As a coaching lifer, Randall Okimoto has been consistent.
Gadgets and trickeration have their place in the longtime Farrington coach’s playbook, but one of his main focuses in any season — this is his 15th as head coach — is development. When the No. 6-ranked Governors meet No. 4 Kapolei in the OIA Division I football semifinals on Saturday at Aloha Stadium, Okimoto will be counting on everyone on his roster to be ready.
More than two months into the fall, Farrington will need that extra juice from players who don’t get the headlines. After all, a talented, multi-purpose weapon like Challen Faamatau, the only running back with more than 1,000 rushing yards in the state this season, can’t do it by himself.
“Our biggest improvement has been in our non-starting players,” Okimoto said. “Cyrus Sula stepped up last week (against Campbell) in his first start of the season. Dindo Venzon did the same this year when our receivers have been out. When players act like them, it displays our philosophy of One Team One Family.”
Farrington was stymied by Kapolei 28-7 during the regular season. Faamatau rushed 37 times for 118 yards as the offense had its most difficult outing of the season. The nature of playing the same team multiple times, however, can swing the pendulum toward the team that lost. The push, the urgency rests with the Govs, more than the Hurricanes.
Okimoto and his staff could alter or add some new looks offensively and defensively for Kapolei. Or the Govs could do what most old-school coaches do: stick with fundamentals and refine.
“It is definitely a combination of both,” Okimoto said. “It takes true collaboration to carry out the game plan. Faith, players, coaches and people of influence working in unity to accomplish a common goal. I appreciate the passion of (Kapolei coach) Darren Hernandez, (offensive coordinator) June Jones and the rest of the staff has for coaching. It doesn’t only focus on winning the game, but on the relationships with the members that make up the team.”
The Governors didn’t have a bye between week 2 and week 8, but got a rest during the weekend of Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Since then, it’s been playoff wins over Kaiser and Campbell.
“We should be at full strength. We have guys battered and bruised, but nothing we haven’t seen all season,” Okimoto said.