ON THIS DATE IN 1960: Tiki Vasconcellos perfects ‘Boom Series’

Tiki Vasconcellos invented the Boom Series offense in years earlier, and on this date in 1960 it was running on all cylinders.

Steve Nakamura scored two touchdowns and fell two yards short of a third as Roosevelt crushed Kaimuki 25-0 before a crowd of 10,000 at Honolulu Stadium.

Nakamura, Peter Yasutake, Steve Yamamoto and quarterback Howard Leslie had the offense down so well that the Rough Riders ran for 332 yards and passed for 54 more, a ton in those days.

Nakamura finished with 148 yards on 12 carries despite playing with a touch of the flu. Vasconcellos also credited his line, especially Glenn Shea and Herbert Cho, for making the offense work.

Ah, the offense. Vasconcellos used it to win the ILH from 1955-57. The coach said he dreamed it up nearly 20 years earlier when he started an intramural league in Konawaena after returning from San Jose State.

When he moved to Kauai for the 1944 season, Vasconcellos devised and began practicing the Boom.

The fullback was the key to the Boom Series, freezing a linebacker by cheating up a little bit so that all three of the backs could hit a different hole in the line at exactly the same time. It was run out of a T formation with as many as three fake hand-offs to completely confuse the defense.

Before that, teams pounded holes in the wall repeatedly hoping to break through. In essence, it was a spread for the running game and by the time Vasconcellos returned to Roosevelt every team in the ILH and OIA was running some version of the Boom.

“It was exactly like the wishbone formation that Texas used almost two decades later,” Vasconcellos said upon his retirement in 1975. “I didn’t try to overpower teams. Speed and deception are the requisites to make the Boom work. But you need counter plays and we use sprint outs and other maneuvers to balance the Boom.”


  1. Dayle Turner July 14, 2021 1:34 pm

    For Kamehameha’s three championship teams in ’74, ’75, and ’76, Cal Chai employed the boom series running attack with mostly successful results.

    For example, in the 1974 Prep Bowl vs Leilehua, the game winning touchdown play was “Boom 2 Keeper” with QB Blane Gaison faking handoffs to FB Reggie Keaunui and HB Radford Park, and then bootlegging untouched around right end into the Ewa endzone of the old Honolulu Stadium.

    Also in that game, Clyde Kaui dashed 91 yards, also into the Ewa endzone, after a successfully executed “Boom 1 center trap” which had Warrior center Brian Plunkett pull left to trap Leilehua DT Feleti Brown. Meanwhile, LG Wendell Kawakami blocked down on the Mule NG while LT Dayle Turner (this poster) also blocked down on the (surprised due to misdirection fake) MLB (Leilehua was using a 5-3 defense). In the backfield, Gaison faked a handoff to FB Keaunui off right guard (hence the misdirection), and then pivoted to hand the ball off to Kaui over center.

    We had practiced that play many times in the days preceding the game, and all that repetition paid dividends because in the game it worked beautifully. The MLB was influenced by the fake and at the moment he realized it was a fake and turned toward center, I was on him with a crushing block.

    My block executed, I recall being atop him and Clyde leaping over us and streaking toward Ewa end zone glory.

    A great memory of the Boom series.

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