Kapolei is the “second city” and, it seems, with social engineering at work, the masses are moving out that way.
It’s not just an alternative urban center to Honolulu, it’s a magnet for young families looking for affordable housing. Look at the relative strength of the football teams out West, starting with Mililani and moving on to Campbell, Kapolei, Nanakuli and Waianae. Not a bad apple in the bunch, so to speak.
Now, take a look at the public school places in Honolulu that, within the last few years, the football has declined. We’re talking about the places where the pride of football once ran high, and it wasn’t that long ago. Honolulu was the place young families would flock and, if public school was the chosen path, send their budding footballers to Roosevelt and McKinley.
It must be said that McKinley and Roosevelt could be on the way up this season. The Tigers, who went winless last season, have dropped down to Division II and from what we’re hearing from over there is that second-year head coach Sam Cantiberos is committed to putting McKinley football on the map again.
The same can be said about Kui Kahooilihala, the new Roosevelt coach. He is out to change the culture of ‘We’re going to lose’ to one where it’s more like win or lose, we are going to give everything we have.
So now, this meandering article will finally get to the point. The Westward movement. Westward ho.
In the offseason, June Jones — the highly successful former football coach at the University of Hawaii — joined head coach Darren Hernandez on the Kapolei football staff. He was impressed with freshman quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa last year, and he was free, since he did not get the UH football job opening that eventually went to Nick Rolovich.
Well, keeping with that flocking to the West theme, it turns out that Jones is not the only “name” coach to join the Hurricanes. Hernandez’s staff for 2016 also includes Dennis McKnight, who was an assistant at UH under Jones, former Rainbow Warriors slotback and kick returner Ricky Lumford and former Leilehua and New Mexico State quarterback Andrew Manley.
Manley led the Mules to the Division I state championship in 2007.
Here’s how those three got to Kapolei, according to Hernandez:
“My special teams coordinator the last five years has been Patrick Ena, (a defensive coordinator for many years under Sean Saturnio at Waipahu who also was a defensive lineman at Oregon State) and he also coaches the defensive line. He did a great job, but this year is only able to do DL due to his teaching duties and his young children. June suggested Dennis McKnight and it has been a great fit. His knowledge and energy is unbelievable. He is a great motivator and a real spark to the offense, where he also coaches the OL, and special teams. He is also an educator and teacher, which is a big plus.
“When June was hired, I brought aboard Ricky Lumford, who played for June and Dennis at UH. He was at Kamehameha the last three years (as an assistant) and tutored (star wide receiver) Kumoku Noa. He knows the offense and has been a huge asset to our guys. Andrew Manley has been working with Taulia and other young quarterbacks for the past few months on Sundays at passing clinics and came highly recommended by those who help to coach those clinics. He contacted me and wanted the opportunity to learn the run-and-shoot from June Jones, so I picked him up. He’s a young coach with a lot to offer and a passion for the game.”