at him. We're not that big up front, but we'll try and be quick.”;

Pass protection has been a positive for the Mules (8-3) this season, but Manley's ability to read and get rid of the ball—and scramble for yardage—has continued to improve.

“;Andrew is a veteran at playing in the state tournament. I hope the O-line does its job in protecting him,”; Tokuda said. “;It'll help to run the ball effectively so teams can't make us one-dimensional.”;

On paper: Leilehua finished second in the OIA. Baldwin won the Maui Interscholastic League title.

Manley's prolific numbers against Baldwin have been partially due to seasoned receivers. His main target coming back from the past two seasons is Kamana Akagi, who has monstrous numbers this fall (61 receptions, 976 yards, 10 touchdowns). Akagi suffered a severe concussion in the OIA final against Kahuku, but will suit up for tomorrow's game.

Baldwin, meanwhile, has made adjustments and hasn't been a full-tilt run-and-shoot team. Quarterback Brock Shishido returned from a one-year hiatus and directed an offense that relied both on the aerial game and a flex option that made use of his athleticism.

“;He has a strong arm, but he's also surrounded by good receivers,”; Roloos said.

Sheldon Leong, who had nine catches for 145 yards in last year's game against the Mules, is also back.

The Bears have just 20 seniors, as Roloos points out. A 28-14 loss two weeks ago to the MIL's Division II champion, Lahainaluna, ended a six-game win streak.

“;We've got kids who stepped up this year. Learning the spread takes time,”; Roloos said.

The skinny: Leilehua's defense is difficult to block. Charlie Tuaau (6-foot-4, 290) and Frazer Taua (6-2, 250) anchor the line, and as a unit, the defense has allowed just 52 points in its last four games. The teams that put up points on Leilehua—Saint Louis scored 28, Waianae had 28, Campbell tallied 26—were able to spread the field and, in some situations, had scrambling quarterbacks who bought extra time.

With Akagi possibly out, the Mules will have some relatively inexperienced talent running routes. However, Darrien Shealy (6-1, 175) and Blaine Furtado (5-7, 150) are among the juniors who have progressed with coverage reads. Manley's chemistry with his targets is one of the key factors tomorrow.

If the Mules offense is on, the Bears will be tested. Baldwin hasn't played a ranked team yet this season, and none of their foes throw the ball as efficiently as Manley does.

X factor: Leilehua's lowest scoring output, nine points against Farrington, was partly because of the Governors' ball-control, run-oriented offense. Can Baldwin keep the Mules' offense off the field for long stretches?