It’s Mules Vs. Warriors On New LHS Turf
As Leilehua prepares to battle defending state champion Kamehameha at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (also on OC-16), the big picture is firmly in mind, to hear Mules head coach Nolan Tokuda tell it.
“We want to get prepared for the next six games (in OIA Red West),” said Tokuda. “We’ll look at it more as another preseason game. We’ll play everybody to get them more experience and reps.”
The Warriors beat Leilehua 40-0 last November in the state semifinals, lest anyone forget. Both teams will have their share of new players, but Tokuda expects more of the same from Kamehameha, scheme-wise.
Kamehameha’s 4-3 defense held Leilehua to negative rushing yards and only 135 through the air last fall, so get- ting the most of every possession is key.
“Scheme-wise, we’ll look at the film, but if it’s not broken, they won’t change it.They use a lot of stunts and blitz coverages. They’re able to rely on their athleticism. They’ll have quality guys. Coach Stant and his staff do a great job. It will be a true test.”
Among the themes in spring practice was replacing quarterback Andrew Manley and rebuilding a defensive front. Tokuda likes the progress in both areas so far. “Losing our front four was a concern, but coach (Duane) Kurisu and his staff have done a great job,” he said.
Offensively, Tokuda will go with senior Jordan Kalaau and junior Kenan Fadanaga behind center. “We feel confident either of them could go,” Tokuda said, noting that junior Stan Mersburgh is also progressing well. “Stanley brings more of a running element — he’s a Tim Tebow type.”
They’re also working on special teams. “We’re lucky to have first and second teams with our special teams now. The last three years, we were pretty explosive on offense. We’d get the ball at our 20 and expect to score. This year, we’ll need a shorter field. Our defense and special teams play will be huge for us.”
Defensively, veteran leadership comes from linebackers Austin Schmidt, Stockton Crowley, Alaka‘i Belisario and Darric Matsumiya.
For Saturday’s pregame festivities, the athletic department and school clubs plan a fun fair from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with food, rides and carnival games to celebrate the new home field turf.
Contact Jack Danilewicz at email@example.com.