About the HUB game

More often than not, I enjoy the week leading up to the HUB Goodwill Senior Bowl more than the actual game.

Let’s face it, we’ve seen our share of blowouts. What can these coaches and players do with just one week — basically three practices — to prepare? I know time is a factor, with lots of winter sports already in season. But I truly believe there’s one aspect of the annual event that can be improved drastically, and it would be this:

Two coaches, one draft, all 100 players. Think about it. The old West versus East concept used to tilt toward the population base of East Oahu. Now the base has shifted, as well as the talent, to the West. It doesn’t matter so much who has the edge as much as the fact that people simply aren’t interested in seeing blowouts. The game, now at Radford’s John Velasco Field, wasn’t a sellout at a high school field.

I don’t know the solution for quality of play other than to return to the two-week practice prep, which is not a fit in the time frame for this overlapping part of the fall and winter seasons. But a DRAFT would bring so much more fun and create two radically more even teams to the field.

I tossed the idea out to Wendell Say, the unofficial dean of OIA coaches, after last night’s 46-14 rout by the West. He chewed on it for a bit, then said no, he wouldn’t like it. Fair enough. What West side coach would favor leveling the playing field at this point? I understand.

But from a fan’s point of view, it would be magnificent to see the draft occur, then see the talent on the field. You think players won’t feel even more like they have something to prove when they’re “drafted” in the lower 50 or lower 25? The game would be so much more competitive.

It’s no guarantee of a great game, but certainly it would stimulate more interest, and it would stoke those competitive fires for the players, many who had not played since the end of the regular season six weeks ago.

Otherwise, this will remain what it is: a nice, friendly meeting of terrific coaches and student-athletes, and winning the game is an afterthought. Taylor Taliulu, the Washington State-bound safety, on the same team with all of that receiving talent of the West … but what if he’d been drafted on a team opposite some of these great pass catchers.

I know that’s what fans want to see — the best against the best. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a bit too much of the best on one squad, and by halftime, the place is as quiet as a library.

Time for a Senior Bowl Draft, guys. The buildup would be amazing.

Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser


  1. Shan December 6, 2011 3:35 am

    This was a good game, but it would have been a completely different outcome and a more competitive game if Radford’s Head Coach Fred Salanoa, who was given the West team to coach, coached the game! Not to take anything away from the East coaches, but they were clearly out coached, they did have the players and player skills to be more competitive. All due respect to Kaimuki’s head coach Clint Onigama who took full charge of the team from the beginning to end, along with “HIS KAIMUKI STAFF “who did their best and remained true to the purpose of the game, which was to showcase their player’s talents while applying some of “Kaimuki’s” BASIC plays.
    I mentioned “out coached” because the West side team was given to Radford’s head coach and his “RADFORD STAFF”, but instead, they had Campbell coach Amosa Amosa, Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda,, Pearl City, Aiea coaches to mention a few and others all on staff, on the field, with their staff and they all had players in the game and influences in the play calling As well as the West side playbook, Radford coacher were there, but how much influence in play calling or playbook did they have. It was obvious that the majority of the plays were Leilehua and Campbell influenced.  In fact, Takuda was in the booth, armed with a wrist band of plays, headphone, and making the play calling down to Amosa Amosa, And if you listen to the live broadcast by ESPN 1500 am (still in archive for your listening convenience and confirmation) it is mentioned by the announcers and Takuda that his plays were being played-out on the field. The West side picked their players weeks in advance and the coaches were getting together to devise a playbook, they also had longer hours to practice, while the East was dealing with a field issue and lighting, practicing in the stadium at 4-oclock, darkness set in pretty quick, by 6-oclock it was dark.
    Now if the East had influences by Kahuku’s Coach Reggie Torres, Farrington’s coach Randall Okimoto, Castle’s coach Nelson Maeda, Saint Louis coach, Darnell Arceneaux or Iolani coach Wendell Look just to name a few, all highly skilled coaches with players on the field, and the fact that they could coach their players on the field, during the game, all knowing their strengths, and if they all got together, they would have surely devised a competitive playbook of their own, but if they do this, what is the point of awarding a schools head coach the opportunity and honor to coach an all-star team made up of High School All -Stars, why not just have an East and West ALL-Star team coached by voted or had-picked East and West coaches, If we do this the game will be more about the coaches then the players as it now seems!!
     Hats off to the “KAIMUKI STAFF”, If you were at the game, you would have also noticed that the East coaches were subbing out their players every 4 plays and stayed true to this method throughout the game, giving adequate, equal playing time to all the players, who worked hard all season long and earned the right to be there to play one last time for their families, schools and community, not to mention next level opportunities.  Sadanaga is an awesome QB and deserves all the praise and respect without question, but he played the entire game, was able to get into his grove and hit his targets with little effort. The East side team subbed out every 4 plays, and if you are a player, you know how hard it is to get into your grove or stride when you are subbed out every 4 plays. The West side’s mission was to clearly win back the title after losing last year, but do we do that on the expense of these young athletes. East side coaches were at the game and I am sure they saw opportunities for adjustments in their players, but they respected the Kaimuki coaches and their boundaries.

  2. Paul Honda December 7, 2011 1:28 am

    Good points, Anonymous. Talking with Coach Salanoa after the game, he said that Kenan had a great game. With all the weapons he had, they were willing to let one of the receivers have the award. I suppose, as a former QB, Coach could understand what the award would mean to a non-QB who had a very good game. Three touchdown catches for Kaimi Wilson, that’s not very common in an all-star game. But that’s what I gathered, that it easily could’ve been awarded to Kenan.

  3. Paul Honda December 7, 2011 1:31 am

    Excellent points, Shan! Coach Tokuda was seated on the tool shed (?) roof next to the radio broadcast guys.

    As for the selection of coaching staffs, I’ve never asked about it before, but now you’ve got me curious. Maybe it’s up to the head coaches on that.

    I still wish they’d do a player draft.

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