Luis’ Offseason Training Paying Dividends for Bears
By Rodney S. Yap
Last summer Keanan Luis decided to step up his offseason workouts. All that sweat, sore muscles, and early hours training paid dividends for the Baldwin High School football team on Friday at King Kekaulike Stadium.
That’s because the 5-foot, 9-inch, 200-pound Luis had another breakout performance, scoring a career-high three touchdowns in helping the Bears record their third straight Maui Interscholastic League win, 45-28.
Unfortunately, King Kekaulike had no answer for Luis and his 316 all-purpose yards on a night when its own offense put up its share of fireworks with quarterback Kawika Homalon connecting with speedster Corry Brown on three touchdown passes.
Luis had his usual yards running the ball, gaining 111 on 15 carries. But he also caught a touchdown pass, a 37-yarder from quarterback Taje Akaka-Foster, and perhaps his best work of the night came on his four punt returns that netted 168 yards and continuously put the home team on its heels.
“King Kekaulike’s coverage was crashing down and when I looked there was a full ally to the right and I jumped on that and got big yards,” said the senior, describing one of the returns where he cutback and almost scored before getting shoved out of bounds near the goal line. “When everything is working out good I’ll stay to the left or the right. But I really did notice that when I run the ball to one side, the coverage jumps the gun and over pursues. And when that happens they leave the whole other side of the field open.”
Baldwin improved to 3-2 in the MIL overall.
The Bears have a bye next week and then face first-round champion Maui High, Friday, Oct. 3, at War Memorial Stadium, beginning at 7 p.m.
Luis rushed for a season-high 245 yards last week in a win against Kamehameha Maui and came into the game leading all MIL runners with 399 yards on 43 carries. His season totals are now 410 yards on 58 carries (7.1 yard average).
In addition, his three touchdowns — two on rushes of 1 and 49 yards, respectively — ties him for the MIL scoring title with Lahainaluna’s Makoa Filikitonga, who has six. The Lunas are at Kamehameha Maui tonight, beginning at 7 p.m.
As for his 37-yard touchdown reception, Luis said is was his first.
“That was my first catch of the season actually, so I’m 1-for-1 right now.”
Games are fun, the real work is done in practice and for Luis, the offseason.
“It all started last year during summer break, I started lifting early and became one of the stronger guys in the weight room, from benching 330 to squatting almost 400 pounds.”
Luis’ max squad is 395. He also dead lifts 420 and power cleans 285.
“But what really helped me was power cleans,” said the tri-sport athlete, who also swims and does track. “It helped me to develop my core and gives me the strength I need to stay upright.”
All the strength development has helped Luis be a starter on boths sides of the ball, as he is also the team’s strong safety. Against King Kekaulike, he had a number of tackles, one interception and one pass breakup.
“I’m in the best shape of my life, but playing both sides of the ball really takes a lot out of anybody. . . . I like defense, but when it really gets down to it I’m an offensive guy.”
Among Luis’ goals this year is to reach the 1,000-yard rushing milestone.
“I am really looking forward to reaching that 1,000-yard mark.”
Luis said his success is based on the success of his linemen up front: Cruise Ah Chan (6-2, 225, Jr.), Kaumana Garcia (5-9, 210, Sr.), Paula Finau (6-2, 263, So.), Tevita-Ryan Lotulelei-Wilhelm (6-0, 295, Sr.) and Aleki Finau (5-10, 250, Jr.).
“Where a really short team, compared to last year, but we’ve overcome that by working on our speed and our explosion. We also have a lot of sophomores and juniors.”
When asked if he felt like he had a pair of breakout games over the last two weeks, Luis answered: “Yeah it did. It’s really opened my eyes to my speed in the open field. I didn’t think of myself as being fast. I am usually the kind of guy that just puts his head down.”
Friday’s MIL Scoring Summary
At King Kekaulike Stadium
BEARS 45, NA ALII 28
Baldwin …………. 14 ……. 7 ….. 10 ….. 14—45
King Kekaulike ….. 0 ….. 14 ……. 7 ……. 7—28
BH—Ethan Oliveros 30 pass from Taje Akaka-Foster (Kelii Kaiama kick), 6:55.
BH—Kawena Alo-Kaonohi 7 run (Kaiama kick), 0:46.
KK—Corry Brown 12 pass from Kawika Homalon (Brown kick), 6:11.
BH—Keanan Luis 37 pass from Akaka-Foster (Kaiama kick), 2:58.
KK—Kawika Akahi 52 run (Brown kick), 0:00.
BH—Luis 1 run (Kaiama kick), 8:16.
BH—Kaiama 19 FG, 2:15.
KK—Brown 28 pass from Homalon (Brown kick), 0:52.
BH—Alo-Kaonohi 1 run (Kaiama kick), 6:53.
KK—Brown 36 pass from Homalon (Brown kick), 3:31.
BH—Luis 49 run (Kaiama kick), 3:07.
Junior varsity: Baldwin 45, King Kekaulike 0.
* All game statistics complied by Rob Collias of The Maui News.