If Daniel Sanchez was nervous about his debut as a head coach, he wasn’t letting it show.
In fact, it was the composure of the Farrington football staff, particularly on a night when penalties nearly derailed the Governors’ efforts, that kept the visitors one step ahead of Leilehua on Friday. The Govs pulled away for a 35-16 win as Sanchez saw his team play more consistent football after halftime, when it was close at 14-6.
“We’re disappointed with the personal fouls and other penalties. We’ve got to do a better job with that,” said Sanchez, a former assistant under Randall Okimoto. “We have some guys who can play running back and receiver, and it kind of worked out for us. Each of them scored. I think we found something there. It’s a big confidence booster, but at the same time, we have the fix our mistakes.”
Farrington finished with 175 penalty yards on 20 yellow flags, but still controlled the line of scrimmage much of the evening on a soggy field. The moisture led to some bad shotgun snaps by the home team, while Farrington didn’t lose a fumble or botch a snap all night.
The Govs rushed for a modest 102 yards on 39 carries, but it was enough to keep pressure off their freshman quarterback, Richard Tagataese. He finished the night 6-for-13 for 150 yards and two TDs with just one pick, quite a performance in his debut, as well. Until senior Chris Afe returns from a hand injury, Farrington will rely on that balance.
They’ll also rely on a stingy defense that finished with six sacks, including two by defensive end Justus Roger-Makainai.
“We don’t blitz a lot, but our outside ends put pretty good pressure,” Sanchez said.
Six different Govs had at least a half-sack, making things difficult for Leilehua QB Max Nichols. The senior had a gutsy effort, running for a 39-yard TD while passing for 202 yards and a TD.
Farrington’s secondary did what it could to contain Jeremy Evans, a 6-foot-4 receiver who finished with seven grabs for 74 yards. He was targeted 15 times, which says something about a Governors’ crew that lost last year’s outstanding defensive back, Chasen Castilliano, to graduation.
Nichols was sharp when given time, but finished the night 18-for-34, often rushed to get the ball out. For Open Division Farrington, it’s a promising start.
Division-I Leilehua finished with minus-38 rushing yards, including minus-48 on two bad snaps. It’s a correctible situation for Coach Mark Kurisu’s squad. The Mules looked like they had momentum as Jayzon Ramos (three receptions, 55 yards) got more involved. But wet turf, a slippery football and the usual lack of chemistry in Week 1 proved tough to overcome.
The depth they have a receiver and slot is promising. From Dorian Furtado (three catches, 35 yards) to Chad Dilay to Rayden Rulloda-Kim, along with Evans and Ramos, the Mules have five potentially reliable and productive playmakers for Nichols, an understudy to Kona Andres last year.