St. John Bosco football coach Jason Negro was in the Turtle Bay Resort lobby on the way out to practice on the property Thursday when he was approached by Kahuku co-athletic director Wendy Anae.
“She said, ‘We’d love to play you in a two-year deal,’ ” Negro said.
They exchanged contact numbers and there could be more talks.
“That is certainly a possibility,” Negro said about playing against the Red Raiders in a two-game home-and-home series. “We would love to be able to play at their place. That’s what I’m excited about on Saturday night. We’re playing at Mililani, not the stadium. It’s going to mean a lot to their community to have our kids play on their campus.”
St. John Bosco’s Braves (No. 2 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25) of Bellflower, Calif., came to Hawaii once before, a 63-14 victory over Saint Louis in 2014. They’re here preparing to play the Trojans, who are No. 2 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s statewide poll.
“I would love to play in front of that crazy Red Raider nation,” Negro added. “We’re always looking for opportunities to challenge our student-athletes and there wouldn’t be anything bigger than to play them in their house.”
But Negro isn’t looking past Mililani in any fashion.
“Coach (Rod) York and his staff do a great job coaching,” he said. “They play really good defense and I’ve seen that they’re not giving up a whole lot. Their running back (Malosi Sam) is one of the top kids we’ve seen all year — his ability and how hard he runs.
“And we’re playing at Mililani. It’s not going to be easy. I heard the weather may be funky. And high school kids drive off of momentum. That’s the biggest scare for me. If the crowd is getting into it and they get some positive things going early in the game, it’s gonna be a game. They’re going to give us everything we can handle and we are not taking them lightly. We know we’re not coming over here with a huge advantage. We’re 4-0. They’re 6-0. It’s going to be a great game.”
Negro talked about the national perspective, which is more pronounced now than ever.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for schools across the states who step up in competition and challenge their athletes. And nobody does it better than Hawaii. Maybe Utah is a close second and Vegas in third, maybe. What Hawaii does with Punahou and Kamehameha, Saint Louis, Kahuku, Mililani — those guys step up and play the competition from the mainland year in and year out. It says a whole lot not only about the culture as a whole, as a people, but also you’ve got to give the school administrations, the coaching staff, families and communities credit to make the sacrifices to make this happen. They want to be seen, and as a result Mililani is No. 22 and Saint Louis is in the Top 10. They’re doing something right here. We are very appreciative of the willingness to play us. It means a lot to me.”
Negro also called out to Texas, hoping to get the Lone Star state teams more interested in traveling and not just hosting out-of-state national powers.
“Texas is very interesting,” he said. “They seem to be leery of traveling. They blame the districts or blame this and that or that they have such big programs that they can’t travel. If you can build $60 million stadiums, you can travel your team in Austin to come and play in Bellflower. I don’t buy the excuses. They need to step up and travel like the rest of us if they want to be mentioned with the rest of the national programs. We’ve been to Cincinnati, New Jersey, DC, Florida, Hawaii twice and Utah. We’ve been all over the place.”