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MIL FB preview No. 5: Baldwin Bears
August 30, 2011 - Robert Collias
The Baldwin High School football team is almost always known for its prolific spread offense — even future NFL linebacker Kaluka Maiava lined up at fullback during his senior season in 2004.
This season, however, the Bears have much more experience on defense, with eight returning starters and two NCAA Division I prospects in lineman Pasoni Tasini and linebacker B.J. Wilhelm-Ioane. One of the three returnees on offense is junior quarterback Keelan Ewaliko, the MIL Offensive Player of the Year last season when he threw for 1,060 yards and 17 TDs.
Reality hit the Bears hard in the form of Edison High School of California on Friday night at War Memorial Stadium. The ninth-ranked team in Orange County smacked the Bears, ranked 10th in the state, 48-10.
Here is the start of my preview on Baldwin — I have been out of town for a week, so please excuse the late post:
PUKALANI - The Baldwin High School football team has grown accustomed to dominating the Maui Interscholastic League, with a 50-2-1 league record dating back to the 2004 season.
Last season was no different as the Bears rolled to an 8-0 run through the league, outscoring opponents 293-43.
This year, every other MIL coach labeled the Bears the favorites to take the league crown for a seventh season in a row, but the difference in 2011 may be the way Baldwin is expected to win - not with a record-setting offense, but with a defense that returns eight starters from a unit that limited MIL opponents to a league-best 146.6 yards per game in 2010.
Two of those returnees are NCAA Division I prospects - defensive lineman Pasoni Tasini, who has already received scholarship offers from Utah, Nevada-Las Vegas and Hawaii, and linebacker B.J. Wilhelm-Ioane.
"This defense, compared to last year, we lost a little, but I think we are just as tough as last year," said Tasini, the MIL Athlete of the Year as a junior. "Last year we had a young defense and we didn't lose much, so we are just trying to work off our defense right now."
The Edison game closed out a 1-5 nonleague schedule for the MIL that saw three Maui teams suffer shutouts and get outscored 152-43.
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