Nick’s notebook: Scrimmage week

Solomon Matautia, Abel Taito, Kea Cambra, Jayce Bantolina, Tristan Ludiazo and Arona Amosa are ready to rock for Campbell. Photo by Dennis Oda.
Solomon Matautia, Abel Taito, Kea Cambra, Jayce Bantolina, Tristan ludiazo and Arona Amosa are ready to rock for Campbell. (Dennis Oda /

Things learned, observed and taken in by osmosis while waltzing around various high school football training camps for a week:

>> Kapolei running back Ronald Young won the best running back award at the All-Polynesian camp in Utah this summer.

>> Hurricanes coach Darren Hernandez said his team could still be a factor even if it starts 0-3, which is a possibility since it opens the regular season at Kahuku, vs. Farrington at Roosevelt’s Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium, and at home against Milillani. All three opponents are widely regarded as being among the top half-dozen teams in the state. Fortunately, Kapolei can get a game under its belt before hitting the gauntlet with a preseason contest Aug. 9 at Kealakehe.

>> Overheard while at the Mililani vs. Leilehua scrimmage on July 31: Saint Louis was leading Kapolei 8-4 (with touchdowns counting as one) in their scrimmage the same night.

>> Kaleo Piceno, a sophomore, made his first appearance at quarterback for Leilehua in the 48-21 scrimmage loss to Mililani at Hugh Yoshida Stadium. He came in as a backup to starter Kalanimoku Pauole. Both were effective despite a ton of pressure and five sacks by Mililani’s thundering front seven. Piceno is the little brother of Leilehua running back Ikaika Piceno, who combines bull- and cheetah-like characteristics in a 5-foot-8, 175-pound package. Ikaika Piceno, a senior leader, is not only quick and fast, but his acceleration is something to see.

>> Add Leilehua’s Brandon Clisbee to the list of towering players lining up on offensive lines this year. Clisbee, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound senior, is playing on the second team at left tackle at the moment. The transfer from Colorado also played for the Mules during his sophomore year.

>> Former Leilehua quarterback Mack Eberhardt is playing for Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, according to Mules coach Nolan Tokuda. He threw for 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games for Leilehua a year ago.

>> Mililani defensive lineman Rex Manu is back where he left off after a first-team All-State season in 2013, ravaging the Leilehua line in the scrimmage for one and a half sacks and another tackle for loss.

>> Matt Milton, a former Mililani quarterback, was on the sidelines watching his little brother, McKenzie Milton, who is only a junior, complete 17 of 20 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns against the Mules. According to Trojans coach Rod York, Milton has been working with a private quarterback tutor — Joel Lane, the former All-State quarterback at Saint Louis — and could be taking his game to new levels.

>> The Mililani JV team beat Leilehua 39-13.

>> During a team bonding session, Farrington players got to know a recent American Samoa transfer better. His name is Jeremiah Pritchard and he will be playing linebacker for the Govs. Defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko, who says his oral commitment to Texas Tech is rock solid, said, “When we listened to him (Pritchard) talk, we learned to appreciate what we have. He said coming here was a blessing and they didn’t have cleats or very good pads, things we take for granted.”

Ranan Mamiya is one of many backs in line for a share of the carries for Farrington. Photo by Dennis Oda.
Ranan Mamiya is one of many backs in line for a share of the carries for Farrington. Photo by Dennis Oda.

>> While talking about his backfield, Governors coach Randall Okimoto mentioned a few veterans, including Bugsy Tui and St. Francis transfer Ranan Mamiya. But then he listed three first-time varsity players who look to be part of a posse of ball carriers — Challen Faamatau, Freedom Alualu, Kingston Moses-Sanchez and freshman C.J. Liana, the brother of third-year starting quarterback Montana Liana.

>> Campbell sophomore quarterback Ezra Savea is the brother of Leilehua senior wide receiver/tight end Toma Savea.

>> One of Campbell coach Amosa Amosa’s sons, Amosa Amosa Jr., is not with the Sabers this year due to graduation. All-State first-team offensive lineman Adam Amosa, the coach’s nephew, also graduated. But there are still two Amosas to carry on the legacy — guard Arona Amosa and center Alapana Amosa.

>> Tristan Ludiazo, a defensive end for the Sabers and a state 220-pound wrestling champion, is being recruited by Division I colleges, including Colorado and Missouri. He was given the MVP among linemen at the Oregon Ducks camp this summer. Coach Amosa said Ludiazo may also see time at nose tackle.

>> Waianae will have a different look, running a pistol offense for the first time. Offensive coordinator Kana Kawai insists that the Seariders won’t back off from their hard-driving running game.

>> On the first day of pads and contact, Waianae defensive coordinator Matt Murakawa tried to make sure his team didn’t get divisive after hitting each other. “Give ’em a pop and help him up,” he said. Coaches continued to remind the players to help their teammates up after making tackles.

>> Coaches are split on the new divisional alignment in the OIA. Some like it. Some do not. And others are ambivalent. Some say it takes away from the tightness of their particular side of the island — East or West. Others say the travel will be longer because geography is not part of the equation. One coach mentioned that he thought it created an easier path for some of the stronger teams.

>> During a phone interview, one coach said he thought high school head coaches’ salaries should become a media story. He said they work hard and don’t get paid much and if you take into consideration all the time and travel, he said he loses money by being a coach. He will remain anonymous, for obvious reasons, but he does bring up a good point that might need to be addressed in a more open forum eventually.


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