Q&A: Waipahu senior QB Braden Amorozo

Waipahu quarterback Braden Amorozo has engineered a 10-0 record for the OIA D-II champion Marauders this season. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

There’s hardly a thing given freely in football, so Braden Amorozo dives deep into the well of knowledge.

He studies. Like his favorite athlete, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Amorozo might study defenses morning, afternoon and night. But overcoming adversity? That doesn’t really derive from video study or any other cerebral journey. Down 15 points against Pearl City in the OIA Division II championship game, Amorozo’s Waipahu Marauders were in dire straits.

“We knew nothing would be easy, but at one point after the pick-six I felt that some of my players had doubts and I had a little doubt myself. I shrugged it off and told my coach I was ready,” the senior said. “We scored three points, recovered a fumble, scored the touchdown and set up a game-winning kick for my brother (Brycen).”


Waipahu’s 23-22 victory is the pinnacle of the team’s season, a first league title since 2011. Overcoming a big mistake earlier, Amorozo read Pearl City’s defense and delivered the game-tying touchdown pass to another senior, Isaac Yamashita.

“He’s a real special kid,” Waipahu coach Bryson Carvalho said. “One thing that I told him at halftime is this is your time to shine now.”

Amorozo, the 4.0 grade-point-average student, always had the heart to match his intelligence. And now, Waipahu is a perfect 10-0 and a trip to the Big Island awaits. The Marauders will meet Konawaena on Friday in the opening round of the state tourney. They’ve already put in hours of preparation as of Saturday morning.

“We watched film for four hours,” Amorozo said.

He was featured in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which you can read here.

Braden Amorozo
Waipahu football 
Sr.
Q&A / Favorites

Athlete: Tom Brady
> His work ethic. He studies the game constantly. I’ve heard stories of him studying film in the middle of the night .That’s the kind of athlete I try to be. I model my game after him. He proves that you don’t have to be the best athlete to be successful at football. Today he also took a big hit but he escaped. 

Team: New England Patriots
> Tom Brady, that’s the reason I like the Patriots. And Bill Belichick is a genius coach and he takes everything in to consideration.

Don’t they have a habit of getting rid of good and bad players before they get paid a lot? And getting rid of guys who are a distraction?

> I don’t know how it knows it, but they get rid of them before they get a big contract or before their career goes downhill. That’s why I hope he doesn’t trade Gronk (tight end Rob Gronkowski).

Did the Patriots cheat?

> No, they did not.

Their fans booed Roger Goodell.

> Yeah, they did.

College: Georgia Bulldogs
> I like their offensive scheme and the way they use play-action. Also, a high school quarterback I used to watch was Jacob Fromm. I’ve been studying how he throws and how he’s able to get the ball out so smooth and on target. It’s amazing how he can lead the team as a sophomore.

Food (at home): Fried Rice
> My mom (Genevieve) and dad (Eric) both make really good fried rice. My dad’s one is usually a lot of meats like, whatever is in the fridge. Usually, bacon, spam, Portuguese sausage, eggs and green onions.

Does he use shoyu or oyster sauce?
> Oyster sauce. That thing runs out fast.

Can you make this?
> Yeah, I can, but my dad’s is still better. 

Food (eating out): Rare rib-eye Steak
> Usually at Cattle Company in Waimalu. The cow is mooing, still. 

Hobby outside of sports: Playing Ukulele
> I own one and I just play whenever I feel like. In intermediate, I used to take lessons, but when I got to high school I got serous about football. But now I have ukulele class on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. A few of my teammates are in the class, Centennial (Kulikefu) and Alii (Siu-Aelua). We’re pretty good. I think I’m the best out of the group. Alii and Centennial are definitely the best singers of the class. We’re building up to perform for the school at end of the year, but it’s tentative.

Movies:
> 1. Any Given Sunday, 2. Forest Gump, 3. Waterboy. I just watch them on Netflix if they’re on. The reason I like Any Given Sunday is my dad showed it to me in ninth grade before we played Kahuku and the speech he gave at the ending: it’s a game of inches and every inch counts in the game of football.

