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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Damien Memorial (Honolulu): Kama Bailey

The Damien running back is 1-yard short of 1,000 after only five games

KAMA Bailey might remind some people of his predecessor, but make no mistake -- the Monarchs' senior running back possesses a style all his own.

It's not quite a power game or a finesse approach, but one that allows Bailey, at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, to make a cut -- or three -- and yet bleed off contact effortlessly.

Combining an innate ability to sense defenders coming from the usual blind spots and formidable leg strength, Bailey is both elusive and tough to bring down when he does get hit, drawing comparisons to his forerunner and 2005 Star-Bulletin Offensive Player of the Year, Kealoha Pilares.

The production is similar, at least. Through five games, Bailey has 999 yards on 84 carries, for a ridiculous 11.89 yards-per-carry average and nine touchdowns for the 2-2-1 Monarchs.

Pilares, now a key cog in the University of Hawaii football team's running game, topped 1,900 yards with 23 touchdowns his senior year.

"People say we are similar with each other," Bailey said. "But he runs a lot faster than me, he's a lot shiftier."

He admitted with a grin he learned some of his best techniques -- such as trying to limit himself to a single lateral cut before turning upfield -- from observing Pilares tear up all comers his senior year.

That made Pilares laugh. The UH back recalled that his understudy, as just a sophomore, was already a star in the making.

"He has his own style, but it's kind of like mine because everybody would get it mixed up between me and him," Pilares said. "I kind of knew he was going to be a good player from when I was there. He had all the right traits, the vision."

Bailey's teammates will tell you he's not opposed to some old-fashioned, smash-mouth football, either.

Continue at Honolulu Star Bulletin

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