Under the Hood: What’s Next?

While Saint Francis football is on the rise, another program has hit rock bottom. Hard. Following a 58-7 pounding by the Air Force, the speculation that rocked Hawaii head coach Norm Chow into the season, it finally came to  a head.

When asked Saturday if he would coach 24 hours from then, Chow bristled, saying, “I’m not worried about my job…My issue, whatever you want to make of it, has nothing to do  with this football game! Come on, give me a break!”

In front of the smallest crowd since 1976 (15,118 turnstile), and the second-worst winning percentage in Hawaii history (0.21 at 10-36), we should have been worried. The ‘Bows have lost seven straight winnable games, blowing leads twice versus New Mexico and Nevada, and now they have the worst loss in program history at home–51 points. Ferd Lewis, columnist for the local paper, the Star-Advertiser said it best–the last three games at home–all versus below-.500 teams–may attract “sewing-circle turnouts”.  With less than reported 7,000 fans left during halftime–when the Falcons were already ahead 34-0–Chow’s fate was sealed. It’s safe to say that this season will already spur debt-riddled problems, and the louder calls for football to be dropped are more and more possible. Truthfully, the basketball programs make more, and that’s saying something.

For the first time in school history, an in-season firing has been made, and Chris Naeole, the offencive line coach, will be interim for the rest of the season.

When Chow was hired on December 22, 2011, after the resignation of Greg McMackin on the fifth, people knew it wouldn’t work. And that was apparent from the start–Hawaii averaged 14.3 points in their nine losses in 2012, 25.4 points in 2013 in their near-winless season, 17.4 points in 2014’s nine losses, and nine points in the seven losses. And even when they won, it was joyless.

Plus, Hawaii went 1-23 on the road during his tenure, and exacerbated a 17-game road losing streak, at the time, the longest in the country. The lone win came in a 13-0 win versus San Jose State–a game that Hawaii was outgained 276-120.

No timetable has been set, and coordinators Don Bailey and Tom Mason appear to be safe for now.

Athletic director Dave Matlin said searches are already underway, and the shortlist is astounding. Here are my three coaches that should replace Norm Chow and his pro-style spread that hasn’t worked from day one.

  1. Nick Rolovich: Why not? The prodigal son could be pried away from the in-prodigal son named Polian in Nevada. And he could potentially bring back the offence that brought Hawaii to the top of the WAC’s elite–the run-and-shoot, pistol-style. For the first time, Hawaii could actually win a game–something that hasn’t brought my family back since October 26 last year vs. Nevada.
  2. Dirk Koetter: Yes, that guy. The same guy that was runner-up to Chow in 2011. He runs the same pro-style offence, but with more aggression and passing. It’s called the Air Raid. With a constant four slot set, and less running, this could help Hawaii back to the top and get more recruits for years to come. Just as long as the defence can step up.
  3. Ed Orgeron: A defencive-minded guy wouldn’t hurt, as long as that he has a good offence to coach, with it. He does have intensity, something that Norm Chow never had. Orgeron preaches that the team is “one heart, and one soul”, something that united a fractured USC team in 2013 following Lane Kiffin’s firing.

By the way, for those that want June Jones back, you’re nuts.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Athletics contributed this report.


Under the Hood: A Sojourn in Canada

The first flight: Honolulu to San Francisco. We departed at 8:45pm, and that was the official start of my holiday. Not counting the fact I m

The flat, windy plains gives way to the grey sky looking  down on our car driving onto the Alberta-2 Highway. Winds gust up to 42 km/h (26 mph) on the freeway down the trail to Banff, leaving the two-storey airport in the distance. That was the ideal trip to Calgary, with Banff the first stop on our list. My parents wanted a departure from our normal spot in Canada; normally it’s the foot of the scenic Lions Range in Vancouver with some snow and rain in Whistler. Arriving in Banff, we can see the Canadian Rockies in the distance, and the snow-covered peaks seem to urge us toward them. But on this 3-degree night (39 F), we stay away. The charm of Banff was amazing: the town set like that scene in a John Wayne film, yet had the modern charm that could make Elton John blush. Like Old Western meets Sony 4K.

The food was great. Many restaurants around there (many meaning sparsely few, except with two BeaverTail stores on the same block) served typical liquid lunch food with a touch of Canadianity to it. I even caught the first night of hockey on SportsNet! And watched my favourite Canadian football team, the B.C. Lions murder the Saskatchewan Roughriders!  Later on the week, we went the Banff Gondola, which took you to the top of the Rockies–literally–and looked down on the town from the lookout point. It was a great view, needless to say that the wind was blowing and the temperature had to be near 2 degrees (37 F). It was amazing to be in Banff and I thought we would never leave. But we did, and we once again were in Calgary. I always wondered what that thing was outside my hotel window, and in fact it was the Calgary Tower. Traveling up the elevator, all 525 meters of it, I finally saw Cowtown from where I wanted: above it all. However, there was still one more thing to do: Canadian football.

