CLOSING THE BOOK: 2019 Kamehameha Warriors

Kamehameha's Harrison Donato (33) celebrated with teammate Kiai Keone (8) after intercepting a pass and scoring a touchdown against Fagaitua (Samoa). Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

2019 TEAM RECORD
>> 3-7 Overall, 2-6 ILH Open Division

HEAD COACH
>> Abu Ma’afala is 14-24 in four seasons as Warriors coach.

KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2019
>> QB Jonah Yuen, 6-0, Jr.; RB Kawika Clemente, 5-9, Jr.; RB Andrew-Lee Smith, 5-8, Jr.; OL/DL Kuao Peihopa, 6-3, Jr.; OLB Dayne Maeva, 5-11, Jr.


KAMEHAMEHA THROUGH THE YEARS: 1973-2019

HISTORICAL EQUIVALENT: 1996 Damien

After two years in the OIA-ILH football alliance’s Open Division, the Kamehameha Warriors are still struggling to find their way.

Kamehameha’s struggles continued in 2019, losing seven games for the first time since Blaine Gaison‘s unlucky 1992 crew. Kamehameha was outscored by an average of 11.6 points per game for Abu Ma’afala‘s worst mark since taking over for Doug Cosbie in 2016. It’s the fourth straight year Kamehameha has given up more points than it has scored. That drought is the program’s longest since 1987-90 under three different coaches.

Ma’afala’s Warriors struggled mightily to score points, averaging just 15.3 for the program’s lowest since Gaison’s defense-heavy collection in 1991. The defense yielded four points per game more than it did in 2018 at 26.9, pretty much right in line with Ma’afala’s three previous units but a step back after three years of improvement.

Kamehameha remained a run-first offense but loosened it up a tiny bit to throw on 48 percent of its snaps after 46 percent in 2018.

The Warriors tried something a little different this year with two quarterbacks. Kiai Keone, who split time with Christmas Togiai last year, started the season with a nightmare of a performance at Kahuku, completing seven passes to Warriors and five to Red Raiders. Keone, to his credit, improved as the season went on capped by an efficient performance against Farrington, but was shut down after Week 7. Jonah Yuen took over for the final three games and exceeded 180 yards in all three to finish as the team’s leading passer despite 33 fewer attempts. That gave Kamehameha’s passing leader its smallest yardage number since Michael Hoke took the quarterback job midway through his junior season in 2006. 


Kamehameha was going to stay balanced no matter how well the quarterbacks performed because Kawika Clemente needed to be fed. Clemente only had 450 yards and four touchdowns on 98 carries, the fewest yards for the lead dog since Jordan Baduyen was limited to a 67-380 line in Cosbie’s final year.

Clemente had his best performance in the opener at Kahuku, covering 143 yards and scoring twice to make it seem like Ma’afala would have a running back score more than four times for the first time in his four years at the helm. It didn’t materialize, however, as Clemente scored only twice the rest of the way and saw his attempts drop drastically after his third game. Clemente didn’t miss a contest all year but only received more than 10 carries once more. State hurdles champion Tanner Moku gobbled up the carries Clemente left on the table after returning from an injury. He capped his season with 16 carries for 111 yards in the closer against Punahou. Andrew Lee-Smith also got some run in the backfield, carrying the ball 55 times for 119 yards and a touchdown while not missing a game. That adds up to 2.2 yards per carry while actually getting more carries than Clemente over the final month. Clemente’s yards per carry was 4.24 over that span while Moku’s was an outstanding 6.1.

Clemente’s role in the passing game expanded as soon as his role in the running game was diminished, teaming with Moku to provide an instant game-breaking threat. Blaze Kamoku didn’t have a catch in the first two games but developed into the team’s leading receiver with 23 catches for 365 yards and a touchdown. He was shut out of the end zone after Week 3 but hit the century mark on six catches against Campbell and nearly did the same against Waianae.

