CLOSING THE BOOK: 2019 Pearl City Chargers

Pearl City quarterback Makana Canyon (12) threw the football to wide receiver Joshua Gleason (13) in a game against Pac-Five. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

2019 TEAM RECORD
>> 3-7 overall, 3-5 OIA Division II

HEAD COACH
>> 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.


Pearl City quarterback Makana Canyon (12) and receiver Isaiah Cruz-Ameperosa (9) set school records in an overtime loss to Nanakuli. Canyon thew for 372 yards and Ameperosa finished with 202 yards receiving. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

2019 TEAM STATS

PASSINGGC-A-IYdsTD
Makana Canyon7105-201-141,40811
Adam Puchert713-53-21772
Rastin Tobosa516-38-11450
Isaiah Cruz-Ameperosa73-6-0283
Joshua Gleason90-1-000
RUSHINGGAttYdsTD
Alii Gaspar101335473
Victor Atkins517752
Raiden Pabo720670
Stanton Hong41100
Isaiah Cruz-Ameperosa7490
Hezekiah Salsis-Ganigan1120
Kaimuna Maddox5110
Adam Puchert78-170
Preston Hong94-210
Rastin Tobosa514-410
Makana Canyon740-841
TEAM1014-1160
RECEIVINGGRecYdsTD
Joshua Gleason9365897
Isaiah Cruz-Ameperosa7244653
Preston Hong9191741
Juan Vargas7161611
Kaimuna Maddox571261
Alii Gaspar10121002
Stanton Hong49480
Adam Puchert75350
Raiden Pabo72310
Skydon Gella-Kaneaiakala12150
Kody Kikuyama1141
Landon Chang1120
Russell Ancheta2200
Cody Oshiro11-50
Pearl City receiver Preston Hong (11) was chased down by the Kalani defense led by defensive back Min Seo Kim (8) during the first half. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Pearl City running back Alii Gaspar (25) was brought down by Pac-Five linebacker Laitin Bradley (56). Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Nobody has won more games as Pearl City head coach than Robin Kami. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Pearl City receiver Isaiah Cruz-Ameperosa (9) hauled in a pass against Kalani. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Pearl City quarterback Adam Puchert (14) attempted a pass in the season opener against Kealakehe. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

COMMENTS

  1. DefenseWINS October 23, 2019 8:38 am

    Once again…NOTHING on the defense. Unbelievable.


  2. Linda Valido October 23, 2019 2:01 pm

    Makana Canyons passes were executed perfectly which lead him to break 2 records! He should be voted MVP representing Pearl City High School!


  3. zoe gardiner October 23, 2019 3:05 pm

    great WR


  4. DefenseALLDAY October 24, 2019 12:52 pm

    Another year with no recognition about Kikuyama smh.


  5. Falepouliuli Asaeli November 3, 2019 12:57 pm

    Voting for Brady Faauliuli


  6. Susana November 3, 2019 3:50 pm

    I was at the PCHS/Roosevelt game downtown and halfway through the game there was a fight between the 2 teams! One student stood out trying to break up the fight was #56 of PCHS Fauliuli. I vote for him. In other games he and some of the other players played both ways the entire game! I vote for BRADY FAAULIULI!!!!


  7. Meleka Carson November 3, 2019 3:52 pm

    the QB #12 gotta go! He just made wrong passes and wrong timing and wrong calls! He should’ve been EJECTED!!!


  8. Lydia Vasquez November 4, 2019 12:38 am

    #56 BRADY FAAULIULI softhearted, kind and passionate about the game – both ways – and for his team members. No matter the losing games, Brady was always pumping up the teams’ spirit along with Skylar. Way to go Brady, SHAKA!!


  9. Brenda Mene November 4, 2019 5:10 am

    We Vote for Brady Fuauli.


  10. Brenda Mene November 4, 2019 5:12 am

    *Correction- Brady Fa’auliuli


  11. Teamsialoi November 4, 2019 9:28 pm

    Voting for my son Brady Faauliuli all the way from Cali! Get em son!


  12. Maverick Spokane November 5, 2019 10:11 am

    my son said during practice the coach told them do not go near the qb, what the hell is that? And it was evident in the game – no good communication!! Too many games you coach Kami should’ve brought out #12 and change him up but NOOOOOOO!!! You coaches just wasted all our boys’ efforts and time and even exposure from recruiters! PCHS needs a new head coach!!! I like the two big samoans on there – Skylar and Brady. Those boys are more worthy of this award! ASK THE KIDS ON THE TEAM and they tell you the truth!!! ask the kids!!!!


  13. Ulbert Wilmington November 5, 2019 4:00 pm

    I agree with MSpokane why not ask the kids on the team who should be MVP of this season?


  14. irate Fan November 6, 2019 10:05 am

    DEFENSE??? no recognition for DEFENSE yet again! … it’s defense that’s carrying your team PCHS!!!


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