CLOSING THE BOOK: 2019 Kaimuki Bulldogs

Kaimuki's Kurt Kawamoto (33) celebrated with teammate Matt Williams after kicking the game-winning field goal against Roosevelt to win the OIA championship. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

2019 TEAM RECORD
>> 10-3 overall, 7-1 OIA Division II

HEAD COACH
>> David Tautofi is 37-19 in five seasons with the Bulldogs.

KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2019
>> QB Jayden Maiava, 6-4, 210, So.; WR/DB Koby Moananu, 6-0, 170, Jr.; WR/DB Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa, 5-6, 180, Jr.; OL/DL KJ Navarez 5-7, 214, So.


KAIMUKI THROUGH THE YEARS: 1944-2019

HISTORICAL EQUIVALENT: 2016 Punahou

Whether David Tautofi decides to stay or leave this offseason, he is already the winningest coach in 75 years of Bulldogs football.

Tautofi led the 2019 Kaimuki Bulldogs to a 10-3 record and spot in the state tournament, passing Lowell Cambra with his 37th victory when he beat Roosevelt for the OIA title. Tautofi is 37-19 in his five years at the helm while Cambra went 36-37-1 in eight seasons from 1978-85. The coach put together back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history and has never had a losing season.

Most important, Tautofi joins Clint Onigama and Darren Johnson as the only men to bring a league championship to the tiny school.

With sophomore Jayden Maiava as the triggerman, the Bulldogs put up 36.2 points per game this season, easily the highest in program history and five full points more than Clint Onigama‘s 2011 juggernaut. Maiava, who was the first quarterback in school history to exceed 3,000 passing yards in a season, made all of the difference as he gave Tautofi the ability to remake an offense that didn’t need an overhaul. The Bulldogs trusted Maiava to put the ball in the air 52 percent of the time compared to 37 percent the previous year with Jonah Fa’asoa under center. Kaimuki ran fewer offensive plays, but did more with them. The Bulldogs kind of had to squeeze more out of its offense since the defense allowed four more points per game than last year, 18.3 to 14.2, but still kept the number under 19 for the third straight year, the first time that has been done since Daniel Mafua and Darren Johnson‘s teams from 2006-08.


That added up to a stellar point differential of 17.9, making Kaimuki’s historical equivalent the ILH’s Punahou team in 2016 and the highest mark for the school since Onigama’s boys in 2011. Between Tautofi and Onigama, the program’s point differential has improved in each of the last seven years, an outstanding accomplishment that will be nearly impossible to improve upon unless Tautofi and Maiava return.

Maiava was a little slow to pick up the offense, but once he grabbed ahold of it he didn’t let go. His top yardage game came in one of his most inefficient performances, putting up 417 yards and four touchdowns against an outstanding Kaiser defense despite completing only 15 of 41 attempts. That yardage landed him at No. 2 on the school’s single-game passing list behind Fa’asoa’s 435 against a very different Kaiser squad in 2018. Maiava finished the year with five of the top 10 performances including Nos. 2, 3 and 4. He threw for 753 of his 3,317 yards in two games against Kaiser and closed with 16 touchdowns in his final four games, but he also threw half of his eight interceptions in that span. In the two years before Tautofi arrived on campus, Kaimuki’s top quarterback, Tevita Lino, never sniffed a 1,000-yard season. After Tautofi took over, the top Dawg from Kaenu Pratt to Maiava, has never failed to crack the barrier.

A big reason why Maiava was able to break all of the records he did was the presence of Naomas Asuega-Fualaau with him in the backfield. The feature back carried a heavy load with 231 carries, the most in Tautofi’s tenure, for 1,361 yards and 14 touchdowns. Asuega-Fualaau led Division II in rushing and was the only back in the division on Oahu to average more than 100 yards a game. He was almost an exact clone of Ieke Seei-Cleveland two years ago, and became the first Kaimuki back to break the 1,000-yard barrier since the bruiser. Asuega-Fualaau did do something Seei-Cleveland never approached, though, breaking the century mark in a program-record nine games, breaking the school record of seven by Justin Paderes and Chester Sua. He broke the barrier in six straight games before being collared by Kapaa, surpassing Nifo Sane‘s record of five in 1995. Asuega-Fualaau enjoyed his best game against McKinley with 159 yards and three touchdowns on only 15 carries but found the end zone tough to reach after that, failing to score in the playoffs and states despite 73 carries in three contests. Maiava had his share of success running the football, covering 242 yards with five touchdowns on 54 carries including sacks, but the bulk of those numbers came against McKinley. Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa stepped in for Asuega-Fualaau against Nanakuli and covered 52 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown, but he received only nine carries in the two games after that and didn’t tote the ball once in the next six games even with Asuega-Fualaau seeming to wear down.

