Weight Room Work Preps Kahuku For May 25 Spring Game

Coach Reggie Torres

Coach Reggie Torres

The winter months spent in the weight room are akin to the “dog days of summer” for a football player, with no game to immediately prepare for and rally around.

In Kahuku’s case, a stocked trophy case serves as a reminder to the Red Raiders that there is light at the end of the so-called off-season tunnel.

“It makes them realize that their hard work pays off,” said head coach Reggie Torres, whose team went 12-2 last fall en route to winning the Division I state title in November. “They have more belief in what we’re trying to do because they’ve seen the results on the field.

“We’re excited for the kids who have been coming every day,” he added. “We were also disappointed that some kids who should have been there (at off-season workouts) weren’t there. We’re moving on without them.”

Torres and Kahuku are in the midst of the first of two weeks of spring football practices, as allotted by the OIA. Their public unveiling is set for May 25 in their annual spring game. Under OIA guidelines, teams can have full contact drills for much of spring practice as well as their spring game. In an effort to minimize the chance of injuries, Torres will keep contact to a minimum, save for the game.

“We’ll do some live (practice), but not that much,” he said. “We’ll see what we want to see and move on. We’ll focus more on teaching good technique first, and ingraining our program in the kids. We know what we have. Now it’s a matter of creating depth and having people who can play in behind (the veterans).”

The team returns several key players from last year, including tackle Johnny Waa, running back Aofaga Wily, quarterback Viliami Livai, wide receiver Elijah Cabiles and all-around ace Kawe Johnson on the offensive side of the ball. Wily, Waa and Johnson were All-First Team selections in 2012.

Defensively, Johnson returns to his spot at corner back, where he was selected as the OIA Red Conference Player of the Year last season, while veterans Johnny Tapusoa (line-backer), Toiva Tufaga (lineman) and Siaumau Mapu (lineman) are also back. All were picked for the All-Conference team in 2012.

“Those are the kids who have been working hard every day and showing great leadership,” Torres said.

Kahuku boasted the state’s best defense a year ago, yielding only 6.8 points per game through 13 outings. A loss to Farrington in week seven was all that kept it from an undefeated season in 2012.

“We put our athletes on defense – that’s the priority,” Torres said. “We have great coaches and players there (on defense). We expect them to be very competitive again.”