CLOSING THE BOOK: 2019 Pac-Five Wolfpack

Pac-Five coach Kip Botelho guided the Wolfpack to a 6-3 record in 2019, their most wins in a decade, but they had no chance at playing in the state tournament. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

>> 6-3 overall, 6-3 ILH Division II

>> Kip Botelho is 50-102-1 in 16 seasons with the Wolfpack

>> WR Angelo Coluccio, 6-1, 165, Jr.; QB Chase Hedani, 5-11, 165, Jr.; LB Dane Ishibashi, 5-7, 170, Jr.; WR Kaala Tam, 6-0, 175, Jr.; RB Micah Kong, 5-9, 170, Jr.



After being told before the season started that they would not be playing for a title, the Pac-Five Wolfpack simply put their head down and had their most successful season in a decade.

Pac-Five put together a 6-3 record against OIA teams in Division II, its most victories in a season since Kip Botelho‘s offensive juggernaut won seven in 2009. This edition could not hold a candle to that offense, but may have had a more complete team.

The Wolfpack averaged 20.1 points per game for their best output since a 27.3 in 2016 and improved over last year’s numbers by nearly a field goal per game. The defense actually regressed to an 18.3 mark after last year’s 16.8, but the combination of the two added up to two more wins and an increase in victories for the third straight season. That hadn’t happened since 2014-16.

Pac-Five had a positive margin of victory of 1.8 — the second straight year of scoring more points than allowing — the first time that has happened since Don Botelho‘s magical squads from 1982-85. The 1.8 margin of victory would suggest a .500 season, but of the five other teams with the same margin of victory, three of them earned six wins. Darrell Smith‘s 1981 Kalaheo squad led the way with a 6-3-1 record, followed by Joe Kahahawai of 1959 Kailua (6-4-1), George Naukana‘s 1968 Kamehameha (6-5), Wally Aina‘s 5-6-1 with 1987 Damien and James Millwood‘s hard luck 1996 Mililani team (4-5).

Pac-Five closed the year on fire with four consecutive victories, matching a streak bridging 2010-11 and eyeing the 1987-88 teams for its fifth in a row. The school record is eight straight by Garrett Gabriel‘s 1985 champions.

Junior quarterback Chase Hedani ran the offense for Pac-Five, staying with the same 55-45 run-pass split Kip Botelho used last year with Rocket Uechi under center. Greatness is judged by championships and Hedani never had a chance, but his numbers would put him right up there especially if he can follow it up next year. He threw for 1,214 yards with 10 touchdowns and only six interceptions, 300 yards more than Uechi compiled the year before, and the first 1,000-yard passer for Pac-Five since Ryan Johnson in 2016. Hedani was at his best in the winning streak to close the year, throwing seven of his touchdowns in the final four games, with only two picks, and put up 297 yards in a thrilling win over Pearl City.

Despite running a similar scheme, Pac-Five took only 465 snaps from scrimmage this season compared to 544 last year in the same number of games.

Ian Canute was the big play threat, leading the team in rushing with 280 yards. That would be a really low number for most programs, but Pac-Five has struggled running the ball for a long time and Canute’s 280 yards is the most for the program since Keoni Tom-Millare in 2012, and Tom-Millare surpassed Canute’s number in just two games. Canute led the school in rushing this season despite getting 25 fewer carries than Micah Kong, who gained 251 yards.

Joshua Arcayena was another threat, gaining 114 rushing yards on 37 carries. Eight different players had rushing touchdowns for the school. Canute didn’t get a carry until week four and 81 percent of his carries came during the winning streak while Kong got 87 percent of his during the successful four-game run.

Not only was Canute the leading rusher without the most carries on the team, the playmaker led the Wolfpack in receiving despite trailing two others in catches. Canute finished with 271 yards on 16 receptions with two touchdowns, the fewest receiving yards for the school’s top dog since the similarly deep 2012 group. There was no Tsubasa Brennan on the team this year, but Tam (19-247-3), Angelo Coluccio (17-225-1), Kong (14-198-0), Kama Espinda (10-98-2) and William Reed (4-97-2) gave Hedani plenty of options. Because of the depth, no Pac-Five receiver had a reception in every game but Canute and Tam were shut out of only one.

Hedani is slated to return for his senior season next year and could be the first quarterback to lead the team in passing in successive years since Kainoa Ferrerira in 2014-15. Canute will ride off into the sunset as the team’s best rushing/receiving threat since Jordan Ho-Ching in 2006, but nearly everyone else will be back and they hope something happens to allow them to chase a championship of some kind.

Pac-Five receiver Kama Espinda celebrated a touchdown he made with teammate Bryson Ho (2) during the fourth quarter of a game against Kaiser. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Updated: Oct. 13, 2019

Chase Hedani998-209-61,21410
Matthew Miura10-1-000
Ian Canute9272803
Micah Kong8522511
Chad Schmidt4141251
Joshua Arcayena8371143
Bryson Ho421742
Chase Hedani954720
Rocket Uechi13260
Jason Hur17200
Laitin Bradley64161
Max Curran24121
Ty DeBrum1380
Michael Felicida-Romalete1250
Matthew Miura1140
Rustin Maglasang1120
Cameron Holt11-40
Kama Espinda63-101
Angelo Coluccio610-180
Ian Canute9162712
Kaala Tam7192473
Angelo Coluccio6172251
Micah Kong8141980
Kama Espinda610982
William Reed24972
Chad Schmidt42280
Joshua Arcayena85270
Bryson Ho48100
Hayden Le1190
Max Curran2150
Rustin Maglasang1140
Pac-Five quarterback Chase Hedani (4) reacted after tossing the game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Kaala Tam (5) to beat Pearl City. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Pac-Five’s Angelo Coluccio hauled in a tough TD catch against Kalani. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Pac-Five QB Chase Hedani handed the ball off to running back Micah Kong in a game at Kaiser Stadium. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Pac-Five receiver Kaala Tam (5) hauled in the winning touchdown pass to beat Pearl City. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.


  1. Elizabeth Tsuruda October 22, 2019 5:14 pm

    If everyone had one vote to turn in, it might be more fair. This voting process is interesting.

    The pac 5 team as a whole played well and played hard. Its important to also note each players leadership qualities, teamwork push, grit and knowledge of the game.
    Id like to say, many are valuable players, however the quarterback Chase Hedani did a awesome job this season. He representing Pac 5 well!

    Thank you for allowing us to vote.

  2. Steve Marc October 22, 2019 8:47 pm

    This poll makes no sense as there are candidates that didnt even play and clearly people are mass voting

  3. Observation October 23, 2019 11:56 am

    I would not make much about these polls at the end of each closing comments to each team. If one wants to understand the heartbeat of this squad, look no further than two of the co-captains, Laitin Bradley and Alex Heim.

    Great season in spite of the post season circumstances. They won as a team without any pre season standouts. And, like any good team they got better with each game. They did this, unlike other ILH teams, without any recruiting, just those that show up in June.

  4. Oinker October 24, 2019 7:20 am

    Disappointing that the HHSAA can not make revisions to the rules that they create which would afford this team and student athletes the opportunity to take part in the playoffs. It’s not the school programs fault that they have no other ILH D2 teams to compete with.

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