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Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, August 24, 2000

Prep Football 2000
Day 1

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Coach Danny Matsumoto is the new front man for Waianae.
Key players, left to right, Siota Malu, Likeke Pepe'e, Leato
Savini, Lono Manners and Eric Magsanide could make things
rocky for the rest of the Oahu Interscholastic Association.

New skipper,
same Seariders

Tradition-rich Waianae could
have the talent to conquer
the highly competitive
OIA Red division

2000 OIA schedule

By Dave Reardon

A salty Pacific breeze sweeps onto sweaty skin at Waianae High's postcard-pretty Torii Field, where the state's most consistent football program runs hard, hits hard and hasn't had a losing season in over 35 years.

The football field remains a literal and figurative oasis for a rural community negatively labeled over generations.

Mention Waianae, and many think drugs, violence and unemployment.

Mention Waianae football, and many think discipline, toughness and success.

Whether it's the era of Larry Ginoza or Bryant Ginoza, of Nate Fletcher or Nate Jackson, the winning tradition lives on.

And tradition isn't celebrated in silly ritual, but rather in the pride of playing the game correctly.

As well as teaching it the right way.

That's where Danny Matsumoto, 39, comes in.

On the very surface, the Seariders' new varsity head coach doesn't seem to belong. Went to Mid-Pacific Institute. Never played high school football.

But over the past 14 years, Matsumoto has been an important part of Searider football, for 10 years as a junior varsity assistant and head coach, and the past four as a varsity assistant.

He's earned the respect of his fellow coaches and the players as Waianae heads into a season many expect to end in a championship.

"It doesn't matter that he didn't play," star running back Peter Sarono said. "He knows the game, and coaching is about teaching technique. It's our job to apply what they teach us, to do what we're taught."

Matsumoto said he hopes to perpetuate what was started 35 years ago by Larry Ginoza, who turned the Seariders into perennial winners, including the first six of 13 Prep Bowl appearances.

Last year, the Seariders were 6-2 in the OIA Red, but were blitzed by St. Louis, 53-21, in a state quarterfinal.

Better is expected this year as some have tabbed Waianae the favorite to win the OIA.

"Things haven't changed. We always feel we have to do well here," Matsumoto said. "It's because of the way Coach Ginoza set it up and the things he's done for the community. It's something we all respect."

Ginoza -- make that, the Ginozas -- will be a big part of what Matsumoto and the Seariders accomplish this year. Larry Ginoza is defensive coordinator. Bryant Ginoza, Larry's son who quarterbacked Waianae in 1984, is the offensive coordinator.

"He's still the boss," Matsumoto said of Larry Ginoza. "It's pretty neat having him on the staff. We've become good friends over the years."

Matsumoto said while on-and-off field discipline has been a Waianae trademark for decades, he senses a recent slip.

"It's a society thing. I blame the WWF and Jerry Springer," he said. "But what really helps us is when guys like Nate Jackson (a University of Hawaii defensive back) come back to the school and talk to the players. He's a great role model and close in age, so they really listen."

Farrington coach Harold Tanaka said he thinks Matsumoto will do fine, because Waianae has never been a one-man show.

"Their program's foundation is so solid. You just have to continue doing what those before you did," Tanaka said. "Danny's such a low-key guy. He's a teacher, not a screamer. That's how they've all been -- Ginoza, (Harry) Mitsui, (Leo) Taaca. That's what those kids need. Teachers, not screamers."

Key players include quarterback Kekoa Llanes (6-0, 185) and defensive lineman Atuatasi Lia (5-10, 270). Sarono's (5-7, 170) running mate Lono Manners (5-10, 185), who led the Red with 15 touchdowns last year, is out with a broken arm. The Seariders will be severely tested in their opener at Kailua on Saturday.

Kahuku and Farrington should also contend for the Red title in a close race. The rest of the division, in predicted order of finish:


COACH: Siuaki Livai.
LAST YEAR: 12-2, OIA champions, lost to St. Louis in state final.
OUTLOOK: Livai is excited about his depth at running back with A.J. Smith, Ervin Atuaia, Marcus Salanoa and Mulivai Pula. Despite returning only five starters, the Red Raiders appear to have reloaded this season after nearly beating Utah state champion Skyline in Salt Lake City last week. DT Jonathan Mapu (6-3, 260) leads a typically big and aggressive defense.


