Season preview: KSM football scrimmages Team Alberta

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Photo by Dylan Godsey

Quarterback Kala'i Yap fires off a pass at the varsity football pre-season scrimmage against Team Alberta at Kana'iaupuni Stadium on Monday, August 15. The teams meet annually to train and scrimmage.

By Dylan Godsey, Sports Editor

A young 2011-2012 Kamehameha Schools Maui football team debuted yesterday in a scrimmage against the Canadian football team of Alberta at Kana’iaupuni Stadium.

There were 14 seniors on the day’s roster. The bulk of the varsity roster was made up of juniors – 27 – and five sophomores rounded out the list.

Though the game wasn’t based on score, the intensity between the two teams was tight. Both offense and defense tested various plays in preparation for the upcoming football season.

Juniors Kala’i Yap and Ryan Graham took turns as quarterback. Yap demonstrated a strong throwing arm and a good eye for the field, while Graham returned with the fast scrambling style that he honed on the junior varsity team last year.

Yap and senior Alika Sanchez both ran the ball into the end zone, and seniors Daylan Machado and Kūpono Cabanas scored on pass plays.

Machado and Junior Billy Ayakawa, two of the team’s wide receivers, show the potential to put themselves where they need to be to catch the ball and run with it.

Senior Greg Juan and junior Taylor Ka’aukai made some decisive tackles as well. They can be key factors in the defense’s game this upcoming season.

“We’re looking pretty top-notch,” Juan said about the defense. They are doing well in “getting to the ball and pursuing the ball,” he said.

Senior linebacker Ken Kanemitsu said that the defense has also been working on their 3-4 defense to give themselves more options this year. “It [the season] looks promising. Our coach told us our d-unit looks like it’s moving as one machine,” he said.

The offensive line is still developing. Finding a consistent solution to rushing will be important for them this season. “I think they just need to get more familiar with each other. Everyone is still so new,” Kanemitsu said.

He said that one way the athletes can improve is to get to the weight room for weight training, “They’re not coming in. It’s frustrating.”

“This is a small step for our program today,” KSM’s Head Coach Kevin O’Brien said after the game. Coach O’Brien explained how the team has much to improve on for this season’s games. He said the quirks and difficulties experienced today can be attributed to the inexperience of the young team.

The Canadian team brought 33 high school football players from different schools in the province of Alberta in what is becoming an annual match-up. A group of the Canadian players described the Maui Warriors as a team that plays hard every play.

At the end of the game, the Canadians presented Coach O’Brien with a Team Alberta jersey with the number 11 on the back to thank him for the good scrimmage and the oppportunity to train with the Warriors.

Coach O’Brien explained how he and the team are excited for this weekend’s pre-season game against the Kapa’a High School Warriors on Kaua’i on Saturday.

“I’m so pumped up for Kaua’i,” said Philip Nishioka, senior running back.

The final score of that game will be texted via Ka Leo o Nā Koa’s Twitter feed, @kaleoonakoa, on Saturday night.

The first regular season game for the Warriors is August 27 against the Maui High School Sabers at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.