We took the C-Train on a perfect day, temperature around 21 C (60 F) toward McMahon Stadium, homes of the Calgary Stampeders and Dinos, the local university team. It was also host to the ’88 Calgary Olympics and the frigid Molson Heritage Classic in 2003, in which I’m pretty sure everyone had frostbite and bathed in coffee and cocoa after. This was, in fact, the rubber match: Edmonton vs. Calgary, in a battle for who may win the Western Division. The Eskies won the last battle 27-16 at Commonwealth and the Labour Day Classic, played at McMahon, was won by the Stamps 16-7. Now it was all on the line. Cowbell and horn in hand, I walked up to Section U, Row 48, Seat 11. I was facing the names of some of the greatest names in CFL history: Jeff Garcia, Doug Flutie, and Warren Moon, just to name a few. The seats filled in as the swirling 33 km/h wind (22 mph) whipped around the smoke from the entrance of the Stamps. Pretty soon, it was time for kickoff!

The game was entertaining. There were only two touchdowns (majors, as they’re often referred to) in the game–one by Eric Rogers of Calgary, and Kenny Stafford of the Eskies. Other than that, the kickers literally battled as Rob Maver had an unusual off-night, missing the corner three times and had a punt of 28-yards. Shaun Whyte of Edmonton had a 30-yard and 43-yard field goal, but he also missed the corner twice. The final score: Edmonton 15, Calgary 11. As we departed, I watched the Lions crumble in a 29-26 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers back at our hotel room in downtown Calgary. As we flew back, I received the news that water main had broken. Now let it be known that I was planning to come to school in about another 11 hours. Around 5:45am, I found out that the water went down again, so no school. At least I got to spend Thanksgiving with my family, though. With that said, it’s time for the top 3 things to do in Calgary, Banff, or Canada in general:

  1. Stop, Look, and Eat: There are a lot of good restaurants in Canada, which do New Canadiana justice in taste and smell. But nothing beats the evening bar rush like a poutine or a BeaverTail. Poutines are french fries on steroids, basically, with your standard brown gravy and cheese curds–cheese that’s pressed back into blocks. And what about a BeaverTail? That’s a whole wheat pastry stretched into a beaver’s tail (hence the name) and topped with basically anything from chocolate to fruit and ice cream, even.
  2. Get into Hockey. Seriously: It’s good. The local farm team is in Calgary for the Flames, and their called the Hitmen. But seriously, now, hockey is awesome. If you don’t even know what’s happening, it’s exciting, and 18,200 other screaming fans won’t mind either.
  3. Enjoy: You will probably never have the same things at home here in Hawaii or anywhere else. So, take all the pictures you can and tell everyone what you ate, saw, and did in Canada. Even though you may hate your parents on vacation for doing humiliating things, just play along and enjoy it. Not many people like me can afford to travel frequently like this!

Want more? Check out my Instagram @thetumalip and see all my pictures under #TumalipHoliday. I might be heading to Montreal in March, so stay tuned!



Friday Night Football: Saints upset Pac-Five to end 21-game league losing streak

HALAWA: At last, at long last. They’re off the schneid. Wembley Mailei ran in for a score, and the Saints defence finally put it altogether in a 12-9 victory over the Wolf Pack at Aloha Stadium. They also snapped that 21-game losing streak in the ILH.

“I’m so proud of these kids, they deserve all the credit,” said Saints coach Kip Akana, who was the intermediate coach and went undefeated last season. “We finally showed what we can do, and this is definitely a step in the right direction.” It now also puts pressure on Damien to win its next game, which, coupled with a victory by the Saints over Damien, could force a three-way play-off by virtue of 2-2 records.

But coach Akana simply said, ” Have to take one game at a time.” One thing is for sure: that bye week certainly helped. The Saints came out like a locomotive on defence and it eventually led to Tyson Shimabukuro’s 31-yard run to start the scoring. The Pack only answered with a chip field goal from Tyler Fukuruda and Mailei eventually applied what would be the dagger before Pack slinger Kainoa Ferreira snuck one in himself.

After that, the celebration was on.

