(Wed) August 18, 2010
Edward Jackson (OIA Contributing Writer)
The Waianae football team is strong and healthy according to coach Dan Matsumoto. “We got off to a slow start, but this is a long season. Hopefully we can stay injury-free and keep our players focused on performing at their best both on the field and in the classroom,” Matsumoto said.
The team struggled in its opening game against host Kahuku yet Matsumoto viewed that game as a building block to improve upon the fundamentals of football.
“The Kahuku game was a positive game for us,” Matsumoto said. “Even though we lost, our team got their feet wet in playing against tough competition. Now our players will likely get more serious about working on their weaknesses.”
Matsumoto hinted that changes in the lineup may take place.
“We are still evaluating our players to determine the best fit for our team. Our coaching staff is continuously searching for ways to maximize our talent. We have good players, but sometimes it takes a few good practices to get things clicking,” Matsumoto said.
Waianae will once again run the wing-T offense using four receiver slots under the direction of senior quarterback Puletua Wilson.
The receivers are Hookena Kamana and Wailana Cambra. The running backs are Kanekapila Hussey, Bryson Panui and Jaylen Mitchell.
“We’re going to try our best to get things rolling,” Hussey said. “The football competition in Hawaii is tough. But Waianae is known as a team that will be there at the end of the season. Somehow the backfield will find a way to get yardage for our team. I’m sure we will get better as we play more games.”
Defensively, Waianae is led by Chavez Kauwalu and Kaeo Alana. Both players say that keeping the opponent out of the end zone is a challenge that the team is striving to achieve.
“Our goal is to keep any team from scoring on us,” Kauwalu said. “That way we will always have a chance to win. Once we get our timing then we will be very competitive.”
Alana added, “No matter what happens in the beginning of the season, we’re still aiming to win the league title. It won’t be easy, but we have the talent to do well.”
Matsumoto believes every team in the Oahu Interscholastic Association is capable of beating any team on any given night.
“Night in and night out, the OIA is a very rugged league. The key to winning in this league is to stay healthy. We are not as big as previous teams were, but we are going to go out on that field and give it all that we have. That’s all that I can ask of our players,” Matsumoto insisted.
“This season we are trying something different in doing off the field activities to bond our team. We recently had a sleepover so that the players can get to know each other better in a non-football context,” Matsumoto said.
“And our coaching staff is increasingly urging our players to concentrate on their school work and to stay away from problematic situations.”