Hawaii Prep World will be releasing summer previews of all 29 Oahu varsity football teams in advance of the 2017 season that kicks off in early August.
FIFTH IN A SERIES
>> 2016 record and finish: 2-5 (0-4 ILH D-II); lost 30-0 in the first round of the ILH D-II playoffs
>> Number of returning starters: 5 offense, 3 defense
>> Number of returning seniors: 7 offense, 8 defense
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 19
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 25
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: None
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: None
>> Among 2017 key offensive returnees: Jett Uechi, Sr., WR, 5-10, 170; AJ Ulufale, Sr., RB, 5-9,145; Chyson Pena, Sr.,, OL, 5-8, 200; Thomas Obando, Jr., OL, 5-9, 230; Leif Fautanu Jr, Jr., OL, 6-3, 295.
>> Among 2017 key defensive returnees: Michael Ito, Sr., DB, 5-7, 150; Nathan Bek, Sr., LB, 6-0, 185; Kaikea Gonsales, Sr., DB, 5-7’ 150; Evan Ramirez, Jr., LB, 5-7, 170; Noah Sumimoto, Jr., LB, 5-9, 150.
>> Wolfpack with Division I FBS college offers: None
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: 2 (both D-I — 1982, 1985)
>> All-time ILH championships: 2 (both D-I — 1982, 1985)
>> 2017 conference: ILH D-II
>> 2017 state tournament declaration: D-II
Head coach KIP BOTELHO on the Wolfpack’s outlook for 2017:
“We always seem to be just a few players away. For instance, last year we lacked linemen types. We had a quarterback with skills. But our D-line, we had a bunch of DBs and linebackers playing line. We didn’t have depth. The teams we played were physical. That’s not our build.
“This year, it’s the total opposite. We lost a lot of skill guys and we’re looking for a quarterback. But we have some linemen. That will probably be our strength. We’ve got Leif Fautanu Jr. and Tommy Obando, two good football players, returning. And we’ve got a few big boys that came out of nowhere, a couple of seniors who are going to help. It’s weird how it plays out. Every year we don’t know what we’re going to get.
“Pac-Five has a lot of little schools and many of the players are in summer basketball and baseball. So we’re struggling with that right now, like we do every year. We are getting anywhere from 30 to 35 kids at practice, with a bunch of guys splitting time between football and basketball or baseball.
“So we’re focused on the guys here this summer and we’re going to coach these guys up. Then there will be guys who straggle out when basketball and baseball is done. Eventually, we’ll be carrying something like last year — in the mid 50s. Right now, in intermediate, we’ve got maybe 10 kids, and they will also get an influx of players later, guys coming in to the sixth, seventh and eighth grade. The intermediate will end up carrying about 50. For summer workouts, it’s not like you want it to be. But it is what it is and you focus on the guys here.
“Last year, with a good core of skill guys that grew up in the program and were with us for four or even five years, that was a big difference. They knew the system. If you can get that kind of deal going, you can be competitive.
“Our goal this year is to be competitive, period. We don’t know what we’re going to put out there. No clue yet. We go four to five wide and up-tempo, throwing the ball, that’s what we’ve gotta do. So, we’re hoping someone will come out here and say, ‘Coach, I want to play QB.’ We’re trying different guys, but it’s hard to make a QB. They are usually born a QB or been there since Pop Warner.
“The other option is for us to be a totally different team, shorten the games by running the ball more. We’ll go as our personnel goes. We’ll figure it out. Just trying to field a competitive team right now.
“The goal is always to get these guys to love each other and to get to know each other, to work to trust and develop together. You always need that to be successful. When the going gets tough, you know they’ll have your back. We want to build a team that bonds and respects and loves each other.
“The commitment thing, though, has to be there. That’s what we’re preaching to these guys who are here. First, we’ve got to be committed. We go out three days a week for two hours a day. If we can’t commit to that, we’re in trouble. Before you start building discipline, you gotta build commitment. It’s a process. You can’t just jump ahead without it.
“I used to go out to every (Pac-Five) school and try to sign up kids, but I’ve found the best way to get kids out is the guys who are here. They’re the best recruiters. We say, ‘Go back to your schools, get the best athletes and get them out here.’ Most of the students don’t go to that particular school for football. They go for basketball or baseball or strictly for academics. We get a lot of kids that never played before who are checking it out for the first time. As long as they’re athletic, we can work with that.
“And the kids seem to all go out and get a few. In the past, we got Mid-Pacific basketball player Zion Shepard, who contributed, and then Justin Daise, another Mid-Pacific basketball player who became an ILH first-team All-Star. They had never played before. That’s the type of guys we count on adding — more bodies and learning the game as they go. They make mistakes, but they’re out there playing hard and that’s all we can ask for. Live to fight another day.
“And I don’t know why a quarterback wouldn’t want to come and play for us this fall. We throw 70 times a game.”
2017 Pac-Five football schedule
Subject to change. Click here for the latest schedule updates.
Note: The ILH regular-season schedule was not out when this article was published.
Thursday, July 27
>> Pac-Five at Kalani (scrimmage)
Saturday, July 29
>> Pac-Five at Waialua (scrimmage)
>> Pac-Five vs. McKinley, at Skippa Diaz Stadium (nonleague)
>> Pac-Five vs. Waimea, at Hanapepe Stadium (nonleague)
2017 Pac-Five varsity football staff
>> Head coach: Kip Botelho (35-88, 14th season)
>> Quarterbacks: Gabe Nehl
>> Offensive line: Chris Bisho
>> Running backs: Bill Wheeler
>> Slotbacks: Derek Tengan
>> Wide receivers: Chris Lupenui, Jason Anzai, Nelson Koki
>> Defensive coordinator: Sililo Pale
>> Defensive line: Leo Yang, Robert Walker
>> Linebackers: Reyn Sugai, Craig Roberts
>> Defensive backs: Pat Sato, Kaipo Pale, Clyde Carvalho