COACH: Darren Johnson.
LAST YEAR: 8-4, OIA runners-up, lost to Waimea in state tournament quarterfinal.
OUTLOOK: Johnson said team speed is an asset, especially from WR Ryan Lum. But the Surfriders have lots of size, too, with OL Sam Satele (6-2, 285) and David Moku (6-1, 260). Junior QB Taleki Mailau (5-9, 165) is multi-talented. Four tough LBs anchor the defense, led by Ammon Kaleo (6-1, 255).


COACH: Harold Tanaka.
LAST YEAR: 6-4-1, lost to Baldwin in state quarterfinal.
OUTLOOK: QB Gilbert Sa (5-10, 155) makes good decisions out of the run-and-shoot. He has several experienced receivers including WR Warren Gaspar (6-1, 175) and SBs Micah Alexander (5-9, 160) and Kalani Lautele (5-9, 165). LT Cornelius Thomas (6-5, 310) is a force. Watch for LB Benito Reyes (6-0, 215) on defense.


COACH: James Millwood.
LAST YEAR: 4-3-2, lost to Waianae in OIA quarterfinal.
OUTLOOK: Defense is the Trojans' strength, as the entire starting front seven returns. DE Kaipo Patoc (6-2, 200) and LB Braddah Kalahiki (5-9, 195) are the ringleaders. Offensively, Brian Daniels (6-0, 210) is fast and strong at RB.


COACH: Ronald Oyama.
LAST YEAR: 8-1 (White), lost to Farrington in OIA quarterfinal.
OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs have lots of size, with 26 of their 44 players weighing in at 200-plus. QB Jordan Caires (5-10, 200) has some big targets in TE Kila Kamakawiwo'ole (6-2, 200) and WR Justin Faimealelei (6-2, 205). RB/LB Soloni Taumalolo (5-11, 225) could emerge as an impact player on either side of the ball.


COACH: Wendell Say.
LAST YEAR: 6-3 (White), lost to Kahuku in OIA quarterfinals.
OUTLOOK: Na Alii have an ace in fourth-year K Ben Villaflor, consistent on field goals up to 50 yards. Aiea is rebuilding in most other areas, though, having lost 28 seniors. Players to watch include third-year starting DT David Lautalo (6-0, 250) and WR Omar Tucker (6-1, 175), a transfer from San Diego.


COACH: Cass Ishitani.
LAST YEAR: 3-4-1.
OUTLOOK: The young Mules aren't as bad as their 51-0 preseason loss to Iolani on Saturday. There's good size on the defensive line with Alasi Matautia (6-2, 320) and Preston Rosales (5-11, 245). LB Abel Tarpley (5-10, 190) is a leader. Senior QB Clifton Feliciano (6-0, 175) is a senior but is playing football for the first time since Pop Warner. Josh Tomas (6-1, 185) is the primary target in the run-and-shoot.


COACH: Les Parrilla.
LAST YEAR: 7-2 (White), lost to Kailua in OIA quarterfinal.
OUTLOOK: The Rough Riders lost heavily to graduation, and projected starting QB Chris Mols is out for the season with a broken collarbone. Top players are C Wade Rodrigues (5-11, 205) and DE Kala Koki (6-3, 250). Corey Higa (5-6, 145) is probably the new QB.


COACH: Todd Fujimori.
OUTLOOK: Depth is a huge problem for the Marauders. School started yesterday, and 14 players are ineligible because of academics. They will miss at least two games. Also, 23 players will miss the third game because of an incident during preseason camp. Among those who will play are RB Marcus Sagapolu (5-6, 177), FB Avei Moevao (5-8, 220), LB Jeremiah Leota (5-8, 173), SS Chad Calma (5-7, 150) and CB Elliott Olinger (6-0, 157).

Tomorrow: The MIL

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