Bears Hand Pacheco First MIL Win Against Sabers
By Rodney S. Yap
The landscape on both sidelines may have been different, but the outcome was the same.
“It feels great,” said Baldwin High School head coach Keneke Pacheco, moments after watching his Bears rollover the crosstown rival Sabers of Maui High, 33-13, Friday night at War Memorial Stadium. “It’s nice to watch the boys play. They came out here and had some fun.”
The victory was Baldwin’s 25th straight against the Sabers, dating back 13 years ago.
Badwin senior quarterback Jeremiah Badillo ran for one touchdown and threw for three as the Bears built a 33-0 lead going into the fourth quarter before the Sabers got their first score with 9 minutes, 28 seconds left in the game to avoid a shutout.
“We were fired up and ready. The boys worked hard and the coaches worked hard, but we left some plays out there,” added Pacheco, who earned his first MIL victory as head coach and received a Gatorade shower from his players after the gun sounded to end the game.
Pacheco has been a stickler for details and taking care of the little things. Now more than ever, Baldwin players are being held accountable for missed assignments and mental miscues during practice as Pacheco prefers to discipline the team rather than punish the individual.
The offseason message — strength in unity — eventually became the team’s philosophy and now serves as the backbone of the Bears’ football program under Pacheco.
“I think it comes back to our unity,” said Baldwin veteran middle linebacker Teva Eldridge, who along with fellow linebackers Nohea Keahi and Patrick Turner seemed to be around the ball on every play. “Everyone played assignment football and took care of their responsibilities. We did have a couple of breakdowns and they took advantage of that, but I thought we comeback together and did our jobs.
“People can talk, but it comes down to the work that you do in practice so that you can come out here and be successful. We showed we were ready.”
The Bears’ defense held Maui High to 99 yards in the first half and had a successful goal-line stand late in the third quarter, thwarting a nine-play drive that saw the Sabers penetrate to Baldwin’s 3-yard line before turning the ball over on downs when Keahi sacked quarterback Tyson Takabayashi on 4th-and-goal.
Baldwin’s up-tempo, no-huddle offense appeared to keep the Sabers’ defense off-balance and on its heels.
“We decided on the senior,” said Baldwin offensive coordinator Dave Carino about the team’s three-way competition at the quarterback position. “He has that leadership presence, he’s smart and he sees what we see and what we want him to see.”
Badillo said he wasn’t surprise he had receivers open and running back Dusty Flores had big holes to run through, netting 126 yards on 16 carries.
“We executed it like that in practice. We still have a lot of work to do, but tonight it was pretty good,” said the 5-6, 156-pound Badillo.
“The responsibility to be the starter of this team is a big thing. But it comes from experience and being able to lead a team — in the beginning or during crunch time. I understand this offense and what Coach Dave is trying to do. He’s a great coach. He explains everything well and it’s easy to understand.”
Carino looks for individual mismatches favoring his receivers and weak spots in the under belly of the defense that allows his playmakers to make big plays in the open field.
“I’m a student of the game, too, and I’ve learned a lot from everybody,” Carino said of his offense. “I’ve learned from all the great coaches, but we still have a lot of work to do. You can see we are still a little rusty out there and need to polish things up.
“But for his (Badillo’s) first start, not bad. We’re happy. We will evaluate the game film, but from what we’ve seen tonight, we’re pretty happy.”
Pacheco agreed with Carino.
“We might have caught them off guard (no-huddle offense). Badillo did a real good job making his reads, but like I said we left some plays outside there and we still have plenty of room for improvement.”
Friday’s MIL Scoring Summary
Baldwin 6 20 7 0—33
Maui High 0 0 0 13—13
BH—Jeremiah Badillo 17 run (kick failed), 7:14.
BH—Keenan Luis 1 run (pass failed), 8:39.
BH—Solomon Kurkowski-Hoopii 33 pass from Badillo ( Teva Eldridge pass from Kawela Kaeo-Mata), 5:53.
BH—Benjamin Wuthrich 19 pass from Badillo (kick failed), 2:10.
BH—Anthony Kahoohanohano-Davis 9 pass from Badillo (Wuthrich kick), 7:46.
MH—Daniel Kelley 3 run (Jared Kapisi kick), 9:28.
MH—Alexander Vainikolo 5 run (kick failed), 6:35.
Junior varsity — Maui High 3, Baldwin 0.