14th 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 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 LINCOLN BARIT AND THE 2019 WAIALUA BULLDOGS
The Waialua Bulldogs are going on a football trip this year and are also hosting a team from Canada.
In the preseason, the Bulldogs will go to the Big Island for controlled scrimmages against Honokaa and Pahoa on Friday and Saturday, July 26-27.
“We were originally going to have a (nonleague) game against Pahoa, but you can only have one (and the Bulldogs already have one) but we’re still going to go,” coach Lincoln Barit said. “It’s a bonding thing.”
Waialua will hold its summer-ending camp and break it on Thursday, July 25, before heading out to the Big Isle for the scrimmages the next two days.
“We’ll continue our camp up there,” Barit said.
And then it’s six straight home games, including an Aug. 23 contest against Vincent Massey of Brandon, Manitoba.
Barit is one of many Hawaii high school football coaches who are back heading up the football programs at their alma mater.
He played for the Waialua Bullpups in Pop Warner in the mid-1970s and then for the Bulldogs before graduating in 1979.
“My friends were playing (Pop Warner) and so I played,” Barit said. “We had a good coach and he turned me on to football. I enjoyed it, playing O-line and practically everywhere else — defensive line, linebacker.
George Hatchie, who is a Waialua assistant coach now, played on the same teams as Barit. Hatchie’s son Micah and Matthan went through the Waialua football program in recent years.
“As a freshman, they pulled most of the sophomores and a couple of us freshmen up to the varsity to play in the homecoming game,” Barit said. “They needed players. I remember (the opponents) as big. I was 160-something pounds, playing offensive line and linebacker.”
Barit continued on with the varsity the next two years, playing inside linebacker and guard.
“One time, I got a bit of a surprise,” he said. “One of my coaches was showing us a technique and he broke my face mask. All the buttons popped off, the bolts came off and it was swinging in front of me. I was kind of sore the next day, but I was all right.
“Mike Antone was our head coach and George Watanabe, Fred Lavarias and Bruce Ishimoto were some of the assistants. I would stay over (Ishimoto’s) house when my father worked all night. If it wasn’t for all of them, I probably wouldn’t be coaching. Mike Antone kept me out of trouble.”
Barit played for the Central team in an All-Star game at Aloha Stadium, and he was coached by Mililani’s John Kauinana.
“I remember going up against some really good players like Kahuku fullback Chris Smith and Lem Galeai, who if I’m not mistaken, was a tight end, and Leilehua offensive tackle Kima Sua. They were all nice guys. I grew up with them. We would lift weights in the offseason and hang out.”
Kauinana, who the Trojans’ stadium is named after, plays prominently in Barit’s memory.
“My proudest moment on the field was after the All-Star game,” he said. “Coach John grabbed me, put his arm around my shoulder and said, ‘How come you guys never take champion this year? We had five or six of our players in the game. That was something to me. You’re a kid, but now, you get older and realize you could have done better and it’s too late.”
Barit remembers the Bulldogs having a strong line.
“That was because of coach Homer Teanu (who was also a state arm-wrestling champion),” Barit said. “Everybody on the line could bench 300 pounds my senior year. Three guys — James Abrigo, James Lendio and Jacob Van Kraligan could dead lift 400. Coach Homer trained us real hard. If we didn’t show up, he would come to the house and pick you up. That was all about values and a life lesson.
“On the field, we were supposed to not have fear and to go out and read and react. You think you are going to rip the head off your opponent and he’s thinking the same as us. It was about going out and giving 110 percent. If people told me they didn’t get butterflies, I call them a liar. That’s natural. You have butterfiles, make the first contact and it’s all good. I love it. I wasn’t big, but I was fast.”
Barit also played alongside 49ers great Jesse Sapolu once during a Hawaii vs. Samoa all-star game.
“I was right guard and (Jesse) was left tackle and coach Skippa Diaz was our coach,” Barit said. “That game we had Hawaii players on the Samoa team and there was this middle linebacker, I think it was a Punahou player. I was having a hard time picking him up, so Jesse said, ‘I get him next play.’ I fire out to the middle linebacker and out of the corner of my eye, Jesse came flying by and put a hurt on him. Back in the huddle, I look at Jesse and gave him a smile. All that middle linebacker was worried about now was Jesse.”
Barit and his wife have four boys and a girl, and all four boys played football. Keoki Barit played for ‘Iolani in the Joe Igber days. Justin Barit played linebacker under pops. Chaz Barit was on Kamehameha’s 2004 D-I state championship team, and Jacob Barit was a linebacker and running back for Saint Louis under Delbert Tengan.
Lincoln Barit got into coaching in 1981, soon after graduation, and he’s been with the program except for five years when he coached in Pop Warner.
“We were taught spirit, honesty, discipline and that’s what I try to teach the boys and give back to the school,” he said. “They gave a lot to us.”
For 2019, Barit is trying to find who the team leaders are, and he’s also invested in keeping them as healthy as possible.
“We have seasoned players, and I’m looking forward to the season,” he said. “We have some four-year players and hopefully they step up. We only had eight or nine seniors last year and we’ve got 14 this year. Hopefully, we can find one or two to lead them. So far, offseason training is going well. They’re coming out and the seniors are leading the way. I’m looking forward to seeing that leadership develop.
“We just gotta get better. We didn’t win any games last year, but they put their heart out there and played hard. We just have to be a little more consistent out there.”
2019 WAIALUA BULLDOGS AT A GLANCE
>> 2018 record and finish: 1-8 (0-7 OIA Division II)
>> Head coach Lincoln Barit and staff: N/A
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: None
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: None
>> Players with Division I FBS college offers: None
>> Among 2019 key returnees: Kyler Dicion, Sr., RB/WR; Kai Hoekstra, Jr., WR; Dylan Yadao, Jr., slotback/DB; Titus Fuiava, Sr., ILB; Justyce Lacar, Sr., QB/S
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: 7 (*including one co-championship; D-I — 1941, 1947*, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955; D-II — 2016)
>> 2019 conference: OIA Division II
COMING NEXT IN “GLORY DAYS”:
Part 15: Coach Savaii Eselu and the 2019 Moanalua Na Menehune
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
>> Coach Bryson Carvalho and the 2019 Waipahu Marauders
>> Coach Mark Kurisu and the 2019 Leilehua Mules
>> Coach Pat Silva and the 2019 McKinley Tigers
>> Coach Kili Watson and the 2019 Nanakuli Golden Hawks
>> Coach Tim Seaman and the 2019 Kaiser Cougars
>> Coach Daniel Sanchez and the 2019 Farrington Governors
>> Coach Scott Melemai and the 2019 Kalani Falcons