Paredes Makes The Big Hits

Bobby Curran
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Friday - September 23, 2009
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LAS VEGAS - Notes from the road:

The University of Hawaii football team just took the longest road trip by any school in the nation, lasting 11 days with stops in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle) and the desert (Las Vegas).

The logistics of moving, feeding and outfitting the traveling party are daunting.

Practices were scheduled for four different sites; Memorial Stadium, an old but well-kept facility near the Space Needle in Seattle, Qwest Field the day before the Washington State game, Palo Verde High School in Summerlin - a new and beautiful scholastic site - and Sam Boyd Stadium.

I stood next to the Palo Verde football coach while Hawaii coach Greg McMackin made an animated speech before practice last Tuesday, aka “whipping some tail!” - and the coach turned to me and said, “I thought I was the only guy still doing that!”

The facilities were all fine, and practices generally went smoothly. But evaluating some of the accommodations, i.e. the food, it was a case of one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.

Sophomore linebacker Corey Paredes said, “The food is totally awesome. It’s all buffets and you can eat as much as you need, whatever you want.” Special teams coordinator Chris Tormey, well into middle age, had a slightly different take.

“It’s terrible! It’s all buffets. And every time I turn around I’m putting something else in my mouth. I’ve got to get some exercise!”

Paredes is one of the great stories of the 2009 Warrior team.

A talented but undersized player at Castle High School, Paredes was late getting out recruiting tapes, and got some interest but no firm scholarship offers. “I heard from Tennessee and Washington,” said Paredes, “but they wanted me to walk on. UH seemed as interested as anybody so I walked on here.”

Paredes worked hard while paying his own way, and one day after practice Coach Mac announced that he and Kahuku alum Richard Torres were being rewarded with scholarships. That was greeted with heartfelt cheers from their teammates who knew how hard they had worked.

As fall camp continued it became evident that Paredes would be in the playing rotation.

“That’s a real player,” says defensive coordinator Cal Lee. “He can run and he’ll hit you. And he’s such a great kid.”

Against Wazoo, Paredes got his first collegiate start. After the dust cleared, Paredes had eight tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack, and was selected WAC Defensive Player of the Week.

You couldn’t make this up. It’s right out of the fairytale tradition.

“I almost couldn’t believe it,” said Paredes. “It felt so good to be out there with Blaze (Soares) and RJ (Kiesel-Kauhane). But it couldn’t have happened without my mom and dad and my girlfriend and her family, and my friends.”

With all the problems in sports, it’s nice to chalk one up for the good guys.

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