Coach’s Luncheon Report: 11/03/14

Luke Matthews“Mathematically, we are still alive” averred a Rainbow Warrior stalwart from the crowd at the Nā Koa luncheon today.

Receivers Assistant Coach Luke Matthews vowed that “the guys are ready to go, they’re good that way, focusing on job preparation.” And as badly as the Utah State game went, Matthews’ assessment of the field happenings did quell rising blood pressures a bit.

A solid offensive line’s uncharacteristic eight procedure penalties were extremely disquieting for the casual observer. However, Matthews pointed out that USU is known for their defensive line to shift and abruptly call out “move” when doing so to induce offensive linemen to jump. Head Coach Norm Chow knew this and spoke to the referees before the game about it, to no avail. Not that the deception is legal – the defense cannot say anything to disconcert the snap count – BUT the referees have to hear it.

So fear not, our O-line is not losing its discipline; it merely has to discern the signal caller or watch the snap. Oh, and the snap? Well, Kody Afusia tends to cock the ball before snapping it so sometimes it can look like the start of a snap, but it doesn’t go… thus a penalty.

And why all of a sudden did Steven Lakalaka engage in illegal chop blocks? According to Matthews, he doesn’t…well he did, but not intentionally. It was a case of the running back trying to pick up a blitz that the lineman seemingly did not see. So when the lineman “recovered” and stepped over for a late block, Lakalaka was already in his dive to cut the blitzer. Two blockers; one engaging, the other coming in to cut…flag! And yes, Lakalaka did show frustration with a late hit after an interception and a second chop block.

Then again, you call that frustration? That was nothing compared to the discussion Coach Chow and Special Teams Coach Chris Demarest had after the roughing the kicker penalty to negate Scott Harding’s TD punt return and return USU’s offense to the field to nail the coffin shut. By the way, there is a lot of passion and energy on the sidelines so expect blow ups…but they don’t last; it’s just part of the game.

If you are seething at trying to figure out why the block technique was so bad or why call for a block at all . . . STOP! Just as the O-line didn’t all of a sudden lose their focus, Coach Demo didn’t lose his mind all of a sudden either! The play was set up where Diocemy Sainte Juste was to line up outside on the right and Gaetano DeMattei was to line up INSIDE ON THE LEFT. Unfortunately, De Mattei did not interpret the signal correctly so added an outside player on the right where there was no good angle to take on the kicker. Add to that the fact that one must run through the play to maintain control and balance, not dive because you cannot control where you land or what you hit, and well . . .

Interestingly, this punt play was actually designed for a return rather than a block, which is why Harding had the opportunity to go up the middle. On most punts Harding does not have a designed return so he must get whatever he can as best he can.

The defensive secondary had their problems communicating, too. It also did not help that USU had some very fast receivers!

And what about our speed? Why didn’t we use Keelan Ewaliko more, or use other receivers when we had so many dropped passes in the past two games? Matthews admitted the receivers must “see the ball into the tuck,” because when their eyes go up field, we have problems. Catching passes with the hands is also preferable. Marcus Kemp is still growing as a receiver and needs to trust his hands.

Matthews reported that Kemp and Pedroza are the numbers 5 and 6 receivers in the Mountain West so continuously using them gives the team the best chance of success. Besides, both are good blockers, which is another reason why they’re playing.

Matthews is very excited about the future of the receiving corps. Besides Kemp, Pedroza, Barker and Ewaliko, add back injured players Vasquez Haynes and Devan Stubblefield. There’s also freshman Darrian Josey who is a bona fide speedster and Don ‘Yeh Patterson who is fundamentally sound.

Exciting times are ahead. Why not start it at Colorado State on Saturday?

Written by Gareth Sakakida

2014 Alec Waterhouse Memorial Football Awards Luau

Awards Luau
Please join us to celebrate our Rainbow Warrior football season and the 2014 senior class at our annual Alec Waterhouse Memorial Football Awards Luau.

07 December 2014

University of Hawai’i Athletics Complex – Soccer Field

500P reception, 600P dinner & awards program

$50 adults / $25 children (4-12 years)

Also available are a limited number of “Warrior Tables” which provides for VIP seating, pupus, five reserved parking, and a special Nā Koa logo gift for $1,500 (10 seats).

There’ll be good food and entertainment and a chance for you to interact with your favorite players and coaches. Win or lose, the team deserves our support for their effort throughout the season so please plan to be there!

Make your reservation by submitting the attached registration form along with your payment by 23 November 2013. Questions may be directed to Joyce Lau at the Nā Koa office at 808.956.4513 or

Click here for registration form:

Coach’s Luncheon Report: 10/27/14

Powell_Lewis12_9759[1]Rainbow Warrior Defensive Line Coach, Louis Powell, complimented Nevada Quarterback Cody Fajardo stating we knew what he was going to do, but we couldn’t stop him. Powell pointed out that Fajardo did nothing different from the BYU films they watched when his running and selective passing brought the Wolf Pack back from being three scores down.


The Wolf Pack coaching staff did a good job scouting Hawaii’s personnel as their O line kept leaving Hawaii defensive tackle Kennedy Tulimasealii alone using his explosiveness to overrun plays and leave his gap. After Hawaii’s staff spotted that, Tulimasealii stayed in the gap when not blocked, forced Fajardo to hold the ball and go outside. Unfortunately, we still could not stop that play. Hawaii’s safeties were assigned to cover Fajardo but just did not have the angle or speed on most plays to be effective.


Also hampering Hawaii’s defense was Nevada sending their personnel onto the field late so by the time the personnel was identified upstairs and sent to the field, defensive signals were being relayed when Nevada was nearly ready to snap the ball.


Scouting may have also helped Nevada block Hawaii’s first attempted field goal when a defender timed the holder’s signal perfectly and made a running leap by the snapper to block the ball. Fortunately, our Special Teams punting performance was good with five punts averaging 45.4 yards with one downed inside the 20 yard line. Powell expounded on Scott Harding’s ability and value to the team and gave for a sigh of relief when he reported Harding was okay after being visibly bothered by some leg or hip ailment during the game.


Powell also pointed out what Offensive Line Coach, Chris Naeole, did in the October 13 meeting where the punt return team vacated the field as soon as Harding punted the ball, save a lone receiver. Given that scenario, Powell was asked whether Harding could execute a drop kick to create a live ball situation. However, Powell reminded the audience that a drop kick would be permissible as a field goal attempt and if no opposing player touched it, the play would be a failed field goal attempt and the ball turned over.


Powell reported that Hawaii’s next challenge, Utah State University, is down to their fourth string quarterback so we can expect a lot of running. He said that quarterback is a true freshman who ran a run-oriented attack in high school so he might not be ready to throw a lot. In any case, the Aggies do a lot of the same things Hawaii’s offense does so because the defense sees that every day in practice, we should match up well.


Coach Powell thanked everyone for their continued support, said the kids are still fighting hard, watching film, and learning to correct their errors.

Written by: Gareth Sakakida


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