Coach Pacheco Breaks Down Bears’ Progress

September 22, 2013, 2:03 PM HST · Updated September 22, 2:07 PM
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King Kekaulike quarterback Ryley Widell tries to deliver this pass as Baldwin's Chase Kuluhiwa-Rodrigues applies defensive pressure. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

King Kekaulike quarterback Ryley Widell tries to deliver this pass as Baldwin’s Chase Kuluhiwa-Rodrigues applies defensive pressure. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

By Rodney S. Yap

The Baldwin High School football team passed its mid-term exam Saturday, beating King Kekaulike 27-3 at the upcountry school’s stadium before an estimated crowd of about 1,500.

On Sunday, first-year head coach Keneke Pacheco was asked to grade the Bears’ progress at the midway point of the 2013 Maui Interscholastic League regular season.

“We are a young team, so we are going to make mistakes. We have to keep plugging away at getting better at the start of the game. We have energy in the second half and have played well when we come out of the locker room. And that is good. But we have to stop making mistakes and penalties.

Baldwin head coach Keneke Pacheco explains a penalty call to Titus Asis (41) during fourth-quarter action Saturday at King Kekaulike Stadium. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Baldwin head coach Keneke Pacheco explains a penalty call to Titus Asis (41) during fourth-quarter action Saturday at King Kekaulike Stadium. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

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“If I was to evaluate that right now I would say we are on track to doing what we want to do. . . . We are looking for guys to step up and the faces are always changing.”

Baldwin got touchdown runs from tailback Keenan Luis, quarterback Jeremiah Badillo and touchdown receptions from tight end Teva Eldridge and slotback Patrick Turner.

The Bears’ 20 points in the second half broke open an otherwise close game through the first 18 minutes, during which time King Kekaulike led Baldwin 3-0.

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“This is one of those things, we’re rebuilding,” Pacheco said. “And when I say that I mean we are literally rebuilding. We have a lot of young guys playing, a lot of sophomores and first-year juniors, and we are not big like we were in the past.”

Pacheco said the team is developing good habits, not all of which can be taught or practiced on the gridiron.

Baldwin's Kalaiku Pokini (59) penetrates into the King Kekaulike backfield and tackles

Baldwin’s Kalaiku Pokini (59) penetrates into the King Kekaulike backfield to bring down running back Kawika Homalon (4) for a 4-yard loss on the play. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

“I believe in grooming the total athlete. We are student-athletes first and as far as I’m concern that’s what we are trying to promote. I know it’s a change for the kids because now they are being tracked in school. So part of our conversation with the players are about learning how to work hard in school and doing the right thing.

“We’re trying to build responsible young men who are doing the right things at the right times. That’s not always easy and it is a change for them also, but I think they are adapting to it really well. We remind the boys that playing football is not a right, but a privilege to be out there.”

Pacheco, a veteran assistant coach for 14 years, was the MIL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1978 and the state’s record-breaking high hurdler from Maui High in 1979.

“We’re trying to do our best to mentor and we are doing it from the jayvee level up to the varsity. The seniors this year have done an excellent job of adapting to what we want. So I am happy with our progress . . . from study-hall attendance, to playing the game of football.

“I would give us a B or B- right now, but I’m looking at the whole package, I’m not just looking at the game. So there is a lot of work that we have to do.”

Pacheco knows the common denominator for success on or off the field, starts with hard work.

Baldwin defensive back

Baldwin defensive back Anthony Kahoohanohano-Davis returns this interception in the second half Saturday against King Kekaulike. Kahoohanohano-Davis follows the blocking of teammates Jovan-Taje Akaka Foster (2) and Preston Paranada (26). Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

“They have to continue to put in the work. It’s true, the boys have adapted to the new philosophy. Now they know they have to be attending school, they have to be in class, they have to study and you need to get your grades up. These are things that we preach that are part of Baldwin High School football.”

The coach said the players need to know there ABC’s before their X’s and O’s.

“It’s a challenge that I enjoy,” Pacheco said. “What we want to do is make an impact on these boys’ lives. It’s not just about football, because without taking care of your grades you can not play football. It’s impossible, you have to study.

Baldwin High's Patrick Turner (20) pulls down this touchdown pass while being defended by King Kekaulike's Jacob Ramos

Baldwin’s Patrick Turner (20) pulls down this touchdown pass while being defended by King Kekaulike’s Jacob Ramos. The 27-yard touchdown capped the Bears’ scoring. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

“I consider myself a walk-on coach, because I don’t work at the school. So we had to find a way to make sure that my kids were going to class. After that it becomes football and we have to learn and get better with our techniques. We have to get better at knowing our assignments. We have to get better at knowing our schemes on offense. We have to get better at controlling the ball and playing keep away.

“All of theses things are happening everyday all around me and I’m excited about what I’m seeing on a day-to-day basis, but like any other coach, I’m still not satisfied.”

Pacheco said the school’s athletic director, Kahai Shishido, and the faculty and administration have made his transition to head coach a positive experience.

Graphic by MauiNow.com Sports.

Graphic by MauiNow.com Sports.

“I’m getting a lot of help from Kahai (Shishido) and the teachers. They have been helping me and supporting me and I think it’s a good situation for everybody. It’s not all about football. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football and I am passionate about it and I want to win like anybody else, but you’re not going to win every game. However, we can win in the classroom and it is an everyday battle that we need to win — starting from the time the players get up to the time they leave the football field.”

Saturday’s MIL Game Summary

Baldwin 0 7 14 6—27

King Kekaulike 3 0 0 0—3

First Quarter

KK—Micah McDonald 23 FG, 0:28.

Second Quarter

BH—Keenan Luis 5 run (Benjamin Wuthrich kick), 2:05.

Third Quarter

BH—Teva Eldridge 15 pass from Badillo (Wuthrich kick), 7:11.

BH—Jeremiah Badillo 1 run (Wuthrich kick), 2:34.

Fourth Quarter

BH—Patrick Turner 27 pass from Badillo (kick failed), 1:32.

Junior varsity-King Kekaulike 33, Baldwin 25.

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