Boise State-bound Kaonohi Kaniho of Kahuku takes a familial route

Kahuku defensive back Kaonohi Kaniho will play in a state final for the third time in four years. Photo by Andrew Lee/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Kaonohi Kaniho is preparing for the final game of his high school career. He and his Kahuku Red Raiders teammates have Saint Louis left on the schedule on Black Friday.

It’s the Open Division final of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships — otherwise known as the BIG ONE — and the North Shore boys are going in as major underdogs.

“To win, we need to dominate all three phases of the game,” said Kaniho, a four-year starter at cornerback.

The Crusaders (11-0) have won 37 games in a row and are No. 6 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings.

Next fall, Kaniho will be suiting up for Boise State, where his brother Kekaula Kaniho — a former Kahuku standout cornerback — is a junior starting nickel back.

Kaniho is constantly learning more about the game, whether he’s getting information from his dad, Jarrett, Kahuku head coach Sterling Carvalho, the coaches at Boise State when he went on his official visit, or from one of the Kahuku defensive backs coaches like Keala Santiago.

“They are both great athletes and students of the game and you can tell that they’re students of the game,” Carvalho said about Kaonohi and Kekaula.

Added Kaonohi: “My dad’s big teaching point is that if teams throw away from me, I can’t take a play off. If they go toward me, I’ve gotta make the play. Always play like they’re coming at me.”

On Santiago — who is a former Kahuku star safety — Kaniho said, “Through my four years, he has taught me how to be a better person and to always work hard. Don’t take any days off and outwork everyone who you’re competing with.”

Kaniho has learned valuable lessons in other areas of life as well. He and his girlfriend Raita are the parents of a 10-month-old girl, Teavana.

“He now has to work twice as hard as a student and a football player and a dad,” Carvalho said. “How successful he’s been shows what type of man he is.”

And then there’s the time when Kaniho and some other team leaders caused a bit of trouble during summer camp and paid the price.

“We had to bear crawl the upper field at night for about an hour,” he said. “We learned our lesson.”

According to Carvalho, the offenders threw some food on the floor, knowing it wasn’t their turn to clean up.

“It’s tough to do a half-mile bear crawl,” the coach said. “It shows the discipline we expect from the kids and the integrity of the program that we will not compromise. The integrity has got to be intact — from the starters to the last string. We are one program, top to bottom.”



  1. ??? November 26, 2019 9:01 am

    He’s getting 2 Picks in the championship game!
    Please throw at him De Laura.

  2. 9 | 6 | 7 | 6 | 2 November 26, 2019 9:09 am

    St Louis not stupid. They going avoid this boy like the plague. Lock him up with Sykes so the defense can focus on Wilson & Nishigaya. Go Red Raiders!

  3. CrusaderDad November 26, 2019 12:53 pm

    Looking forward to the big game!

  4. HiH8er November 26, 2019 12:55 pm

    Only thing about St Louis Playing Kahuku .

  5. Good Story November 26, 2019 1:37 pm

    Heaweko!!! GO BIG RED!!!

  6. Hau’ulaBoy November 26, 2019 7:19 pm


    The most irritating thing is all the bandwagon haters that show up every time we in the big game.

  7. Hau’ulaBoy November 26, 2019 7:22 pm

    Go cheer for your team and learn to keep quiet.

  8. BTF November 27, 2019 3:00 am

    What a bad article this young man is one of the best players in the state a 4 year starter plays DB and WR returns kicks you could of wrote for days what he’s achieved both on and off the field ….. Bear crawls are you serious !

  9. RedRooted November 27, 2019 4:56 am

    GO BIG RED..Good Luck Boys..
    It’s the Little Public School Out in the country doing Big things…
    Let’s do this…RRFL

  10. Hanahou November 27, 2019 7:52 am

    no matter who lines on him, the saint louis recievers running right by em. Remember now , they not playing mililani, kapolei , waianae, etc…. you get my drift. they are playing the SAINT LOUIS CRUSADERS.
    Saint Louis is going to pass it down kahuku’s pipes.

  11. rrforlifebaby November 27, 2019 8:18 am

    Go get’em boys and HIT SOMEBODY!! WIN or lose, we love you all…even the coaches(sometimes…lol)!

  12. ILoveHawaii November 27, 2019 3:17 pm

    Ok, who put the flag up on the St. Louis gym??

    You funny guyyyzzzzz.

    Respect on the prank. Not sure if it was the brightest idea but props to you.

  13. Lou November 28, 2019 7:55 am

    The article about a RR player and the Brotherhood is all over these pages. Unreal. Good luck to the Kaniho family. I remember this boys great grandfather roaming the North Shore as a old school cop. Tough people out that side.

  14. Team Hawaii November 28, 2019 3:09 pm

    It was great watching Kaonohi Kaniho all these 4 years…

    Seen him playing as a Freshman against Bishop Gorman in 2016. No fear.

    Best of luck to you on Friday and in college!

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