The challenge seems daunting, but Mike Fanoga is looking for small, everyday victories at Waianae.
Weight training is back for the football squad, and momentum is building for a team with plenty of youth.
“We’ve got less than 10 seniors. This group right here are all (former) JV except for four or five kids who played for me a year ago. Everyone’s gone from the 2021 class,” the Waianae coach said. “I’ve got new faces. That’s why we’re doing EDD (everyday drills), fundamentals, technique, hand placement.”
Conditioning coach Kale Wilbur and Fanoga have the weight room open from 3 to 5 p.m. daily.
“We split up our groups. Agilities, legs,” said Fanoga, who does his workout, too, bench pressing 225. “I know a lot of kids play different sports. Some of these kids can’t even lift a bar, our skill kids. We’re developing them, like OTAs.”
In another era, there were fewer activities and more focus on offseason training.
“My focus is more on strength, power. It’s hard to maintain that when kids are involved in Pylon and other stuff. I try to tell these kids, how are we gong to gain weight after two hours of workouts? They all look at me like I’m crazy,” Fanoga said.
Somewhere, there will be a midpoint between the weight training and the speed work that year-round club and Pylon football provide. The obstacles don’t end, though. A few of Waianae’s players have departed.
“We’ve got kids who transferred to Kapolei,” Fanoga said.
Another obstacle is academics. Coaches throughout the state have noted a decline in academic performance during the pandemic. Students are making up the work this summer.
“Our thing at Waianae is we have 400 kids going to summer school. That’s what I was told. Some of our players are in that, too,” Fanoga said. “I told our coaches, you’ve just got to be patient, and that includes myself. It’ll pay off. We just have to hang in there and keep coming.”
The Seariders will host Aiea and Kaimuki in a tri-scrimmage on July 29. On July 30, the Seariders will host Mililani, and on July 31, they will visit ‘Iolani.
Preseason games are expected to begin on the weekend of Aug. 6-7.