Chargers Balance Good Offense With Strong Defense
When it comes to football, a team’s prospects are greatly enhanced if it can stop the run on defense and run the ball on offense. Pearl City can point to both as strengths as it prepares for this week’s state football championships.
Another phase of the game also could figure big in the Chargers’ post-season fate, according to head coach Robin Kami. “People forget that special teams are one-third of the game,” said Kami. “It’s big. We’ve been all right so far, but we can get better.”
A solid appearance in the state tournament would help solidify what has been an exciting season for the team. Following a humbling 40-8 loss to Kalani in week one of OIA White play, the Chargers went on to win seven of their next eight games. They were to meet Kaiser in the OIA White title game over the weekend, but already had clinched a berth for states and were to learn of their opponent for this weekend late last Sunday. Regardless of whom they face, the emphasis is more on the Chargers themselves, rather than on a scouting report of the opposition.
Pearl City has gotten to this point with an unrelenting defense and a balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball. Kami’s constant preaching of a “team first” attitude also has paid dividends. “We’re finally gelling as a team,” he said. “Our offense took time, but they’re getting it together now. The defense has played well all year, and now the offense has caught up to the defense.”
Defense is yielding 220 total yards a game and just 100.1 per outing on the ground. In five of their seven wins (heading into last weekend), the Chargers held the opposition to one score or less.
“Overall, they’ve played well whether against the run or the pass,” Kami said of the defense. “(They’ve done it with) basic football – they run to the ball well and they gang tackle. Our motto is A.A.K.T.: Alignment, Assignment, Keys and Technique. When we can do those things, we’re all right.”
On offense, Pearl City averages 26 points per game. The Chargers have benefitted from their balance, as they produce 128 yards per game on the ground and another 137 in the air. “Offensively, we’re finally running the ball well. It’s good to be balanced. When you can do that, you’re going to be OK.”
Kami also noted that the ability of a team to get out of its own way is always paramount in the post-season, especially given that the best teams in Division II will make up the state tournament field.
“Whoever makes the least amount of mistakes and turnovers usually wins the game,” he said. “Whoever can create turnovers has an advantage. We’ve gotten a couple interceptions a game, and we’ve caused some fumbles. Offensively, we’ve had less interceptions and fumbles than the teams we’ve played.”