Still, he had the fewest yards for the leading receiver since Kaulana Werner went 24-316 in 2013’s extremely run-heavy season. Kamoku had plenty of help in running mates Kahekili Pahio (22-224) and Kalanikuikahi Lorenzo (22-151). For as good as Kamoku was at times, there was nothing that hurt Kamehameha’s offense more than Skyler Ramos being held to nine catches for 78 yards in just three games.

Ramos led Kamehameha in receiving the past two years and could have made it three but got hurt during the season. Kamehameha had an incredible 19 different players catch passes this year and more than 30 in the last two seasons combined.

That varsity experience bodes well for next year with both quarterbacks returning but the Warriors will take a lot of hits to graduation in Ramos, Moku, Edward Correa and defensive player of the year candidate Ezra Evaimalo. Clemente’s speed will return and Kamoku was only a sophomore and is on a similar path as Ramos. 


Kamehameha running back Kawika Clemente (15) led the Warriors in rushing touchdowns. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

2019 TEAM STATS

PASSINGGC-A-IYdsTD
Jonah Yuen759-120-77655
Kiai Keone785-153-116651
RUSHINGGAttYdsTD
Kawika Clemente10984504
Tanner Moku7492751
Andrew Lee-Smith10551191
Noah Bartley13140
Wrx Kimura4220
Skyler Ramos3200
Keaton Downing22-20
Jonah Yuen725-90
Kiai Keone756-510
TEAM107-1180
RECEIVINGGRecYdsTD
Blaze Kamoku8233651
Kahekili Pahio9222240
Kawika Clemente10171791
Kalanikuikahi Lorenzo7221512
Tanner Moku711971
Edward Correa58940
Skyler Ramos39780
Shiloh Louis-Kaneakua46440
Kalei Takahashi23370
Isaiah Shizuru34310
Andrew Lee-Smith102290
Micah Park44190
Harrison Donato12170
Titus Maunakea12161
Kainoa Doctor22160
Wrx Kimura44140
Lindsey Cadang11110
Noah Bartley1180
Denzel Unutoa1100
Kahuku running back Zealand Matagi (26) was dropped immediately by Kamehameha’s Ezra Evaimalo (43). Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kamehameha running back Tanner Moku (7) dove for yardage against Punahou. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kamehameha’s Kawika Clemente caught a short pass and took it for a TD against Farrington. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.
Kamehameha running back Tanner Moku (7) celebrated with teammate Blaze Kamoku after his touchdown against Punahou. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kamehameha quarterback Kiai Keone (8) split time at the position with Jonah Yuen this year. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kamehameha’s Kahekili Pahio (9) got past Kahuku linebacker Lokana Enos (45). Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

COMMENTS

  1. ??? November 10, 2019 1:24 pm

    With all that money that Kamehameha has, they should try to hire June Jones or Ron Lee..
    If not, they will continue to be the 3rd best ILH Open division team!


  2. Misti Turner November 10, 2019 4:07 pm

    MVP is WR Blaze!


  3. Falcon Future November 11, 2019 8:08 am

    Is there any truth to the rumor that Kamehameha will have to drop down to D1 next year and Damien to D2? This was being whispered because of the Pac-5 situation this year.


  4. ILH November 11, 2019 10:37 am

    Ron Lee will not be a head coach, June Jones will coach at Saint Louis when Cal Lee retires at Saint Louis, that’s the rumor.


  5. Kalaniʻōpuʻu-a-Kaiamamao November 11, 2019 1:33 pm

    No one on that offense should be MVP…not when the defense scored more points than the offense.


  6. ??? November 13, 2019 5:09 am

    If June Jones takes that STL job he will will be known as the Kevin Durant of HS Football. Lol….


  7. Lonn Kalama November 14, 2019 2:36 pm

    As a former alumni it has been extremely difficult to watch this years offensive unit for the warriors. I can’t think of a season where the offensive production was this low. Bottom line accountability falls on the head coach and his offensive coordinator or (coordinators). At what point is change needed for the sake of the program. It doesn’t take a genius nor football guru to see that the offense was simply non-existent. Let’s all hope for the best…..sometimes change can be a good thing!!


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