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Baldomero recovers from mistakes to vitalize 'Iolani


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POSTED: Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sometimes adversity tells more about a person than easy success. 'Iolani's Ammon Baldomero and his team provide a good case in point.

The 5-foot-9 junior running back bounced back from a first half in which he lost two of 'Iolani's six turnovers, en route to a 24-17 win over Kauai in the Division II title game of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Championships last night at Aloha Stadium.

Baldomero went on to run for a game-high 108 yards on 34 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown late in the third quarter that put the Raiders up for good. He also caught four Jarrett Arakawa passes for 38 yards to help steady the offense and seize control of the game.

Human nature might dictate Baldomero lose confidence and get down on himself after a less-than-stellar performance to start the biggest game of the year. But his teammates and coach wouldn't allow that to happen.

“;I'm thankful to play on such a supportive team”; Baldomero said. “;Jarrett was right there with me at halftime, telling me to pick it up, not let it get to me. And my boys on the O-line were telling me to just forget about it. They gave me a definite boost. That's what this school is about—team, we're all in it together.”;

Head coach Wendell Look's halftime speech was either supportive or somewhat caustic, depending on who you ask. But judging by the difference in the second half, it was probably a combination of tough love and “;we can do this”; encouragement.

“;That's what makes him such a great coach,”; Baldomero said. “;He knows how to keep us going, not get complacent, and take care of things on the field. It turned out to be a good old ballgame.”;

'Iolani wide receiver Trevyn Tulonghari, who caught a game-high eight passes for 134 yards, also helped encourage his teammates.

“;We just kept telling Ammon to keep his head up because we knew he'd pull through for us in the end,”; Tulonghari said. “;We know how good we are at our best. All we had to do was come together and things started to work. We came out firing in the second half.”;

Look saw his star running back struggle early, but wasn't about to take Baldomero out of the game.

“;He's our running back,”; he said.

Leaving him in was just the right medicine for his ailing player. Baldomero came out with more determination and confidence. Look says it's all about intestinal fortitude.

“;In that kind of situation you test yourself, see what kind of person you are, how much character you have,”; Look said. “;His teammates did pick him up, but Ammon showed what he was made of. The whole team did. I put a lot of trust in these kids and they got it done.”;