Big Red Lockdown Continueth
Some defensive stats that didn’t make the deadline for Saturday’s print edition of the Star-Advertiser.
#91 DL Ezra Soli 5 tackles (1.5 sacks)
#7 DB Kawe Johnson 3 tackles, 1 FF, 1 INT-TD
#12 LB Rashaan Falemalu 1 tackle, 1 FF
#54 DL Siamau Mapu 2 FR
#17 LB Johnny Tapusoa 2 tackles (half sack), 2 FR, 1 FF
#42 DB Soli Afalava 3 tackles
#10 LB Matai Paselio 1 tackle
#6 DB Lasselle Thompson 1 INT
#5 LB Clifford Ramseyer 4 tackles, 1 FF (half sack)
#28 DB Devailo Galeai 2 tackles, 1 defl
#90 DL Lamone Williams 4 tackles (half sack)
#10 LB Mike Atuaia – 6 tackles
#47 DL Dakota Turner – 7 tackles
#55 LB Jacob Afele – 2 tackles (1 tfl)
#21 DB Bronson Kaleinamoku-Chun – 2 tackles
#99 DL Tamatoa Silva – 4 tackles (1 sack)
#44 DL/LB Mene Perese – 9 tackles (2 sacks)
#5 LB Dayton Furuta – 2 tackles (1 tfl)
Big Red, Big Red, Big Red…
In an era of run-and-shoot, spread formation offensive excess, there’s something special, almost eccentric about a program as sound and earthy as the one at Kahuku. How do you get a group of teenagers to buy into something as elemental and tough as hard-nosed, all-out hustling defense? There are no spectacular numbers associated with that side of the football. It’s not something a video-game hero lusts after. It’s all about chasing. Pursuit. Angles. Getting up after a clean whooping now and then and serving that dish right back at your frenemy.
And for the past three seasons, the Red Raiders have served up can after can after can of whoopass on the defensive end. That’s about as clear and definitive as it gets. They will chase you. Hound you. Cover your five-wide offense over every inch of the field. You may know where they line up in the secondary, but who’s this safety on the other side leaning in on the edge? Is he coming? What about the two guys plugging our regular draw hole?
Mililani thrived for almost the entire season with four- and five-wide sets. Jarin Morikawa’s numbers are bordering on astronomical — 2,889 passing yards and 31 touchdowns coming into the OIA Red title game. His patience, his precision, his craftsmanship makes him the Jiro Dreams of Sushi of Hawaii prep football. In the biggest game of the season — until next week’s state tourney — Kahuku limited Morikawa to 222 yards on 22-for-45 passing (three picks). That’s 4.93 yards per attempt, a minuscule number for any quarterback, but with Kahuku’s beastly pass rush — five sacks — Morikawa’s offensive line, his receivers, all the timing and elegance of coach Rod York’s phenomenal attack went on hiatus for one night.
There’s no other defense like Kahuku’s. That’s the only way the Trojans should look at it. They faced something that’s more than a good high school defense. They faced an organism. A lethal, carnivorous entity that has few flaws and a multitude of ways to destroy your schemes. Whatever effort and investment the state’s most potent offensive minds have put into their versions of the modern football offensive factory, Kahuku has matched it with defensive wizardry. Matched it and doubled down.
Anyway, obviously I’m in awe of what coach Reggie Torres, defensive coordinator Kimo Haiola and their staff have done on the North Shore. It makes watching an intricate, vicious defense almost fun to watch. Well, it is fun to watch. The secondary called themselves ‘Sharks’ last year, and you know how that animal has renewable blades of teeth, row after row that simply and efficiently tear anything apart. Some of this year’s Red Raiders — the linemen — call themselves ‘Animals.’
That’s saying something, because they’re not exactly on the lower end of the football food chain. If anything, they’re right there with sharks. Nobody has been able to resist these defensive masters. Waianae had a shot in the first round of the OIA Red playoffs, and Leilehua kept it very close last week.
But tonight’s 50-13 thrashing was simply unreal. Between the defensive prowess and the trickery on offense — including Aofaga Wily’s 6-yard jump pass to Lamone Williams — Wily’s amazing rushing feats almost became a secondary. He “only” carried the ball 19 times for 159 yards, less than half of his 41-carry effort last week.
Kahuku is seeded No. 1 in the upcoming state tourney. They earned it. And now things get a little more interesting as the Red Raiders start to open up the playbook.
The book is, my guess, simply red.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser