Salanoa’s Rams itching for full game


The Radford Rams might be the only team in the country to have as many wins as quarters played.

Yes, you read that right. The Rams are 2-0 despite playing only 24 minutes of actual game time following a 43-0 win over Roosevelt last Saturday that was called at halftime because of weather.

That came on the heels of a forfeit victory over Anuenue, which informed Rams coach Fred Salanoa just two days before the game was scheduled that it would not be able to field enough players.

The Rams didn’t play opening week either. Instead of scheduling their lone preseason game Week 1, Radford will fly to Washington State for a game against Mount Tahoma (Wash.) on Sept. 11. It will be the third time in four years the Rams have played an early-season game on the mainland.

8/29/2014: at Parker (Calif.) 22, Radford 20
8/31/2012: Radford 21, at Cresent Valley (Ore.) 17

Fortunately by then, the Rams will have more actual game experience under the belt. For now, the Rams enter Friday’s contest with Kalani fairly inexperienced while the Falcons (1-2, 1-1 OIA D-II) have already played three full games, including two closes loses to Pac-Five and Waialua and a convincing 28-6 win over Kalaheo last week.

“It’s been an unfortunate situation because of the fact that our young men work so hard in the offseason,” Salanoa said about the lack of game time. “We knew going into this schedule that we would have a bye that first week so that wasn’t a big deal.

“But having (a) forfeit the first game and then playing only two quarters last week, it’s unfortunate. You probably understand and know this is how all teams are but they get kind of I guess sick, or irritated, or whatever word you want to use from beating up on each other day in and day out for five weeks getting ready to play another opponent.”

Salanoa, who is 71-52 in his 13th season as Radford head coach, has always dealt with the challenges associated with coaching at a school near three military bases that sees an abnormal amount of of transition within its student body each school year. The lack of games played at this point of the season is just another hurdle he has to help his kids overcome.

“To me, we deal with the cards that are dealt us and that’s our philosophy every year,” he said. “Being surrounded by three military bases, we never know who we have or who is leaving or how long we will have a player or when this players’ parents are going to get deployed and they have to go live with an auntie or uncle. We just never know.”

Salanoa has grown so accustomed to that style that integrating a new quarterback into the system isn’t a problem. Last year, the Rams had two solid quarterbacks that split time in Andrew Morgan and Quintas Ward. Morgan was a senior and graduated and Ward, who was a junior, isn’t back this season, so the Rams again go back to the drawing board.

Jonah Soakai, a 6-foot-2 defensive back, was a legitimate starting safety last season and one of the top returning defensive players. But with a void at quarterback, he entered the summer No. 1 on the depth chart. Injuries have forced Salanoa to try to keep Soakai at his natural position, so senior Quintin Iriarte has also seen plenty of reps. Both will continue to get work at quarterback and like Salanoa showed last season, he has no problem playing multiple guys.

Although the Rams only have played two quarters, the results are pretty good. Radford put up 345 yards of total offense and five touchdowns in 25 plays against a Roosevelt team that held Pearl City to just 14 points a week earlier.

“Not too shabby,” Salanoa said. “We think we like what we got but like I always say, our goal is always to try and go deep into the postseason … and we do have players on our team that I feel that will get us to the postseason (this year).”

They just need games to actually play.


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