TV show: The Walking Dead
> Me and my dad watched today’s episode, and we’re like, it’s going downhill, but we have to keep watching because we’ve been through all the way through this point. It’s our tradition, we watch it every Sunday after we watch football. 

Music artist: MAGIC!
> Magic! is a reggae group. Remember that song called Rude? I was in sixth grade. Last year, they had a song called Red Dress, and that’s was our team song. We always played it in the lockerroom. When I hear that song it reminds me of last year’s team. 

Teacher (elementary through high school): Mr. Trevor Lau
> Waipahu High School, he teaches history. The funny thing is I haven’t taken his class. He’s my favorite teacher because he coaches football. He’s coached at Moanalua, and he coached us last year. He’s taking a break because of his newborn kid. Whenever I need a talk about football, I can always pick his brain and I learn new things every time I talk to him. 

GPA: 4.0
> I knew if I didn’t play sports I could’ve taken more honor and advanced placement classes. I finished algebra in intermediate so I was able to go straight into geometry. It’s a struggle, but I’m able to maintain that 4.0. I know what I have to do to get my grades. Sometimes, I bomb my tests and it frustrates me at first, but I know I can study harder next time. It’s the same thing as sports. 

Class: AP Calculus
> It offers new dimensions of math that you never knew existed. And engineers need it, it’s required for college. You might think you never need it for life, but in an engineering career this will come in handy. If you like challenge, it’s a heck of a challenge. 

Place to relax: At the beach
> When I go to relax, I usually go with my family, my friends or my girlfriend just to get that salt-water therapy and relax the muscles after a game. 

Motto/scripture: Life is short, so make every single day count
> This is mine. That’s just how I think. Make sure that I live every day knowing i did my best. Not every day is guaranteed. 

What your mom (Genevieve Amorozo) says that you can’t forget: “Make the most out of your High School Years.”
> She says it every once in awhile. The thing she tells me most is “Drive safely.” 

What your dad (Eric Amorozo) says that you can’t forget: “Play with heart and fight till the end.”
> He tells me that before every game, every time when he drops me off at school. When I was little and I did tae kwon do, he’d give me a talk, bad people get no rewards. Good people get OK rewards. Great people get good rewards. Outstanding people get outstanding awards.

How old were you?
> I was 4 or 5. I was a sponge. 

What your coaches say that you can’t forget: “Great moments come from great opportunity.”
> Coach Bryson says this. 

What stands out about the 2017 season for you? 
> It’s just awesome that we were able to win the championship. We have a tight bond just like last year. We’re making memories for a lifetime. Hopefully we can get to a 12-0 record. We wrote some history as a team and it feels great to be a part of it.

> Being able to to be the first team to play on our brand-new field. They wanted a blue field, but they said it would be a lot hotter.

> My football brothers, coaches, and I were able to win the OIA D-II championship and create memories that will last a lifetime.  It was extremely special to win a championship for the community of Waipahu during my senior year.

How does football affect your daily life during the season and offseason?
> I went to Coach Vinnie Passas’ camp since sixth grade, branched out to GPA. I didn’t get to go to any big ones like All-Poly in Utah. But just wishing to get exposure, I started using a recruiting service, and joined Phase One Sports in Kapolei, so I played in the Pylon 7v7 here. It was great to play against D-I level athletes from Nevada.

> It’s an awesome time to be a quarterback. The game has changed. Teams are more balanced, throwing and running. Also, Tua (Tagovailoa) and (Marcus) Mariota stepping up for Hawaii, it’s a great opportunity to become a college quarterback.

> Football is my life.  During the season, I have very little free time. (Sorry, Kayla️). I am constantly watching film, putting in work at practice, and doing homework. In the offseason I spend as much time as I can throwing and correcting my technique, as well as conditioning I also watch a bunch of old professional and college games just to see what I can learn.

What middle and elementary schools did you attend?
> I attended August Athens Elementary School and Waipahu Intermediate.

