Wednesday, August 23, 2000
FIRST IN A SERIES: OIA WHITE
MCKINLEY is in the heart of Honolulu, surrounded by several other high schools.
McKinley is expected to2000 OIA schedule
make a lot of noise as the
favorite to win the OIA's
White division this season
By Tim Crouse
Special to the Star-Bulletin
The football team can't lay claim to a distinct community like Kahuku or Waianae.
"We're so populated with high schools around the area, you don't know where your community begins and ends," Tigers coach David Tanuvasa said.
But no matter where McKinley plays, its fans show up -- in large numbers.
"Surprisingly for us, we have big turnouts," Tanuvasa said. "And we've heard from other schools that (say), 'you guys bring a big crowd.' "
Last season, the Tigers played at Leilehua, and had more fans than the Mules.
McKinley followers didn't have much to cheer about during a 2-6 campaign last year in the tough Red Division, but Tanuvasa believes this year will be different in the White, and many others say the Tigers are the team to beat.
"The biggest difference from the past couple years is the attitude of the players," Tanuvasa said. "They're a whole lot more focused and they're out there with the attitude to win.
"We've got guys who care about working hard to increase their chances of winning," he added.
Leadership won't be lacking with four senior captains -- running back Vaa Fonoti, center Brandon Luamanu, linebacker Justin Kaapa and defensive back Kaipo Avilez.
Still, the Tigers, with 13 returning starters on a roster of 55 players, won't rely on a few stars.
"We don't have any supermen," Tanuvasa said. "This is going to be a concerted team effort."
Fonoti, whose goal is to reach 1,000 yards rushing, ran for 111 in Saturday's 35-0 preseason win over Pac-Five.
"We just have to bring it together as a team, as a family," Fonoti said. "Everybody (on the team) believes we can do it."
Quarterback Abraham Pavich is another key. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior passed or ran for a touchdown in every game but one last year. He threw for 354 yards against Farrington and three touchdowns against Leilehua. And he torched Roosevelt for 400 yards and six scores in a '99 preseason game.
The talent doesn't stop there.
"They're loaded," Kaiser coach Tony Gayer said. "They have a big, physical offensive line and are three-deep at running back.
"They are really a Red (Division) team pretending to be in our division," he said. "If McKinley was in the Red, I'd put them in the top three."
But the Tigers are in the White, and they know exactly what they want to accomplish.
"We're going to try to work together and come together and try to win the (division) championship," Pavich said.
Win or lose, Tanuvasa makes sure his players get the most out of participation.
"We use football to change kids' lives and motivate them to go to school," he said. "I expect them to be good citizens and gentlemen."
Good manners or not, the Tigers' ferocity will be tested Saturday at Roosevelt, as they open against Kaiser in what could be the biggest game of the year in the White.
The rest of the White Division in predicted order of finish:
KAISERCoach: Tony Gayer.
Last year: 2-6.
Outlook: The Cougars' offense is in the capable hands of senior QB B.J. Bernard, who set several OIA records last year. Joe Gray, Ikaika Kauahikaua, Ian Matsuda and Landon Beers will play both ways at least in the first two weeks.
CAMPBELLCoach: Tumoana Kenessey.
Last year: 0-8 (Red).
Outlook: Kenessey said senior DB Armond Kalani (6-4, 210) is a legitimate Division I prospect. He's also looking for senior C Derek Faavi and 350-pound junior RG Kaeo Lealao to protect third-year starting QB Vince Lemau.
CASTLECoach: Nelson Maeda.
Last year: 1-7 (Red).
Outlook: RB/DB Kaleo Segovia, a fourth-year player, is poised for a big season. Junior QB Joel Botelho makes the jump from JV. Maeda said DB Rocky Agcaoili will be a real force for the Cougars.
RADFORDCoach: Kelly Sur.
Last year: 6-2.
Outlook: A late stretch of three consecutive games against former Red teams will probably determine the Rams' season, Sur said. DE/LB Jordan Epenesa (6-2, 250) is a legitimate Division I prospect, Sur said.
MOANALUACoach: Jose Guevara.
Last year: 4-4.
Outlook: Junior QB Jimmy Strombach, a drop-back passer, leads the offense. Guevara said the offense will be a balanced mix of run and pass.
PEARL CITYCoach: Ernest Otake.
Last year: 3-5.
Outlook: Defense should be the Chargers' strength, with DT Daniel Tuakoi (6-0, 340) and DE William Harris (6-2, 200) anchoring the line. RBs Ty Jarrett and Kaipo Moniz lead the offense.
KALANICoach: Ron Dement.
Last year: 3-5.
Outlook: The Falcons' defense should be strong, with linemen Dane Souza and Travis Canonizado (who also plays FB). John Garcia (6-1, 210) will help stabilize the offensive line.
KALAHEOCoach: Mike Akiu.
Last year: 2-6.
Outlook: QB Mike Garcia will get support from RBs Jeremy Garcia and Kalani Kane. "We have about 42 players," Akiu said, up from only 17 last year. "They're good learners. They're hungry to win."
NANAKULICoach: Al Beaver.
Last year: 2-6.
Outlook: Beaver said senior QB Kapena Keopuhiwa and senior MLB Teiano Sula are players to watch. He said the team will try to go with a spread offense similar to what the University of Hawaii ran when Beaver assisted there.
WAIALUACoach: Don Capello.
Last year: 1-7.
Outlook: The Bulldogs will go with the run-and-shoot, led by QB Randall Isomura (6-3, 225). Also expected to contribute are OL/DE Brent Claunan and WR/LB Ikaika Soares.
Tomorrow: The OIA Red.