Varsity Football ’14: One team; one dream


Photo by Maile Sur

Senior quarterback Chase Newton explains a play to first-year freshman Jarin Correa. With no jv football team this year, there is a large number of underclassmen on the singular varsity team, so many upperclassmen are helping to bring them up to a varsity level of play.

This year the Kamehameha Schools Maui football program has undergone a big change: there will only be a varsity-level team. There were not enough students who came out early enough to field a junior varsity team.

Over the course of summer training, a steady number of juniors and seniors showed up, while only a handful of freshmen and sophomores attended regularly. So during summer camp, head coach Cody Nakamura and athletic director Blane Gaison announced to the freshmen and sophomores that they would be pulled up to the next level.

“We don’t meet the requirements,” Coach Gaison cited as the main reason for the change.

From spring practice to training camp, the underclassmen have shown major signs of improvement and confidence on the field, according to Coach Gaison.

“They’re [the underclassmen] doing a great job. Like any other young players, they are getting used to practicing with bigger and better players, but we’re matching them up with each other, and they are slowly gaining confidence. It’s also good that the upperclassmen are welcoming them as well,” he said

Despite the wide-ranging athletes from freshmen to seniors and from first-timers to veterans, coaches have been working on strengthening the brotherhood of the team. While summer camp and two-a-days took place, they had great opportunities to bond and to get to know their teammates.

“It’s fun. Everyone’s cooperative, and the game is played much faster,” freshman Tyerelle Baldonado-Kaleiopu said.

“We look better than ever. We have worked so hard,” said junior Kulana-Alika Wilhelm, one of the team’s quarterbacks.

Wilhelm also had words of encouragement for the underclassmen. “They’re doing real good,” he said. “Not the biggest guys, but they work hard and always show up.”

The underclassmen will get their first taste of varsity football on Thursday, August 21, when the Maui Warriors battle the Maui High Sabers at War Memorial Stadium.

“I think they’re doing very good. They’re getting bigger, stronger and fast[er]. They’re learning the culture at the varsity level, and that will only benefit us in the future,” Coach Nakamura said.