Chargers Look To Rebuild For 2015 Football Season
With the exception of his loyal assistant coaches, Pearl City head football coach Robin Kami hasn’t seen a lot of familiar faces this offseason.
Indeed, when the Chargers open their 2015 season in August, expect a completely different lineup on both sides of the ball, as the corps of Pearl City’s 8-3 team last fall completed their eligibility.
“This will be a real rebuilding year,” said Kami, who is entering his third year. “We have one starter back on offense and one starter on defense, so we lost a lot of people this year. We’ll have a lot of kids up from the junior varsity playing and kids who were with us last year (on varsity), but they weren’t starters.”
Kami and Pearl City officially will begin their 2015 season in the coming days, when the Chargers reconvene for spring practice. Under OIA guidelines, teams are allotted a 30-day period in which they can conduct 10 practices.
Pearl City will hold its spring practices May 26-June 6. In the Chargers’ case, spring will be the first opportunity for its up-and-comers to impress the coaching staff.
“All jobs are open,” said Kami. “It’s a matter of get ting the reps.”
While teams also are allowed to use full equipment and hold full contact drills, Kami said Pearl City will bypass the opportunity and practice in shorts and shirts.
Since the beginning of winter, Pearl City players not involved with another sport have been in the weight room bulking up and tending to their “academics and attitude,” which have been a huge focal point in the program since Kami took over.
“The kids have really worked hard over the past two years to learn our system, and they’ve bought in,” he said. “It’s a big plus now that we’re able to work all year with the kids.
“We’ve been in the weight room and working a lot on conditioning and speed and agility. Right now, we’re looking for kids to step up who can be leaders.”
One key question facing Pearl City this season is who will succeed Jordan Taamu at quarterback. A two-year starter for the Chargers varsity team, Taamu threw for 1,779 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2014 alone.
“Now that he’s gone, there is a huge hole to fill,” Kami said of Taamu. “Everyone will be fighting it out.”
Kami cited developing players to man the trenches on both sides of the ball as another priority this spring.
“Right now, we’re struggling there,” he said. “We’re trying to find an offensive line.”
Pearl City ranked first in the OIA’s Division II and fourth in the state in passing yardage at 180.0 per game in 2014. The Chargers also averaged 319 total yards of offense per outing.
Pearl City was OIA DII runner-up to Nanakuli last season and made the state tournament for the third straight year. The Chargers were defeated by Kapaa (30-22) in a first-round game on Kauai.
In addition to the Chargers, West Oahu Division I teams Aiea, Campbell, Kapolei and Waipahu also will hold spring practice in the coming days.
Campbell is coming off a 7-4 season (they were 5-2 in the Blue Division) in 2014 in which the Sabers finished fourth in the OIA.
Kapolei went 4-5 overall last fall, including a 3-4 record in the Blue. Aiea finished 2-6 overall (2-5 in league play).
Waipahu, which competes in the Red Division, went 1-7 overall in 2014. The Marauders found a new head coach in Bryson Carvalho, formerly an assistant in the program, in the off-season.