Considering his workload over the previous three hours, Andrew Kaufusi looked remarkably fresh as he headed toward the bus awaiting the Kaiser football team just outside John E. Velasco Stadium on Friday night.
Kaufusi didn’t have much downtime in his return from an injury while contributing in all three phases in the Cougars’ 34-7 OIA Blue win over Radford.
He scored the game’s first touchdown on a 65-yard reception when Kaiser executed a double pass with Lincoln Lima catching a lateral before launching a deep ball to Kaufusi. After the Cougars committed two turnovers and squandered a takeaway at the Radford 2, Kaufusi lined up at running back and stretched the lead to 13-0 with a punishing run just before halftime.
Listed as a strong safety on defense, Kaufusi had a sack, tipped a pass a the line of scrimmage and batted down another in the end zone in the first half
He then contributed to a scoring outburst by the Kaiser defense with the second of the Cougars’ three interception returns for touchdowns in the third quarter.
He finished the night with three receptions for 111 yards and six rushing attempts for 14 yards. He also attempted two passes in a turn at quarterback, returned a punt 36 yards while also handling punting duties and attempted a field goal (which came up short) in the second quarter.
“Everything I do is all based on my team,” Kaufusi said. “I couldn’t have done it without the coaches and the team and the support. It’s exhausting at times but I just gotta do it for them.
“My conditioning is fine. The only thing is it’s a different kind of conditioning to do all of that.”
Kaufusi’s performance was reminiscent of Nic Tom’s do-it-all night against Waipahu last season, when he scored in all three phases.
With 32 players on the roster, two-way players certainly aren’t uncommon for the Cougars.
Micah Mashima had three receptions on offense, returned an interception 41 yards on the third play of the third quarter and nearly had two more picks later in the second half.
Keoni Pangan, who entered the game with three receiving touchdowns, added another on defense when he intercepted a tipped pass in the end zone and raced the length of the field for a 100-yard return.
“You can see we throw a lot of guys in there every play to just to find some rest,” Kaiser coach Arnold Martinez said. “We have to be creative that way.
“Give those kids credit, when they listen and pay attention during the week and the game planning we have enough athletes to compete. The depth is an issue because we get tired but the guys are able to compete and they’re athletic and they can make plays. But it’s all about when they play together they do a good job. Proud of the guys.”
The Cougars face a physical challenge when they cross the island to face Waianae on Sept. 2.