SEVENTH IN A SERIES
This summer, head coaches from all 28 Oahu high school varsity football teams are being asked to recount their football playing days.
One coach who has already been interviewed for this multi-part series pointed out what he thinks may be the value of this endeavor:
“A lot of times, you only hear about coaches when they’re getting released or are having a special season. It’s super hard to have a special season, so this should shed more light on them as people and their journey of when they were student-athletes. It’s going to bring more respect to the people who are doing this job. They didn’t all of a sudden become a high school coach because they coached Pop Warner. These guys have gone through it all, they’ve run the gamut of experiences.”
Some made it to the NFL. Others went to big colleges. Still others went the small-college route. They started as young’uns and got the bug, falling in love with football and taking pride in passing on their knowledge.
Along with the coaches’ look-back at their football-playing pasts, they also give their outlook on where their programs are at heading into the 2019 season.
COACH BRYSON CARVALHO AND THE 2019 WAIPAHU MARAUDERS
Bryson Carvalho will never forget the sometimes rocky road his Waipahu football team took last year.
It ended in a state Division I championship, but that would never have happened if the team — while facing the critical make or break point — didn’t find itself.
“The adversity we fought through was outstanding,” Carvalho said. “We started off the season with half the team. And then we hit roadblocks along the way. It was a struggle. We had to discipline a lot of boys for some of their actions. But they ended up persevering and getting better from the mistakes they made.”
It wasn’t until the playoffs that things coalesced.
“The Leilehua game in the playoffs, that was the first time we played together,” he said. The entire team was healthy, there was no academic probation, everyone followed the rules. The outcome, when we won, showed the coaching staff and the team how good we are when we all play together, follow the rules and do the right things. It gave us confidence.”
Winning that title holds huge meaning for Carvalho, a former Marauders quarterback.
Before high school, he played for the Waipahu Jackrabbits and the Village Park Warriors in Pop Warner, but only a little bit at QB. He started out as a defensive end and then played cornerback for a long time.
“I thought cornerback would be my position, until I got to high school,” Carvalho said. “They needed a quarterback. I stepped up and went from there.”
Interestingly, an injury midway through his senior year was a harbinger of his future as a coach.
“I loved the quarterback position, but I broke my hand against Waianae,” he said. “That’s how coaching started for me. I knew my season was done, so I was already charting plays. That was the only role I could take on. I had kind of an itch for it.”
Carvalho was a starter at QB during his JV years. As a junior, he was a backup to Paulo Aga. As a senior, he was the starter until the injury.
“On the triple option, I ended up taking a hit to my left hand,” he said about the injury.
Carvalho is on the football field today for the same reasons he was then.
“I want to make my family proud and make my school proud,” he said. “The name on your chest is the community you play for. The name on your back is what you play for. I went in with that mind-set.”
Early in Carvalho’s high school career, it was the tail-end of coach Samuel Delos Reyes‘ era.
“We were still doing the run and shoot kind of stuff,” he said. “Throwing the ball around. When I got to varsity, they put in the Syracuse triple option I formation.”
As a junior, though, Carvalho earned his nickname that some still call him: Sunshine. It’s based on a character in the film “Remember the Titans.”
“I got a text from Todd Fujimori, who was the head coach my junior year. It said, ‘Happy Father’s Day, Sunshine,’ ” Carvalho said.
In the movie, Sunshine “can throw the ball a mile, but can’t pitch it five yards.”
In Carvalho’s own words, “I could throw the ball really well, but that sideways pitch was a little difficult.”
One time as the JV QB, Waipahu won a game as time ran out on the hook and ladder.
“It was a homecoming game, a crazy game throughout,” Carvalho said. “Having the ball last … that’s what I teach quarterbacks now — that you’ve to want the ball in that situation. That was pretty special. My receiver was Val Ventura, but I forgot who he pitched it back to.”
Carvalho, who played under head coach Sean Saturnio (now an Army assistant) in his senior year, is finding out what most coaches learn after winning a state title.
“For a long time, we were motivated by proving ourselves,” he said. “That was the kind of approach every year — we gotta do this, we gotta do that. It’s ironic, once you accomplish it (the title), now comes the hard part. We thought the hard part was climbing the mountain. Now, we are dealing with making sure the kids don’t plateau or become stagnated and content with last year. We’ve gotta remember how hard it was to get there.
“Looking at the big picture, we ask the kids what will their legacy be when their playing time is done. We want to make sure that the legacy they leave behind is outstanding. 2018 is done and that team can be proud of that legacy. The only way we can do it in 2019 is to be committed, make great decisions, be a champion in life. That, to me, is the key to all of our success. We’re trying to build life champions who are good leaders, respectable people.”
2019 WAIPAHU MARAUDERS AT A GLANCE
>> 2018 record and finish: 10-4 (5-2 OIA Division I): defeated Leilehua 29-6 in the OIA D-I semifinals; beat Castle 32-3 in the OIA D-I title game; defeated ‘Iolani 20-19 in the semifinals of the D-I state tournament; beat Hilo 42-22 in the D-I state final.
>> Head coach Bryson Carvalho’s staff:
— Ron Johnson (defensive coordinator)
— Ing Aleaga (defensive line)
— Sia Hanisi (defensiveline)
— Miah Leota (linebackers)
— Sana Lauti (linebackers)
— Mason Slade (defensive backs)
— Harry Slade (defensive backs)
— Ed Brown (special teams coordinator, defensive backs)
— Peter Viliamu (offensive line)
— Stan Guevara (offensive line)
— Delbert Austria (running backs)
— Justice Kaseli (wide recievers)
— Matt Slade (wide receivers)
— Aaron Cox (wide receivers)
— Bryson Carvalho (offensive coordinator, quarterbacks)
>> Approximate varsity and JV numbers: Varsity 60, JV 70
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: Alfred Failauga (first-team RB); Kealii Barrett (third-team DL).
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: Zeondre Benjamin (first-team DB); Deacon Kapea (first-team S).
>> Players with Division I FBS college offers: Fiva Tulafale, Sr., LB, 6-3, 230.
>> Among 2019 key returnees: Fiva Tulafale, LB, 6-3, 230; Alfred Failauga, RB, 5-8, 180; Kealii Barrett, DL, 6-2, 265; Cody Marques, QB, 5-8, 160; Tarynce Antolin, S, 5-11, 180.
>> All-time state championships: 1 (D-I, 2018)
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: 12 (9 D-I — 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1957, 1958, 1971, 2018; 3 D-II — 2006, 2011, 2017)
>> 2019 conference: OIA Division I
COMING NEXT IN “GLORY DAYS”:
Part Eight: Coach Mark Kurisu and the 2019 Leilehua Marauders
Previously in the series:
>> Coach Darren Johnson and the 2019 Campbell Sabers
>> Coach John Hao and the 2019 Castle Knights
>> Coach Eddie Klaneski and the 2019 Damien Monarchs
>> Coach David Tautofi and the 2019 Kaimuki Bulldogs
>> Coach Kale Ane and the 2019 Punahou Buffanblu
>> Coach Mike Fanoga and the 2019 Waianae Seariders