What youth clubs did you play or run for?
Football
– Waikele Wildcats
– Ewa Beach Hammerheads
– Waipio Panthers
– Waipahu Marauders Youth Football
> Coach Bryson coached me in sixth and seventh grade. That’s when we ran the option heavily. I wasn’t the fastest guy but I was still able to execute it pretty well.

Soccer
  –  Blitz Futbol
  –  Abunai Soccer Academy


Taekwondo
  –  Oahu Taekwondo Center

What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?
> I’m a Black Belt in Taekwondo and even though I haven’t sparred in a while, I think I could be pretty competitive. I’m a pretty good golfer but my swing is a little rusty during football season.
> I was in sixth grade or earlier when I got my black belt. I started when I was 4.

Will your children do tae kwon do at age 4?
> I don’t want too look too far down the road.

What is your ultimate dream/destination bucket list?
> My ultimate dream is to be the best man that I could possibly be.  I want to be able to say that I lived my life with no regrets.  Of course I would love to get a football scholarship so I could get a way to pay for my education.  But the real thing that comes out of football is life lessons and the traits that help mold me into a better man.

What is the history and background of your name?
> The Braden comes from my mom’s obsession with Victor Newman on the Young and the Restless. His real name was Eric Braeden but my mom didn’t like the spelling.  

> My last name Amorozo is really supposed to be Amoroso but my grandfather, Frank Amorozo, who just passed away in September, was processed into the military as Amorozo and he never changed it back to Amoroso. I’m not really sure why, but much love to my Amoroso family all over the islands. 

> My grandfather would always ask my parents to bring a newspaper when I was in the hospital. He loved us a lot. 

Ultimate bucket list:
> One of my life dreams is to one day to become a coach. I have had so many great coaches in my life. The most amazing thing about coaches is the unselfish giving of their time and talents. My first football Coach was Coach Clay (Ah Soon) from the Waikele Wildcats. It was flag football and he chose me to be a quarterback and spent so much time teaching me the basics. We were the only team my age running plays off signals with no coaches on the field. He continued to be my coach and I followed him to play with the Ewa Beach Hammerheads. Unfortunately he passed away the night after our first tackle game. 

After he passed, I didn’t want to play football, but I knew that he wanted me to continue to play quarterback. I strive every single day to make him proud. I would like to thank all of my coaches and a special thanks to Coach Bryson for steering this program into the right direction. He’s been putting me in the right situation to succeed and I couldn’t be the man I am today without him. I would like to thank the fans of Waipahu for constantly bringing a crowd to our games. 

I would also like to give a thank you to my girlfriend Kayla Yadao for supporting me throughout this busy journey. Lastly, I would like to thank my mom and dad for being the best supporters and parents that I could ever ask for.

And now, a quick refresher on the 10-0 season to date.

Waipahu 51, @ Nanakuli 14
Aug. 4, 2017
When we got to the field, me and my teammates, the returning seniors, we weren’t nervous. We knew what we had to do. After the game, I felt like we executed pretty well. We learned our linemen could hold up. But Isaac’s shoulder popped out in this game.

Waipahu 2, Kalaheo 0 (forfeit)
Aug. 12, 2017
That was the worst feeling. We had such a great week of practice. We fond out right after practice on Thursday.

Bye week
Aug. 19-20, 2017
We definitely did some bonding in those weeks as well.

Waipahu 35, Roosevelt 8
Aug. 25, 2017
Before we went into that game, we decided to go empty, and that was the highlight of my week because that’s a quarterback’s dream. When the game started, it bit us in the but because Alfred (Failauga) hurt his ankle and his back. That’s not why we wanted to go empty. We put in our second string and we able to win. Our defense did really well. We weren’t satisfied. We felt we could’ve done better. I remember before the game, we got there, we were this really hungry team. We couldn’t wait to get on the field and start playing. People were in mid-season form while we were just starting our season.

