11TH IN A SERIES
Pearl City football has been highly successful for quite a while now, but there is a plateau that has proved to be insurmountable so far.
The Chargers are nearly always contending for a title and have made several appearances in the state tournament this decade. However, championships are not on the resume yet.
“Last year, we were happy we got into the (OIA Division II) championship game,” coach Robin Kami said. “This year, we’re going back to basic fundamentals — blocking, tackling. We have a lot of new faces on this year’s football team. I told the players that I know they’ll be going through some little pains during the season. Pain is temporary. Chargers pride is forever. As a coach, it’s really nice to see all the new faces. That’s part of the fun. Every year, you lose players to graduation and new faces come in.”
Pearl City went 7-3 a year ago, beating Kaimuki 7-0 in the first round of the OIA D-II playoffs. But then the Chargers lost to Waipahu 23-22 for the title and failed to make states for the third year in a row.
“Our goal is usually to try to be in the top four in the division and hopefully take steps farther in the playoffs,” Kami said. “If you take care of academics and attitude, you will be competitive on Friday and Saturday nights.”
Defensive backs Shayden McMoore and RJ Kami (the coach’s son), safety Justin Pfau, and linebackers Kody Kikuyama and Aiden Fernandes will be counted on to provide leadership and power the Chargers’ defense.
“The defense hopefully can keeps us in the game,” the coach said. “It will be the heart and soul of our team.”
Wide receiver Micah Quillopo-Jamile will be one of the focal points of the offense. Two quarterbacks, Makana Canyon and Christian Taelu, are battling for the starting job.
Pearl City opens the season Aug. 4 on the Big Island with a nonleague game against Kealakehe. The Chargers’ first game in the new OIA-ILH Division II alliance is Aug. 11 at Waialua.
Next in series: Mililani Trojans.