The power, speed and versatility of running back Challen Faamatau could have graced the debut of Farrington’s Edward Skippa Diaz Stadium this fall.
It was not meant to be. Due to delays, the field will be available for practices only. Home games will not be played until 2017.
The facility, long discussed at one of the island’s oldest high schools, was planned for opening this fall. There were rumors floating that winter rain caused delays. Football coach Randall Okimoto, a former All-State running back for the Governors, said the delays had more to do with funding issues.
“I’m not too sure exactly what the delays were, but I do know that we were told there wasn’t enough money for the visitors side. Then that was resolved and now that the visitors side will be done, that will take more time to finish,” Okimoto texted on Wednesday morning.
The Farrington-side bleachers will fit 2,500 spectators and the visitors’ side will accommodate 1,500, Okimoto added.
The good news is that the Governors may not have to practice at nearby Kalakaua Middle School field any longer. Rocks and holes on the field have presented injury risks in the past year for both the varsity and JV football teams.
Okimoto is also hoping the Governors will have summer pass league games and preseason scrimmages on the new turf.
“Spring football is a maybe on the (new) field,” Okimoto wrote.
The bleachers will occupy both sides of the field, he added. Farrington’s home bleachers will sit on the grandstand area in front of the pool — which will not have to be destroyed. The visitors’ bleachers will be across the way next to Houghtailing Street.
Like every Farrington alum and fan, Okimoto has been patiently waiting for the day when the powerhouse Govs play football games on campus. Okimoto, who enters his 15th season as head coach this fall, has seen his team’s play home games at Roosevelt’s Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium since the start.
“It’s surreal. I’m very thankful and looking forward to it,” Okimoto texted.
Anywhere, any time, home field or not, Faamatau and his burly Bamboolas up front have a lot of potential in store for the 2016 season. As a junior last season, Faamatau lined up at running back, wide receiver and slot back, and also returned kicks. He rushed for 1,289 yards and 13 touchdowns on 207 carries and caught 34 passes for 510 yards and eight more TDs. Farrington reached the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I playoffs and finished 7-4 overall.