Bye week
Sept. 1-2, 2017

Waipahu 63, Waialua 7
Sept. 8, 2017
That was our week where we had a lot of focus because they were the defending champions and we were hungry for some revenge. We practiced really hard. That was our first game on our brand-new field. We didn’t get to practice on the new field until that Tuesday and Wednesday.

Waipahu 49, Kalani 0
Kaiser Stadium
Sept. 16, 2017
Before the game, everyone was talking about Seth (Tina-Soborano), Cover 2, that kind of motivated me and our defense was preparing really hard, Ezekiel (Kapanui-Reyes) was our scout QB ‘cause he’s really athletic. but unfortunately Seth got hurt on their mainland trip. The backup was still really good.

Waipahu 37, Pearl City 6 (homecoming)
Sept. 22, 2017
We had a lot of nerves to get out as a team, but we had the goal to beat them, we just had to get the focus. At halftime, we had the chance to settle down. The huge crowd was something new to experience. That was something we’d never seen, 5,000 people in our stadium. That’s why coach said we’re playing for former coaches and players, and alumni.

Coach said to settle down, make the plays we need to make, just do your job. Don’t try to be amazing. Right when we came out, we had Alfred rolling and I was able to throw that bubble pass. Our center and tackle switched that game because our center had problems snapping that week.

Isaac returned from his dislocated shoulder for homecoming.

Waipahu 35, Kaimuki 14
Sept. 30, 2017
Skippa Diaz Stadium
The game plan was to tire them out because they have a lot of two-way players. Our defense kept us in it with that pick-six by Fiva. We were lucky our defense got another turnover before the half and we scored. Our key player that game was Matt Fiesta, our little speedy receiver.

Waipahu 56, McKinley 0
Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
Oct. 6, 2017
Isaac’s shoulder popped out again. I definitely know he was in a tough situation. He kept working and I told him to get back when the time is right. Me and Alfred didn’t start. I went to my grandpa’s ash spreading on the North Shore.

Waipahu 38, Roosevelt 0
Oct. 13, 2017
OIA D-II playoffs
Extremely different vibe. When you play the same team, you have to work twice as hard. We had a great week of practice. I remember going in we had a quick first drive. After that, they weren’t able to score. I kicked my first field goal. That was a crucial score because it got us up by two possessions, and after the half our offense started clicking. Coach wasn’t entirely happy. He wanted us to execute rather than try to make plays. It was amazing that we got another championship berth.

Bye week
Oct. 20-21, 2017
We had the same practices, and on Friday we had our team camp. Right after school, we went to the gym to sleep over. We went to haunted plantation, most of us went in. Three guys didn’t go in, they were scared. When we got back, we talked about our goals and what we need to do. We knew we owed a championship to our community because they’ve supported us for so long. it was a good camp to help set our minds straight. That was awesome. On that Friday, a bunch of us seniors found out we were invited to the JPS All-Star game.

Then me, Centennial, Coach Bryson and Coach Siva went to Maui to scout the Lahainaluna/KS-Maui game.

Waipahu 23, Pearl City 22
OIA D-II championship game
Aloha Stadium
Oct. 26, 2017
Watching it on TV, it doesn’t show how tough Pearl City really is. On the field, there’s a lot of pressure, a lot at stake. Being down 15-0 is a lot of adversity to overcome. Their defense had five linemen and one linebacker. That forced us to throw the ball more. Five linemen wasn’t something we were expecting. I’m glad that I was able to find that mismatch with Isaac. When they took that away from me, we made more adjustments. We have iPads that we use during the game. So I took a shot at Isaac, staring off the safety, Isaac had the leverage to beat his guy.


Their offensive scheme was great, a lot of trick plays our defense didn’t expect. Football is a game of adjustments and we were able to adjust.

The reason Coach Bryson came back is for Waipahu. He told me winning this OIA championship was why he came back here. He said it all was worth it, coming back home.

COMMENTS

  1. Douglas Hu October 31, 2017 5:36 pm

    Great article! Good luck in the state tourney, Marauders!


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