Prep Beat

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, September 10, 1999

Surfriders put faith
in coach Johnson

By Ben Henry
Special to the Star-Bulletin


If one of the most time-tested motivational tools is fear, Kailua coach Darren Johnson has a bright future as a motivational speaker.

Going over film from last Friday's game against Waianae, Kailua's offense assembles in Johnson's tiny locker room office one day this week before practice.

"Every week's gotta be your best!" he bellows. His shout pierces the otherwise silent locker room sharper than a Rocky Alo juke. "Don't make 'em better than what they are!"

The rest of the team, prepping for practice and well-aware of the situation, scurries about the dark, grungy dungeon of a locker room in a methodic daze, whispering in conversation and hushing all unsuspecting new arrivals with aspirations of not drawing the attention of the scathing coach.

But, out of nowhere, Johnson reveals his sense of humor: "Eh, Justin -- wake up!"

The players let down their guard slightly with a nervous collective laugh.

But faster than you can say "fumble," Johnson notices the team turning the ball over on tape, rendering the players' relief premature.

"Once that ball hits the ground, you scramble for it!" he commands, silencing the room. "I don't want to see film like this again -- practice like champions!"

The kids listen attentively, like apprentices to a master, trying to take in everything they can.

"This is pathetic," he says. "You guys don't want to win."

Here, Johnson may be wrong. If this is how he reacts when they beat Oahu Interscholastic Association power Waianae for the first time in 10 years, how would he react if they lost?

One thing's for sure -- these kids don't want to find out.

"We feel we have to listen, because he knows what he's doing," said tailback Alo, last season's White Division Offensive Player of the Year. "He brought this program up (from losing seasons). We feel we can win if we listen to him."

The Surfriders, 2-0 this year with the highest-scoring offense in the OIA's Red Division, will try to continue their bid for a spot in the state tournament tomorrow against Farrington (1-1) at Roosevelt.

Johnson, a former Kahuku offensive coordinator in his fourth year as head coach at Kailua, has improved a team that was 3-10 in his first two years to 11-1 since the beginning of last season. And how has he done it?


"If a kid ain't disciplined, we won't put him on the field, and they know that," he said.

Though it might be too early to tell, with a perfect record and a big win under its belt, Kailua is emerging as a favorite to qualify for the state tournament in November.

"Every little detail counts," Johnson said. "If we say 'Put on your socks right leg first,' we expect them to put on their socks right leg first. If you don't make the little mistakes, then you won't make the big ones."

Still, Johnson's coaches seem to have mastered the delicate balance between acting as authority figures and friends. "All the coaches, they're just like our friends -- we just cruise, talk story," Alo said. "But when it's time for business, we know not to fool around."



 		W	L	PF	PA
St. Louis	1	0	84	28
Iolani		1	0	29	7
Kamehameha	1	0	34	19
Punahou		0	1	19	34
Damien		0	1	7	29
Pac-Five	0	1	28	84


Kamehameha vs. Damien, 5 p.m.; St. Louis vs. Punahou, 7:45 p.m., Aloha Stadium.


Pac-Five at Iolani, 2 p.m.

OIA 1999


 		W	L	PF	PA
Kailua		2	0	61	31
Kahuku 		2	0	56	12
Mililani	2	0	38	20
Waianae		1	1	55	53
Leilehua	1	1	33	47
Farrington	1	1	26	40
Waipahu	1	1	21	13
McKinley	0	2	26	30
Campbell	0	2	26	38
Castle		0	2	6	64


 		W	L	PF	PA
Roosevelt	2	0	105	37
Moanalua	2	0	81	30
Kaimuki		2	0	61	8
Nanakuli	1	0	26	22
Radford		1	1	54	46
Kalani		1	1	38	77
Aiea		1	1	30	28
Kalaheo		0	2	28	62
Pearl City	0	2	31	76
Kaiser		0	2	28	81
Waialua		0	1	7	22


Campbell at Kahuku; Waianae at Castle; Kaimuki at Roosevelt; Waialua vs. Kalaheo at Kailua; Kalani at Nanakuli; Pearl City at Radford; Kaiser at Aiea, 7:30 p.m.


Leilehua at Mililani; Kailua vs. Farrington at Roosevelt; Waipahu vs. McKinley at Moanalua, 7:30 p.m.

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