Things seen, heard at Kadena football camp
First in a series of quick hits on high school football practices around the Pacific.
-- On the surface, one might surmise that Kadena football has a major rebuilding job on its hands. The Panthers lost a number of upperclassmen and only 38 players have turned out for practice thus far, the fewest that Sergio Mendoza, entering his 10th year as coach, has had come out in quite a while. Those numbers may tick up once school opens on the 31st, but not by a lot.
-- The biggest job will be replacing Justin Sego, now playing for Whitworth College in Washington, who rushed for 2,929 yards and 36 touchdowns the last two seasons. Probably the biggest camp battle will be at running back; senior Jason Bland got some touches last year and ripped off some big runs. Juniors Hunter Corwin and Karl Gerstner and senior Dominic Santanelli will get some touches, too.
-- If Justin Sego was the “great one,” then his younger brother, Cody Sego, could be the “next one.” The sophomore lines up at quarterback. He’s the new starter, though he saw action last season. Mendoza said the younger Sego worked the summer conditioning program “very hard” and reported to tryouts in “great shape.” Sego replaces two-year starter Jamario Harris, who graduated.
-- Edge pass rushers John McBain and Boysie Gordon have departed, but Gerstner and junior Dan Frazier appear to be at the front of the line to take their spots. “They’ll be OK,” Mendoza said, adding that Gerstner is “a hammer.” Harris’ departure leaves a major vacancy at free safety, though.
-- Most of all, Mendoza seems quite excited about his offensive line. As solid a unit as he says he’s had in five years, the front five is “very smart,” some of them taking Advanced Placement courses in the sciences. And the line has enough depth that Mendoza is experimenting with junior man-child Siulagisipai Fuimaono at tight end. “That’ll be a lot of fun,” Mendoza said. “The interior has a lot of promise.”