Koby Moananu was the star of a stellar receiving corps for Maiava, totaling 1,166 yards on 64 catches with 21 touchdowns. His 21 celebrations were more than the leading receiver in the previous four years combined. Moananu was nothing short of outstanding, scoring a touchdown in every game except one (against Nanakuli when the Bulldogs almost strictly ran the ball) and went over the century mark four times to break a school record held by Justin Faimealelei in 2000.

Moananu went off for eight catches for 156 yards in the first meeting against Kaiser and then bettered it with eight more catches for 203 yards and three touchdowns in the playoff rematch. Both efforts landed Moananu on Kaiser’s single-game receiving list, the second one putting him at the top and breaking his own record of 185 against Kaiser in 2018. Moananu wasn’t alone in lighting up scoreboards, as Kaulana Kaluna scored nine times and gained 795 yards on 51 catches, a reception total that would have led any of Tautofi’s other teams. Like Moananu, Kaluna didn’t miss a contest and enjoyed his best performances with five catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns against a stout Waialua defense and 10-116-2 line against Kapaa before putting his cleats in the closet. Fa’asoa took one for the team when Maiava arrived, moving from quarterback after a 2,044-yard, 14-touchdown season to play tight end. He got into his new role gradually, but provided a serious threat late in the season capped by seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in the state loss to Kapaa. Asuega-Fualaau was also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield with 27 catches, two of them for touchdowns, and Matt Williams and Sione Tafua also provided more than one score.

Tautofi might be out the door and whispers say Maiava will follow him (although nothing has been decided), adding up to a lot of question marks for a program that fell short of a state title and will lose talents like Asuega-Fualaau, Kaluna, Williams and Fa’asoa to graduation. That would leave Moananu and Pfeiffer-Kekoa to pick up the pieces. Maiava was the only quarterback on the roster this year and Asuega-Fualaau was the only listed running back. If the Bulldogs can get a turnout big enough to resist the temptation to use outstanding sophomores KJ Navares and Taufua on offense, the defense should improve drastically especially if Moananu can go both ways.


Kaimuki’s Kaulana Kaluna Jr. (4) celebrated after scoring a touchdown against Pac-Five. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

2019 TEAM STATS

PASSINGGC-A-IYdsTD
Jayden Maiava13202-361-83,31741
Koby Moananu133-3-0501
Jonah Fa'asoa121-1-0160
Phillip Phomphakdy30-1-000
RUSHINGGAttYdsTD
Naomus Ausega-Fualaau122311,36114
Jayden Maiava13542425
Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa8301611
Sione Tafua45520
KJ Navarez66350
Koby Moananu132270
Avin Tanioka43170
Kaulana Kaluna13221
Jonah Fa'asoa12210
Phillip Phomphakdy32-40
TEAM134-210
RECEIVINGGRecYdsTD
Koby Moananu13641,16621
Kaulana Kaluna13517959
Jonah Fa'asoa12355764
Naomus Ausega-Fualaau12273632
Matt Williams361562
Sione Tafua451282
Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa87920
Niko Eason44590
Avin Tanioka52170
Noah Spencer22150
Jayden Maiava131121
KJ Navarez6110
Kaimuki celebrated a 33-17 win over Kaiser in the semifinals of the OIA playoffs. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Naomas Asuega-Fualaau (1) fought off two Roosevelt defenders during the OIA title game. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Ricky Wells Jr. (78) provided cover to the front of Naomas Asuega-Fualaau, hidden behind him, during the first half of a regular season game against Roosevelt. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Jayden Maiava (7) got loose for a gain against Pac-Five. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Koby Moananu (8) caught a touchdown pass despite tough defense from Kaiser’s Josh Okamoto during the second quarter of a playoff game. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa (22) leaped into the crowd after winning an OIA title. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Naomas Asuega-Fualaau (1) bowled his way through the Pac-Five defense to pick up yards. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

COMMENTS

  1. Crusaidette December 5, 2019 10:29 am

    My kinda Coach!


  2. Terrance B December 5, 2019 2:15 pm

    I know Coach David since I lived in Vegas and for as long as I’ve known him, he has never spoke about much of any of his accomplishments in life. This speaks volumes about him not only as a person but a coach. Proof is in the putting right here. Imagine if he had the tools like the bigger schools like Kapolei or Farrington. He was the coach of the year unanimously this season. Ain’t no guessing why anymore. He’s among the top if not the best coach out there hands down. Hope he comes back not only for the sake of the community, but the sake of our state and high school football. He’s passed up a ton in the past and I know he’s got a lot going for him on mainland. We need him here in Hawaii just as much.


  3. ??? December 5, 2019 6:09 pm

    Other schools that want to win like Farrington & Kapolei should hire Tautofi because he brings out the best in all his players. I don’t think he has ever had a team of more than 30 players in one year but always won & competed.
    Jayden Maiava to Mililani would be scary good!


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