(Switches Gavin Kim from REC to RBs, Friday morning.)
I am still a bit stunned at the prolific numbers by running backs this season. We still don’t have the depth of massive producers of years — generations — past. Not with a slew of spread-based offenses and ball-control minded passers. But between Farrington and Anuenue alone we have at four backs with major numbers.
So the list continues to grow and I become less and less surprised by the week. Now, if Waianae can bring back the wishbone (not happening) and Waipahu QB Kaimi Paredes masters the triple option (very possible), we’ll have some truly throwback stats. Enough to stagger.
Here’s this week’s look, no particular order. Note: Only five yards separate the top two rushers, Kainalu Kaleo and Abraham Silva.
Kainalu Kaleo, Anuenue: He takes as many shots as any RB I’ve seen in more than 20 years of prep football coverage. Not necessarily head-on shots, but the stuff that wears down all running backs. That second guy coming in from the side for a crack to the hip. The big lineman falling on the pile, tweaking that knee. The ankle. But Kaleo (5-9, 191) gets up every time. He’s dealt with the punishing blows, but it would be unfair to expect him to replicate his numbers in the second half of the season. His body can only take so much. He had 84 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against Kaiser. To date: 70-859-9. He also has nine catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Note that he hasn’t broken the 100-yard mark since opening the season with three straight games above that.
Abraham Silva, Farrington: What more can be said about the senior and leading rusher in the state. With 206 yards and another touchdown against Moanalua, he now has this line: 90-854-11. That’s 9.5 yards per carry. His weekly lines: Waianae 28-223-2, Saint Louis 19-157-3, Castle 11-92-2, Kaimuki 10-176-3, Moanalua 22-206-1. The numbers would be even more mind-blowing if he hadn’t shared carries with Tyler Taumua. But the second half of the season will prove that having depth at RB is a huge blessing for both Silva and Taumua. I don’t expect the numbers for either to drop significantly.
Anuenue Tui, Anuenue: Hasn’t been often that a player attends a school that shares his name. In fact, I can’t think of a single one. I’m certain there’s been a kid named Kalani who played for Kalani. But Kaiser Iuta played for McKinley. Parker McLachlin golfed for Punahou, not Parker School (Big Island). Punahou Aina coached at Damien. A lot of Anthonys have attended St. Anthony. Same with Joes who went to St. Joseph.
Has there been a Lani who played for Makua Lani? Or a Kamakau who played for Samuel Kamakau? As for Tui, he didn’t play in the first half against Kaiser and still wound up with 71 yards on 12 attempts. To date: 68-463-3. Fantastic stats for the second go-to guy at Anuenue.
Adam Noga, Saint Louis: The junior has been stirring, to say the least, with seven touchdowns in four games. It’s safe to say Noga (5-10, 175) probably has the most runs of more than 50 yards in the state. To date: 74-539-7. The weeklies: Farrington 17-170-1, Baldwin 8-16-1, Bishop Gorman 20-201-2, ‘Iolani 29-152-3. As I wrote yesterday in Adding Machine 101: QBs, Ryder Kuhns’ touchdown pass total would clearly be higher if not for Noga’s amazing collection of breakaway touchdown runs. But Kuhns’ life in the pocket wouldn’t be as smooth or as safe without Noga providing that punch up the middle, or at least the threat of it. For me, the signature play was his 73-yard touchdown against national power Bishop Gorman. Right up the gut, then a break to the right sideline … and nobody touched him. Can’t teach that kind of vision and game speed.
Ishmil Scott, Moanalua: He’s never had more than 13 carries in a game this fall, and only once has he pulled in more than two passes in a contest. So that means he’s getting 10 to 17 touches per game, not counting special teams. At 5-11, 198 with speed, he’d probably be a feature running back in a different system. But on the plus side, he’s relatively fresh and injury-free going into the latter part of the season. To date: 56-364-3 with seven catches, 45 yards.
Aofaga Wily, Kahuku: Against eight, nine, even 10 in the box, Kahuku will keep running the ball. They don’t have their biggest O-line in history. But last year and this season are demonstrations in willpower and physical power. Wily (6-0, 202) was up to the challenge with 28 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown against a stubborn McKinley defense. To date: 64-473-7 in three games. No receptions. Yet.
Jacob Kukahiko, Kapolei: Bye last week means fresh legs this weekend. To date: 45-339-5. He also has one reception for 10 yards.
Kyle Sato, Damien: Had his first game of less than 81 rushing yards against Punahou (10-28-0). To date: 47-323-4.
Faaolaina Teofilo, Kamehameha-Hawaii: Sat out against Honokaa with an injury. Waiting on full stats, but that 189-yard, two-touchdown game against Waiakea still stands out. If he’s healthy and Shaun Kagawa is playing some offense, the Warriors might have the right recipe to beat Konawaena.
Kai Gonda, Kaiser: He’s an Ironman, no question. Three rushing TDs. One touchdown catch. One TD by punt return. A kickoff return to paydirt. A fumble return for a score. Last week, he added a touchdown pass. That’s SIX different ways he’s accounted for a touchdown. Plus playing DB. To date: 46-336-3, plus 12 catches for 112 yards.
Tyler Taumua, Farrington: He missed the opener (Waianae) and still managed to put up these numbers: 63-455-7. No receptions yet, but the twist this season (besides sharing the load with Amo Silva) is that he’ll occasionally line up as a slot, then go in motion as a fly as part of their misdirection package. At this rate, he and Silva are en route to 1,000-yard seasons. Of course, if he goes for 22-166-2 every week like he did against Moanalua on Saturday, they each could pass 1,200 yards. Which would be insane. Fueled by Bamboolas.
Willie Lynch, Kalaheo: After a 200-yard, four-TD game against Waialua, Lynch came back down to earth with an 18-94-1 against Radford. Still missing stats from the opener against Damien. I’ve got Lynch for 37-347-6, plus a 79-yard touchdown reception (against Kaiser).
Waika Alapai, Kauai: Folks on the Garden Island tell me he’s not at top shape yet, but the 6-2, 235-pound transfer from Kapaa is still an elite athlete. He had 131 yards on 22 carries (one touchdown) in the loss to Kapaa. I’m missing stats for the games against Waialua and Pac-Five, but in the other three games, he’s averaging 9.5 yards per carry.
John Kamoku, Konawaena: He’s a special athlete, a burner with few peers. He had a 69-yard touchdown run against ‘Iolani before leaving just two carries into the game. He’s got 297 yards and nine touchdowns on 27 carries. Two of his three receptions have been for touchdowns (64 yards, 56 yards). It’s difficult to understand how he gets only five to 15 touches per game, but there was the injury, then Karratti’s hot passing game, and then the blowout win over Ka‘u. Even with just 30 touches from scrimmage, I still consider him a gamebreaker on par with Adam Noga, Amo Silva, Tyler Taumua, Jeremy Tabuyo, Daicorri Briscoe, Dylan Pakau and a few others.
Jarrin Young, Kailua: Career-high 266 yards and four touchdowns against Kaimuki last week. Going more to the 5-7, 171-pound senior — he had a season-high 22 carries — could spark a turnaround for the Surfriders, who had been winless in four games before beating Kaimuki.
Paul-Andrew Rhoden, Campbell: The Sabers missed him immensely last week (concussion symptoms), falling behind 29-0 by halftime. Rhoden hasn’t been highly productive, his size (6-0, 210) and speed helps to keep defenses honest. To date: 43-189-1.
Lennox Jones, Kealakehe: The two best playmakers in BIIF Division I may be on the same team. Jones and QB Jordan Cristobal are making things happen by land and air. Jones to date: 41-311-1, plus 18 receptions for 245 yards and another TD. Jones had 230 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage against Waiakea.
Malaeloa Liua, Anuenue: After breaking out against Kalani (19-137), he managed 39 yards on 11 attempts against Kaiser. To date: 44-213-1.
Kodi Mento, ‘Iolani: Gets just enough handoffs to keep defenses a bit honest. Had 45 yards on 11 carries against Saint Louis. To date: 56-212-3. No receptions yet.
Matapua Tulafale, Waipahu: The Marauders get chunks of yardage through home run balls from Kaimi Paredes to Dylan Pakau, but the crux of the double-slot option is supposed to be the fullback dive. That’s why coach Eric Keola thought Tulafale might have a pretty big year. But Paredes took over at QB just a month ago, learning the system on the fly, and the triple option is not quite in full gear yet. Tulafale to date: 35-174-2.
Polikapu “P.J.” Liua, Kahuku: Talk about a bust-out game: 116 yards, two touchdowns on nine carries against McKinley. At some point, the Red Raiders might give Wily more rest time, which is fine with Liua (5-9, 222) at fullback and a promising tailback in sophomore Soli Afalava (6-1, 184).
Mana Kaahanui, Aiea: The 5-10, 210-pound junior had his biggest output (16-95-2) in last week’s win at No. 4 Leilehua. Kaahanui is having a solid season, and if his workload against Leilehua is an indication, he could be in for more carries. To date: 40-235-7.
Keoni Tom-MIllare, Pac-Five: After 32 carries (for 150 yards) against ‘Iolani, the senior had eight attempts for 39 yards against Kamehameha. He left the ‘Iolani game holding his shoulder, but it’s hard to say if it’s still a factor this weekend. The ‘Pack are making use of his hands; the former wide receiver has nine grabs for 92 yards and three touchdowns. Stats from the Pac-Five/Kauai game are missing, but in the other four games, he’s at 57-256-1.
Khade Paris, Nanakuli: A big part of the Golden Hawks’ turnaround this season. He had 106 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Kalani. Nanakuli-Kalaheo stats are missing, but the other three games are impressive enough: 41-230-5. Also three receptions (15 yards).
Gavin Kim, Kalani: The Gavin Kim renaissance continues. He’s now had solid back-to-back games (9-103-3 against Anuenue and 13-82-1 against Nanakuli). He also had five carries for 60 yards against the latter.
Also keeping an eye on these RBs (missing stats): Jared Rocha-Isalas, Semisi Fatongia, Tytus Lucas, Lahainaluna; Jairah Chun-Lai, Kamehameha-Hawaii; Bobby Lum, Hawaii Prep
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser