Wednesday, October 27, 1999
dedication pays off
in big way
They carry a perfect markBy Ben Henry
into the OIA playoffs
Ask any successful football coach what it takes to win, and he will most likely ramble on about hard work, discipline and teamwork.
But Kaimuki head coach Ronald Oyama doesn't bother preaching these cliches.
His players do it for him.
The proof is, ahem, in the pudding for the Bulldogs, White Division champions with a perfect 8-0 record. Their offense has dominated almost every defense it has encountered, and their defense is by far the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Division's best, giving up only 56 points on the season.
The first thing someone usually wants to know when a team strikes success is how they're doing it. A further investigation turns up nothing that hasn't been said before.
Kahuku vs. Aiea, 5:05 p.m.
Kaimuki vs. Farrington, 7:30 p.m.
Kailua vs. Roosevelt, 5:05 p.m.
Waianae vs. Mililani, 7:30 p.m.
All games at Aloha Stadium
First, the hard work,
"Everyone's just committed themselves, dedicated themselves to come out and play football for the love of the sport," said senior linebacker and tight end Darrell Tautofi. "We're hard workers and we just like to play the game."
Next, the discipline.
"This year is more disciplined and more off-season conditioning to get into shape," said senior slotback and safety Fred Kaluna. "He just wanted us to get in better shape than last year."
And finally, teamwork.
"I think we do a lot better as a team, instead of as individuals," Tautofi said. "That's how we got this far."
Oh yeah -- no formula for success is complete without mentioning a higher force: "The Lord above is keeping us alive in the playoffs," said Matt Faga, senior offensive lineman and defensive tackle. "We're God's team."
Although these players may be spitting out well-inked cliches, they are unique in the fact that they truly mean what they say. To them, it's as if they're the first ones to ever utter the words, "There's no 'I' in 'team.' "
While some were caught off-guard by Kaimuki's success, no one on the team was. "This was our goal, actually, to be this high," said Tautofi.
Oyama, in his first year as head coach at Kaimuki, started his team training in February, and that has developed into a well-conditioned team.
"Our off-season training, our boys committing themselves to the sport." said Faga.
That has helped Kaimuki, which lists 48 on its roster. Because of its small roster, 28 of them have to play both offense and defense, and conditioning helps in that.
That discipline has also molded the players to focus on the team, rather than themselves.
"If there's hard times, if we want to take it out on somebody, we try to take it out on the other team," Tautofi said. "If we make a mistake, we try to forget about it and face it on the next play."
Another measure coaches take to keep the team on its toes involves offensive coordinator Fred Lee administering written tests to ensure the offense knows the plays by heart.
"You gotta know every position and all the formations and all the routes," senior running back and linebacker Ryan Root said. "Each wrong you get, that's 10 grass drills."
One thing that stands out about this team is the lack of egos.
"We all compete on the field to get starting positions, but we don't take it personally," said Tautofi. "We just leave it on the field. Off the field, we're family."
This can almost be taken in the literal sense. Many on the team are from the projects in Palolo. "We all went to school together from intermediate, so we're like brothers," said Kaluna. "If not from Palolo, we know each other from someplace."