Here’s a look at the running backs, statistics of some, not all, up to week 4. This is in no particular order.
Abraham Silva, Farrington: It would seem like a fairy tale, Amo’s sudden rise to prominence, if not for this — fans and coaches alike saw flashes of brilliance from him last year as a backup running back. With a 10-carry, 176-yard, three-touchdown performance against Kaimuki, Silva is now at 68-648-10 after four games. That’s 162 yards per game at 9.5 yards a crack. Silva does it between the tackles, can bounce outside, and gets a ton of gains after initial contact. Between Silva (5-10, 212) and teammate Tyler Taumua (5-10, 202), it’s almost unfair to defensive units that already have to contend with the “Bamboolas” front five. Silva’s fantasy-league like numbers can continue even if defenses adjust. Farrington has interesting wrinkles in the playbook — demonstrated against Saint Louis — that have Taumua lined up in the slot, then going in motion as a fly man. Stay tuned.
Tyler Taumua, Farrington: Turns out there’s plenty of footballs to go around for the unbeaten Governors. Taumua had 13 carries for 115 yards and three touchdowns against Kaimuki, cracking the century mark for the first time since returning from injury for the Saint Louis game. The senior is at 41-289-5 to date, 96.3 yards per game, just over 7 yards a carry.
Aofaga Wily, Kahuku: After the win over Punahou three weeks ago, ‘Faga said he wasn’t at full strength yet. But with 225 yards and three touchdowns against the Buffanblu, and 121 yards and three more scores against Kailua, he is simply magnificent, even behind a fairly inexperienced offensive line. He does have all-state lineman John Wa‘a in the trenches, though. It’s astounding, even after all these years, that Kahuku can pile up yardage and points via the ground attack. Kahuku hasn’t established a premier passing game this season, or in most seasons, and defenses still can’t stop Wily. So what happens if and when the Red Raiders develop the aerial attack? Anyway … Wily’s stats: 36-346-6. That’s 173 yards per game, 9.6 per carry.
Kainalu Kaleo, Anuenue: Kalani’s defense became the first to limit the 5-9, 191-pound senior to less than 100 yards. Kaleo finished with 57 yards on nine carries (one touchdown), but Na Koa put him to good use, finding him for three receptions, 61 yards and two touchdowns. With 775 yards, he still leads all rushers statewide, but the tendencies of his job as a fullback mean his touches are determined by what defenses do. With Kalani clogging the interior, Anuenue’s other running backs — the wingbacks — had huge games. Stats to date: 52-775-8. That’s still a whopping 193.8 yards per game, 14.9 yards per carry. WOW.
Faaolaina Teofilo, Kamehameha-Hawaii: I’m missing his stats against Waiakea, but his numbers in two other games are impressive — nine carries for 103 yards against Anuenue, and 26 carries for 189 yards against Keaau, with three touchdowns combined. He’s a rugby player who is playing high school football for the first time, a transfer from Waiakea.
Anuenue Tui, Anuenue: The perimeter is opening up for Tui in Na Koa’s double-wing offense. The Roosevelt transfer rambled for 301 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games, and his season total has taken a boost: 56-392-3.
Kai Gonda, Kaiser: He’s all over the field whether it’s offense, defense or special teams. The senior transfer from Kailua had 83 yards on four carries and two catches for 29 yards and a touchdown against Roosevelt. In other words, Gonda may be the first player this season to score by rushing, receiving, punt return and kickoff return. His offensive numbers: 38-289-1 rushing, 11-102-1 receiving.
Adam Noga, Saint Louis: The thing that amazes me about Noga, a 5-10, 175-pound junior, isn’t his outrageous numbers. (Those would be 170 yards on 17 carries against Farrington, 201 yards on 20 attempts against national powerhouse Bishop Gorman.) It’s that he still has incredible burst midway through a game, late in a game. He ripped off touchdown sprints of 73 and 27 yards against Bishop Gorman, the 11th-ranked team in the nation. He did it against, basically, a prevent defense. Noga’s stats to date: 45-387-4. That’s 129 yards per game, 8.6 yards per carry. It’s early, but this begs the question: Which three running backs will land on the All-State first team?
