SPRING-ing into FB season: McKinley Tigers

McKinley begins its second season under Sam Cantiberos this fall. In January, 109 players came to conditioning drills, the coach said. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
McKinley begins its second season under Sam Cantiberos this fall. In January, 109 players came to conditioning drills, the coach said. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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>> 2015 record and finish: 0-8 (0-7 OIA Red); did not qualify for OIA Division I playoffs
>> Number of returning starters: 10 (7 offense, 3 defense)
>> Number of returning seniors: 10
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 12
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 17
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: None
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: None
>> OIA Red All-Stars lost to graduation: None
>> OIA Red All-Stars returning: None
>> Among 2016 key offensive returnees: Elyjah Badua (QB, Sr.), Braxton Lane (WR, Sr.), Noah Diaz (WR, Sr.), Raden Jones (OL, Sr.), Mark Burke (OL, Sr.)
>> Among 2016 key defensive returnees: Frank Steffany (LB, Jr.), Ezekiel Samuelu (LB, Jr.), Leonard Phillip (DB, Sr.), Sioeli Luitolo (DL, Jr.), Sonee Taylor (DB, So.)
>> Tigers with Division I FBS college offers: None
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1999) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: None
>> All-time ILH championships: 7 (all D-I — 1921, 1923, 1929, 1933, 1937, 1938, 1947)
>> 2016 conference: OIA D-II

Head coach SAM CANTIBEROS on the Tigers’ outlook for 2016:

“Spring ball has been amazing, and way different from last year. Like night and day. Some practices in the spring last year we had five or six kids sporadically. The culture hadn’t shifted yet. Now, it has shifted. Since January, we’ve had 50 kids a day, going over all different aspects of the game and doing the installs. It’s much easier to do now than when the seasons starts. We’ve got 43 on varsity and 20 on the JV, but we’re missing the freshmen coming in from the middle schools. That’s the difficult part, getting those kids to come out in summer. Everybody who is already enrolled at McKinley is dedicated. The others, we’ve been in touch with, but they have been on vacation or in summer school or what-not.

“We have a lot of JV kids up to varsity who are hungry and experienced with one year in the system. We’re going over what we did last year, fine-tuning and working on execution.

“I noticed that everybody who I went to school with and are my age, and I just turned 40, they’re all living on the Westside. The schools over there have such a big pool to choose from. The housing in Kapolei and Ewa and Nanakuli and Waianae is the only affordable place. You compare it to Makiki, where it’s $2,000 for a one bedroom place. Or even more in some of the other in-town areas.

“During spring conditioning, we had a meeting with the juniors who are going to be seniors. We talked about what we learned and what the take-aways from last season were. The kids all vowed as a group to bring leadership and to help mold players to do the right thing and not get in trouble, and learn to hold themselves to higher standards. Even the sophomores who will be juniors are emerging leaders and have taken to it.

“The kids are coming to practice and coming to work. The want to be coached, and they’re all coachable now. They’re not in their own set ways. They’re here to learn and are here to listen. We can only go up from what we did last year, when we were at ground zero. They understand that and the hope is there. The drive is there. Everybody is hungry. We don’t want to lose like that. It was hard to recover as a team, but we did it. We turned the corner and are moving forward. They know they need to be there for the team.

“Among the goals this year, first and foremost, is to change the attitude and change the culture and everything else will take care of itself. If we put in the work and put in the time, the wins and losses will take care of itself. We will be in the win column, be competitive and in the playoff chase if we execute what’s been put in.

“It’s a huge difference between last year and this year. The kids have studied the plays and we encourage them to look at them every day. We have film. We have meetings. We’ve done everything as a coaching staff to make these kids as comfortable as possible with getting to know the system. It will translate to success. You need 11 players on the same page. Last year, it was like five were on the same page and six weren’t.

“In practice and in pass leagues, we’re moving the ball and playing good on defense and we’re communicating as a team. It’s to the point where we’re not worrying about anything else but doing our jobs.

“In late January in the offseason, we had 109 kids from McKinley come out. Players got cut, others removed themselves for various reasons. The buzz went around that the culture had changed. We went for and are going for the players who are committed.

“Anyone who started last year is not guaranteed a starting spot. Everyone needs to earn it. Any newcomers will be competing for spots against the rest of the team. Kids know that if they miss practice, someone could come and take their spot.”

2016 McKinley football schedule
Check here for the latest schedule updates: http://bit.ly/2958rWe
>> Aug. 6: vs. Pac-Five, at Aiea High field
>> Aug. 12: at Roosevelt
>> Aug. 19: vs. Kalaheo, at Kailua High field
>> Sept. 3: vs. Kalani, at Kaiser Stadium
>> Sept. 9/10: Bye
>> Sept. 16: vs. Waipahu, at Aiea High field
>> Sept. 23: vs. Kaimuki, at Kaiser Stadium
>> Oct. 1: vs. Pearl City, at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
>> Oct. 8: vs. Waialua, at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium

2016 McKinley varsity football staff
>> Head coach and offensive coordinator: Sam Cantiberos (0-8, second season)
>> Defensive coordinator and linebackers: Peter Salavea
>> Offensive line: Epi Mose
>> Running backs and wide receivers: Jimmy Hoekstra
>> Running backs and wide receivers: Sam Samuelu
>> Defensive line: Sione Liufau
>> Defensive line: Will Fatafehi
>> Defensive backs: Bronson Omura


  1. Mahatma Gandhi June 24, 2016 2:08 am

    I suspect McKinley gets robbed of its best players every year by the ILH. Even their D coordinator, Peter Salavea, he grew up in Mayor Wright housing, which is in McKInley’s school district. But he was recruited by St Louis.

  2. Ackrite June 24, 2016 3:58 am

    McKinley has been terrible for a long time now! But it ooks like coach has got things headed in the right direction… I remember when coach Tanuvasa was there and the program was doing well… Good LucK TIGERS!



  3. Mokihana June 24, 2016 7:41 pm

    Learning the football song is a start. Warching last year’s team don’t even know what to do on a kick off return looks like the coaches need adjustment too. Don’t assume the kids know their plays. For some you need to draw picture. And players don’t quit because you lose the first few games. You play for the public school in your district for

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