Sabers Have Big Task Against Farrington Today
By Rodney S Yap
To be specific, the sixth-ranked Farrington High School Governors are bigger than big, said Maui High School head coach David Bui.
“Nah, gigantic is a better word, I am an English teacher after all,” Bui said in an interview earlier this week. “Lahainaluna is big. Yeah, but not this big. Campbell is big. And when we saw Farrington line up against Campbell, they were enormous.”
The Govs have nine players 6-foot-2 or taller, 16 players 250 pounds or more, and eight who are more than 300 pounds. Senior Jonathan Leusogo-Leae is listed as 6-foot-2, 420 pounds on the team’s roster.
In addition to size, Farrington (8-3) has experience, appearing in its 10 state tournament compared to Maui High’s second in 13 seasons.
Maui High (7-2) will start one freshman, two sophomores, one junior and one senior on its offensive line today, when the Sabers meet the Governors in the first game of a first-round doubleheader at Aloha Stadium.
Today’s game involving the Maui Interscholastic League Division I champion Sabers kicks off at 4:30 p.m. The contest can be viewed live on OC16 TV across the state or heard locally on ESPN 900AM Radio.
Kahuku (8-2) will play Hilo (10-1) in the 7:30 p.m. nightcap.
“They may be bigger, but we feel like we have more heart and I would go to battle with this team any day,” said fourth-year coach Bui. “We truly believe that we can beat these guys. Our boys are not afraid, I don’t think they are going to back down. They haven’t backed down from anybody this season and I don’t see them backing down from this Farrington team.”
What the Sabers may lack in size, they certainly make up for with good overall speed and a relentless, never quit attitude.
“Size doesn’t matter. We’ve always preached that because we’ve always been the smaller team.”
“They have size. We accept the fact that they are bigger than us and probably stronger than us, but I believe we have more heart than them and play more as a team. But it’s all up to the man above,” said defensive leader Alexander Vainikolo. “The goal is to win and come back and represent not only Maui High school but the Valley Isle with pride.”
Behind that line is the polished arm of quarterback Montana Liana (968 yards passing, 8 TDs) and the fleet-footed tailback Ranan Mamiya (1,046 yards rushing, 15 TDs).
Defensively, Farrington is led by lineman Breiden Fehoko, an all-state selection last year, and linebackers Bryce Tatupu-Leopoldo and Jeremiah Pritchard.
“We’ve been preparing well,” said Leka Vainikolo, Alexander’s brother and teammate on defense. “We know our coaches have got our backs so we’ve been telling the boys don’t be afraid. Size doesn’t matter. It’s like David versus Goliath kind of thing.”
The Sabers other key players on defense are Onosai Emelio, Tristan Nichols, Jonathan Lolohea, Lucas Ibanez, Arven Lacaden, Soane Vaohea, Nathan Vierra, Tyson Takabayashi and Justin Carvalho.
Offensively, junior quarterback Austin Hoe has a slew of running backs, led by Emelio’s league high 11 rushing touchdowns and junior Daniel Kelley. Vaohea and sophomore Hanisi Lotulelei will also see plenty of action.
“I’m glad its televised, so everybody on Maui can watch and the rest of the state can see what Maui is all about and hopefully we’ll put on a good showing,” Bui concluded.