2019 TEAM RECORD
>> 3-7 overall, 3-5 OIA Division II
>> Robin Kami is the winningest coach in school history with a 40-31 record in seven seasons.
KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2019
>> WR Isaiah Cruz-Ameperosa, 5-5, 140, Jr.; WR Joshua Gleason, 5-11, 140, Jr.; DB Bishop Foumai, 5-6, 130, Fr.; DL Tristen Mckinney, 5-9, 180, Jr.
PEARL CITY THROUGH THE YEARS: 1973-2019
HISTORICAL EQUIVALENT: 1993 Castle
The Pearl City Chargers began the season expecting to breeze to coach Robin Kami‘s school record for victories, but by the end it was all they had to play for.
The Chargers limped to a 3-7 record after winning seven games in each of the previous two years and suffered their first losing season since 2015. Kami passed Joe Francis for most wins in school history in the last game, a thrilling overtime victory over Waialua, which made the OIA playoffs.
Pearl City’s points per game decreased for the third straight year, coming in a 17.7 but only two points lower than last season. The defense, though, was markedly different. Pearl City allowed 25.5 points per game, the worst in Kami’s seven seasons and the highest at the school since Mel Bicoy‘s winless group in 2008.
Teams with Pearl City’s minus-7.8 point differential include 1993 Castle under Mark Kane (3-6) and Bernie Silva‘s unlucky 1987 Kamehameha team (1-8-2). It was the program’s lowest differential since 2015.
It is a bit of a shame that Makana Canyon‘s senior season didn’t result in more wins, as his individual numbers were outstanding except for a division-leading 14 interceptions. Canyon threw for 1,408 yards and 11 touchdowns after dishing out 696 and 10 as a junior. His yardage and touchdowns were the most for the program since Jordan Taamu went nuts for 1,749 and 27 in 2014. One place he passed the pride of the program was passing yards in a single game. Canyon exploded for 372 yards against Nanakuli for the school record in September and followed it with a 275-yard effort against Pac-Five in October. Taamu’s biggest game was 274 yards against Nanakuli in his senior year. Canyon missed three games, leaving starting duties to Adam Puchert and Rastin Tobosa, who were serviceable in his stead and took care of the ball like Canyon couldn’t. Canyon threw three interceptions in a game three times and doubled up twice. McKinley was the only school to not intercept him at least once.
The Chargers passed the ball slightly more (4 percent) this season than last year, but it didn’t slow workhorse Alii Gaspar. Gaspar carried the ball 133 times, more than half the load for the team, and turned it into 547 yards and three touchdowns. That is 200 yards more than last year’s big gainer, and the most in program history since Makoa Cooper put up 615 yards and nine touchdowns two years ago. Gaspar didn’t miss a game at the difficult position, seeing everything click with 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries against Kalaheo. He was brought back down to Earth in the next two games, though, being held to a single yard on 19 carries in road games against Roosevelt and Nanakuli. Victor Atkins provided an adequate change of pace, getting 75 yards on 20 carries for an effective 4.4 average. Eleven different Chargers carried the ball at least once this year, in line with Kami’s philosophy.
Joshua Gleason was a revelation as Canyon’s top receiving target, hauling in 36 passes for 589 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games. That yardage was the most for the program since running back Dominic Maneafaiga‘s 610 in 2014 and the most for a receiver since Timothy Rivera had 599 as Taamu’s top target in 2013. Gleason didn’t have his first 100-yard game until the second-to-last game with 113 and a touchdown against Pac-Five and then improved upon it with 123 yards and two scores in the season-ending victory over Waialua.
He became the first Charger to go over the century mark in back-to-back games since Maneafaiga in 2014 and the first receiver to do so since Daicorri Briscoe in 2012. Gleason’s consistency and improvement overshadowed Isaiah Cruz-Ameperosa a little bit, but an all-time great performance made up for it. Cruz-Ameperosa torched Nanakuli for 202 yards and a touchdown on six catches that night, surpassing Briscoe’s 198 yards in 2012 for the most in a single game in school history and the first Charger to exceed 200 yards in a game. Cruz-Ameperosa caught only four passes for 47 yards in the month following that legendary performance when Gaspar took some catches from out of the backfield. The Chargers had options at the position, finishing with six different receivers earning 100 yards or more and seven different players catching a touchdown pass. Preston Hong (174 yards), Juan Vargas (161), Kaimuna Maddox (126) and Gaspar were stout secondary options.
Next year’s quarterback will have plenty of toys to play with as Cruz-Ameperosa and Gaspar return for their senior years and Gleason has a scary two more years to improve. The offensive line will take a hit and the defense loses a lot as well, but the skill positions are set if they can find a quarterback to push junior Rastin Tobosa.
2019 TEAM STATS