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PC Quarterback Ready To Roll

If Pearl City defense needs a lobbyist, quarterback Jordan Taamu qualifies.

During his own stellar junior season on offense last fall, Taamu got a closeup look at team defense.

“They made us better by practicing against them every day,” said Taamu. “I think they’re one of the best defenses I’ve faced. Once they picked it up, it pumped up our offense to make a score.”

Taamu and the entire team were right where they wanted to be last October, entering the OIA White title game with wins in seven of the previous eight weeks. A loss to Kaiser undermined momentum, but the team still made the Division II state tourney. Coming up a game short in the OIA title game was a source of motivation in the off-season, Taamu noted.

“This year, we’re looking forward to finishing — we have to finish every game,” he said. “We want to bounce back and come up with the win this year. We’ve been working hard in practice; we’ve had 40 or 50 players every day. We’re already like brothers because of the way we practice.”

For his part, Taamu adapted nicely to Pearl City’s spread offense last fall in his first year as the varsity starter, throwing for 1,649 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also rushed for 173 yards. “The best part is that you can run so many plays,” he said. “I like to stay in the pocket, but if I have to run, I’ll use my feet.”

Pearl City averaged 263 yards of total offense per game in 2013 — 143 passing and 120 on the ground. “I think we’ll be a good passing team,” Taamu said. “We have taller receivers than in the past. Our slotbacks are shorter, but they’re quick, and that should help. Passing league is helping us to learn our reads and to correct our mistakes.”

As a youth, Taamu saw the game from a different perspective on the defensive side of the ball when he was starting safety for Aiea Eagles Pop Warner team. “I was 7 when I started. I was playing defense, but they needed a quarterback. They decided to put me there. That’s when it all started. I really enjoyed it.”

Taamu also played his first three years on Pearl City’s baseball team, but wasn’t part of American Legion League play this summer as his focus is now on football. The Chargers and their fellow OIA White foes officially begin fall camp at the end of the month.

The Chargers have played Campbell, Nanakuli, Pac-Five and Saint Francis in 7-on-7 passing league games to date. At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the team returns to action against Waipahu.