Hawaii Prep World will be releasing summer previews of all 29 Oahu varsity football teams in advance of the 2017 season that kicks off in early August.
15TH IN A SERIES
ST. FRANCIS SAINTS
>> 2016 record and finish: 5-3 (3-1 ILH D-II); beat Pac-Five 30-0 in first round of the ILH D-II playoffs, lost 20-12 to Damien in ILH D-II championship game
>> Number of returning starters: 7 offense, 4 defense
>> Number of returning seniors: 12
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 4 offense, 7 defense
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 16
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: None
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: Wembley Mailei, third-team utility
>> Among 2017 key offensive returnees: Bubba Akana, Jr., QB; Scotty McLeod, Sr., WR; Makana Poole, Jr., TE; Tyson Shimabukuro, Jr., RB; Milton Haliniak, Jr., C; Siatome Haunga, G; Fia Mafua, Sr., G
>> Among 2017 key defensive returnees: Taka Lautaha, Sr., DE; Sam Kaleikau, Sr., LB; JJ Paaluhi-Caulk, Jr., CB; Wembley Mailei, 12, S
>> Saints with Division I FBS college offers: Taka Lautaha, DE/LB
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time ILH championships: None
>> 2017 conference: ILH D-II
>> 2017 state tournament declaration: D-I
Head coach KIP AKANA on the Saints’ outlook for 2017:
“Every year our goal is to win the ILH tournament. We were short of that last year and weren’t satisfied. We’re in our third year (as a coaching staff). After winning four games the first year, we improved on that last year (five wins) and this year we want to take that final step and capture that big championship.
“We have about 40 on the varsity with about 35 to 40 on the intermediate team. Last year, the main thorn in our side was the inability to play all four quarters, putting together a complete game. When we were able to play complete games, we came out victorious. That’s the main focus. Play every play, every series, every quarter. Win the play right in front of us, win the series, win the quarter and at the end of game, look at scoreboard and see the result. And you can play a perfect game and still not come out ahead. But that’s our focus, play each play and live with the results.
“Last year, we had some mental lapses, penalties and some discipline issues that really held us back. A couple of mental errors and turnovers are a bad recipe and that’s what we can attribute our losses to.
“This team is ready, based on the senior leadership we have this year. It’s an opportunity for the seniors to learn from last year’s team, how to be leaders, what’s needed to win a league championship. The ILH (D-II schedule) is very competitive. Anyone can win on any day. Just showing up ready to play the game isn’t enough. It starts with the first whistle on Monday. They understand that, and they understand the sense of urgency. They look around and see the talent. They had the privilege of watching last year’s seniors and now they’re ready to go.
“My view on the divisions as far as Open, D-I or D-II, the Division I teams and the D-II teams are very talented, but it’s the numbers and depth that holds teams back and keeps us from competing with the big boys in the state. Each team can put out a terrific first group, maybe (a second team), and that’s usually sufficient to get you through a game. With that being said, competition in the “lower levels” is an outstanding brand of football. That Radford Division II team of a couple of years ago had outstanding talent across the board and a bunch of guys went on to play D-I.
“Here at St. Francis, that’s the type of talent we have. What really holds us back is depth. We’re grateful for these divisions. It allows us to compete on the field with teams in similar circumstances and it makes for great football.”
2017 St. Francis football schedule
Subject to change. Click here for the latest schedule updates.
Note: The ILH regular-season schedule was not out at the time this post was published.
Friday, July 28
St. Francis at Campbell (scrimmage)
Wednesday, Aug. 2
St. Francis at Kaimuki (scrimmage)
Saturday, Aug. 5
St. Francis at Leilehua (nonleague)
Saturday, Aug. 12
Kauai vs. St. Francis, at Kaiser High field (nonleague)
Saturday, Aug. 19
St. Francis at Konawaena (nonleague)
2016 St. Francis varsity football staff
>> Head coach: Kip Akana (9-7, third season)
>> Offensive coordinator: Joseph Kekahuna IV
>> Defensive coordinator and linebackers: Larry Luis
>> Quarterbacks: Andrew Kamanao
>> Running backs: Francis Sua and Bronson Kekahuna
>> Wide receivers: Layton Kaleikau
>> Wide receivers and special teams: Sean Ribeiro
>> Offensive line: Peter Haliniak III and Kaniala Neves
>> Defensive backs: Kekoa Paaluhi and Moku Huihui
>> Defensive line: Fia Mafua
>> Equipment manager: Byron Cuban
>> Support staff: Vini Haunga and Shane Pau
>> Team managers: Pieper Sardinha and Sugar Bendar
>> Program manager: Charene Haliniak