Blaze Soares, who was Kalaheo’s defensive coordinator last year, is the DC under Darren Johnson at Campbell now.
Soares is a former Castle and University of Hawaii standout linebacker.
“I coached against him when I was at Kailua,” Campbell head coach Darren Johnson said. “Picking him up was a great thing.”
Soares had not planned on being a coach until his uncle, Kalaheo assistant Wendell Domingo, asked him to come back and help out.
“That lit the (coaching) fire for me,” Soares said. “This is a great opportunity for me to coach in the Open Division against a lot of very good coaches. I’m a competitive person and I wanted to take on this big challenge ahead of me.”
The Sabers made it to the state Open semifinals a year ago, losing to Mililani 24-2.
“There were benefits of coaching at a small program,” Soares added. “You get to work with a small group of kids and can see what works and how to communicate with these kids. That was beneficial, because kids are so different now and not like when I used to play. I think it takes a little more patience now. If I can help a kid get to the next level, I feel rewarded. Every kid should try to play in college. There a lot of opportunities out there at the next level.”
Soares, who grew up in Ewa Beach until moving to the Windward side in seventh grade, would like to coach at the collegiate level some day.
He’s also thrilled to have circled back to his original hometown.
“People don’t know I’m from Ewa and that I grew up in that community,” he said. “I understand the challenges the kids are going through there. It’s me going back to my roots, a blessing in disguise. Ewa Beach kids have that swag, that attitude you want in a kid.”
Johnson has a new offensive coordinator as well — Jaymason Lee, who was with St. Francis last season.
“It’s unfortunate that St. Francis closed, but we got lucky,” Johnson said. “I’ve known Jameson and his dad (Campbell JV coach Jarrod Lee) forever.”