Under the Hood Summer Stories: That Time Again

A chant still rings in my head after the feat of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team winning the first world title since 1999 (don’t be surprised if I walk around with championship shirt). Yes, people, it’s that time again! It seems hard to believe that the preseason in state football begins in two weeks from now, which is my personal Christmas. After two promising wins versus Southern Alberta Secondary and Keaau Cougars last year, the Saints let their first back-to-back games in which they were leading slip away in the second half last year versus Pac-Five and Kamehameha. However, with much of the intermediate that went undefeated two years in a row, the team has lofty expectations in front this year.

Here’s what you need to know before the season starts on August 8 in preseason A versus Anuenue.

  • The ILH was realigned off-season with the Iolani Raiders leaving Division II, leaving only Pac-Five and Damien with Saint Francis.
  • The Saints will only have four league games, all at Aloha Stadium.
  • For the third consecutive season, the Saints open a neighbor island team.
  • The team returns the two seniors and much of the intermediate team that went undefeated.
  • All games will start after 6:00pm for the first time in team history.

Saint Francis Saints 2015 Season Schedule

  • Preseason A vs Anuenue (August 8, TBD at Castle/Kaiser)
  • Preseason B at Konawaena (August 15, 6:00pm)
  • Preseason C vs Honokaa (August 22, 6:00pm at Ching Field)
  • Preseason D vs Murieta Mesa (August 28, 6:00pm at Ching Field)
  • Week 1 vs. Pac-Five (9/11, 7:45pm at Aloha Stadium)
  • Week 2 vs. Damien (9/19, 6:00pm at Roosevelt)
  • Week 4 vs. Pac-Five (10/2, 7:45pm at Aloha Stadium)
  • Week 5 vs. Damien (10/9, 5:15pm at Aloha Stadium)

Playoff spots: Top seed gets bye to Division Final, two-seed plays three-seed in Division Semi Final.

Week 3 is a bye.

So now, we analyse. The preseason is a good test for the team to try  out different combinations of veterans with unproven talent as of yet. I’m not saying that this team will let us down, but there will be hiccups as another year of rebuild begins. The bright side to this: Division II playoffs look a lot more friendly now to get through with the departure of Iolani.

  • Week 1, 4 vs. Pac-Five: We now know that Pac-Five will be a huge target in the first week of league play. It’s important we get off to a good start. Even with Tsubasa Brennan graduated, it is still probable to run into trouble. Especially with junior quarterback Kainoa Ferreira returning, he can still torch the Saints inexperienced defence. Will it be enough? The lost leads of 14-7,  21-14, and 21-20 may say no. In this instance, one says no, the other yes.

Prediction: Week 3=Pac-Five 21, Saint Francis 19, Week 6=Saint Francis 20, Pac-Five 0

  • Week 2, 5 vs. Damien: Ah, yes. The rivalry continues. With the Monarchs adding fuel to the fire of last’s year games, this year is no different. In Week 3, I will lead the band and make everyone believe. If our defence can hold up and the offence can get off on right foot, that’s a good sign. That leads us to our first ever ILH win and then another one in Week 7.

Prediction: Week 5=Saint Francis 27, Damien 13, Week 7=Saint Francis 50, Damien 12

Jaylieen and Odessa Lead Our Seniors Into The Sunset

High school includes a lot of hard work. Jaylieen Cesneros and Odessa Tolentino have put so much effort into their studies that they are the top two students of the class of 2015.

2015 Valedictorian: Jaylieen Cesneros

2015 Salutatorian: Odessa Tolentino

After the ceremony, Odessa Tolentino said,  “After the whole thing was announced, I got teary-eyed from seeing my mom (Mrs. Tolentino) cry because she was so proud.”

Jaylieen Cesneros said, “Although I’m a little nervous about making a Valedictorian speech, I definitely feel honored to be the Valedictorian because it shows how the amount of effort I’ve put into school has paid off.”

Everyone should set high goals in high school . It’s the first step to success, and maybe the easiest one. Working toward the goals you set is the hard part. Odessa, for example, says, “I actually stay up really late usually doing homework or studying. I’ve had nights when I would get as little as four hours of sleep!”

If you take the initiative, you can achieve anything that you set your mind to. Jaylieen says, “Getting this far took a lot of time, motivation, dedication, and most of the time, sleepless nights.”

Odessa’s parting words are, “As cliche as it may sound, always study, do homework, and get good grades. School is definitely hard, but by putting in a lot of hard work and determination, it’ll pay off in the long run.”

Jaylieen Cesneros and Odessa Tolentino lead our seniors into the sunset of their Saint Francis days.  However, their futures are just beginning to rise.


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