Pearl City Fights For Spot In OIA White Football Title Game

Pearl City head football coach Robin Kami never misses an opportunity to emphasize the “team concept” when he’s tending to business with his players. That mind-set will remain this week when the Chargers prepare for their OIA White playoff game.

“It’s been a real team effort – there’s no (one) player winning games for us,” said Kami.

This collective cohesiveness remains a strength as they prepare for their biggest weekend of the season. Not only is a berth in the OIA White title game (Nov. 2) at stake, but the Chargers also can secure one of two league berths for the upcoming Division II state football tournament. Pearl City was to learn of its semifinal opponent at the end of last weekend’s action.

“Whoever we play, we’re just happy to be in the playoffs after not making it last year,” he said. “It’s been a great ride so far.”

Along the way, the Chargers also have remained true to the “student-athlete” concept. “I’ve been happy with our academics and our attitude,” the coach said.

Kami was junior varsity head coach the past three years, making for a smooth transition when he became head of the varsity program last off-season. Among his tasks for 2013 was to refuel on offense, where the team had incurred heavy losses to graduation. While he still considers the offense to be a work in progress, the Chargers do bring a balanced attack to the post-season, averaging 132 yards through the air and 129 on the ground.

“Someone scouting us would have a hard time knowing which way we’re coming at them. Offensively, we’ve been getting better each week … We’re playing good right now, but I think we can play better.”

Pearl City was once 0-2 earlier, albeit their first loss came in pre-season action to Division I Kapolei before a 40-8 setback to Kalani. From there, Kami’s team went on a roll, defeating Waialua (38-12), Kalaheo (49-8), Anuenue (50-7), Roosevelt (37-0) and Nanakuli (35-12) in successive weeks. It lost to Kaiser before last weekend’s much-anticipated matchup with Radford.

Throughout the season, its defense has been one of the best in the state in Division II, and the team entered last weekend ranked second in the OIA White in total defense. “The defense has done a great job – they’ve carried us,” Kami said of a unit that yields only 204 total yards per game.

“Offensively, we’d like to hold onto the ball more, not have three(downs)-and-outs and get some first downs to give the defense a rest and keep them off of the field.”

There will be no shortage of familiarity between teams when the playoffs begin, Kami noted, since all four qualifiers already have met each other once during the season. “Everyone knows each other. It’s going to come down to basic fundamentals and whoever makes the least amount of mistakes.”

Should the Chargers win their semifinal game this weekend, they will have two weeks to prepare for the OIA White title game.