In recent years, RBs have gotten less touches as a whole as passing offense became the preference of coaches. But now we seem to have a glut of talent — productive talent — at the top here.
Jarrin Young, Kailua: He had 11 carries for 68 yards and scored Kailua’s lone touchdown against that tough Kahuku defense. In the “old” Kailua offense, the I-formation, he’d probably the featured tailback getting 20-25 carries a game. But the year is still young and I can see him getting 20-plus touches every game. For now, it’s a consistent 11-14 carries. Maybe the Surfriders go to him via the air a little more. His stats to date: 39-201-3 (67 yards per game, 5.2 yards per carry). He has two receptions for two yards so far.
John Kamoku, Konawaena: Possibly the best breakaway threat in the state. I saw him stand in the pistol last year when he was at Kealakehe, and his breakaway touchdown run against a fast Leilehua defense blew me away. At Konawaena, he has bounced back from an early elbow injury and gradually finding his niche in an explosive attack that already features a prolific passer and two superb receivers. Kamoku had 12 carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns rushing against Honokaa, and two catches for 79 yards for two more scores. His stats to date: 23-207-6, or 9 yards per attempt.
Kody Mento, ‘Iolani: His workload has lessened, but his value as a pass blocker in the pocket is still key. Stats to date: 45-167-3.
Paul-Andrew Rhoden, Campbell: I wasn’t at the game against Waipahu, so I don’t know if he got hurt or simply became a valued blocker against the Marauders’ intense pass rush. He had four carries for 19 yards, no touchdowns in the win. At 6-0, 210, he has a history — particularly in the JV ranks a couple of years ago — of being a productive runner against the best defenses. To date: 43-189-1, plus 10 receptions (37 yards).
Matapua Tulafale, Waipahu: With quarterback Kaimi Paredes making big plays through the air, Waipahu hasn’t needed a whole lot of grind-it-out play on the ground. Tulafale (5-10, 195) hasn’t had a big workload. Yet. To date: 29-127-2. He had two catches against Campbell, his first two grabs of the season.
Ryan Tuiasoa, Punahou: The 6-foot, 214-pound senior had a major impact in the win over Kamehameha with 146 rushing yards (two touchdowns) and two catches for 56 yards (two touchdowns). Those swing route catches were especially inspiring. Is there a college out there that can put a fullback with good hands and speed to work? To date: 51-248-3. That’s nearly 83 yards per game rushing, 4.9 yards per carry.
Ishmil Scott, Moanalua: He’s got acceleration and comes up with big gains, but an interesting tidbit about the 5-11, 198-pound junior is his carry totals through four games — 13, 11, 11, 12. Almost as if it was by design. He had 12 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown against Castle. To date: 47-353-3. He had six catches in the losses to Mililani and Waianae and none in the past two games (both victories).
Jacob Kukahiko, Kapolei: After cracking the century mark against Waipahu, he gained 102 yards on just 12 attempts (one touchdown) against Waianae. At 5-11, 210, he’s another of the bigger backs we’ve seen more of this season. Stats to date: 45-339-5. Just one reception so far.
Kyle Sato, Damien: The Monarchs had a bye last week, but his stats still pop out: 37-295-4. That’s 98 yards per game, nearly 8 yards per carry. Big test this weekend: Punahou.
Lennox Jones, Kealakehe: After a 97-yard game in a season-opening win at Kailua, he’s been somewhat quiet on the ground with a combined 84 yards. But through the air, he’s picked it up. He had seven receptions for 110 yards in a win over El Capitan (Calif.), and his 12 receptions (total) rank near the top statewide among running backs. In fact, the stats I’ve compiled show he’s at the very top.
Malaeloa Liua, Anuenue: LIke Anuenue Tui, Liua benefitted from the misdirection of their double-wing offense — and Kalani’s focus on the interior. He had 137 yards on 19 carries.
Willie Lynch, Kalaheo: There are missing statistics of Kalaheo’s games against Damien and Kaiser, but I think it’s safe to say that Lynch’s 200-yard, four-touchdown game against Waialua was his career best.
Christian Johnston, Kalaheo: Missing stats against Damien are a bummer. It appears he didn’t play against Waialua. But in the numbers I do have, he was solid with 141 yards against Kaiser and 102 against Nanakuli.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser