Academics A Big Focus In Pearl City’s Football Program

The two “A’s” are what drove the Pearl City football program throughout the off-season.

And as the Chargers return to the field this week to officially begin spring practice, their commitment to academics and having the right attitude remain the prevailing theme, according to second-year head coach Robin Kami.

“Academics and attitude can go a long way,” said Kami. “We have seven to 10 kids from last year’s team who are going to college for football (and school). They really bought into what we are trying to accomplish here. Our biggest thing here is the academics. We’ve been holding study halls throughout the year. If we take care of those things, then (success on) Friday nights will follow.”

The Chargers are coming off a solid season in 2013 that saw them win five straight at mid-season and seven of eight games at one point en route to a 7-5 overall finish. Pearl City was the OIA White runner-up to Kaiser and earned a berth in the Division II state tournament.

“We want to ride that momentum,” Kami said.

As Kami and his staff prepare for their 2014 season over the next 10 days of spring practice, they will do so with a number of relatively new faces.

“We lost 30 to 33 seniors from that team, but we’re really excited for the kids who are coming back,” he said. “Our JV team runs the same things our varsity team runs, so it has been a smooth transition for our kids, and we have the same (coaching) staff. We don’t have to go to a new offense or defense, which helps.”

Under OIA guidelines, schools have two weeks in which they can hold 10 practices. Spring football also marks the first time since the end of fall season that teams can don full equipment. Even so, Kami said the Chargers will limit the amount of contact in their drills to avoid injuries.

“We’ll hit and wrap (up on tackling attempts), but we won’t take anyone down,” he said. “We’ll be in full pads, but not go full-on. We just want the kids to get used to the equipment again. We’re going to go back to the basic fundamentals of football (in the spring).”

Among the Chargers’ key returnees are quarterback Jordan Taamu and two-way lineman Kordell Vaa. Both will be seniors in the fall.

Taamu threw for 1,649 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall, while Vaa is the only Charger to move up to varsity when only a sophomore.

“Jordan is a good kid who works hard in the classroom,” Kami said. “He’s very composed out there, and he’s like a coach on the field. He’ll be one of the top one or two quarterbacks in the (OIA) White Conference.

“Kordell will be a big help to us with his experience and his maturity,” he added of Vaa, who packs 245 pounds into a 6-foot-2 frame.

“He’ll control the offensive line for us.”

Pearl City’s Purple and White Spring game is set for June 7.

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