2019 TEAM RECORD
>> 10-3 overall, 7-1 OIA Division II
>> Kui Kahooilihala is 28-15 in four seasons with the Rough Riders.
KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2019
>> DB Joshua Maikui, 5-10, 175, Jr.; DE Kaeo Akana, 6-4, 180, So.; QB/WR Kolea Pa-Macalino, 5-11, 130, Jr.; OL/DL Kaipo Kaimikaua, 6-1, 215, Jr.
ROOSEVELT THROUGH THE YEARS: 1973-2019
HISTORICAL EQUIVALENT: 2002 Saint Louis
The 2019 Roosevelt Rough Riders fell short of their ultimate destination and lost the OIA title in the process, but they can take heart that they have won 10 or more games in successive seasons for the first time since Tiki Vasconcellos ruled the land and went 34-1 in the old ILH from 1955-57.
Last year head coach Kui Kahooilihala built an offense that was better than any at the school in a generation. His team earned two fewer victories this season but put up an outstanding 33.4 points per game, the most at the school since Lester Parilla‘s 1999 crew and a full touchdown over the previous edition. Vasconcellos is the only other Roosevelt coach to build a better offense.
Kahooilihala has only been in charge for four seasons, but in those four years he has matched the legendary Vasconcellos by winning 70 percent of his games.
As high-scoring as the offense was, the defense and special teams had a large part of it. Kahoohilihala’s crew allowed 11.5 points per game, a slight dip from last year’s 11.3, but still among the most outstanding units in the state. It was the first time the defense has allowed under 12 ppg in consecutive years since Rodney Iwasaki‘s defense did it three years in a row from 1984-86 to prop up a struggling offense.
Despite losing three games, this year’s Rough Riders had a higher point differential than any Roosevelt team since Vasconcellos’ undefeated champions in 1957 crushed foes for a 27.7 mark.
Kahoohilihala saw another year of growth out of quarterback Sky Ogata and trusted it, trumpeting a run-and-shoot approach after allowing Ogata to pass the ball only 36 percent of the time in the championship season. Runs and passes were split down the middle this year, with sacks counted as running plays, and they ran the same number of plays per game (53) as the previous year so they still moved the chains.
Ogata relished his new responsibility, throwing for 1,492 more yards and 16 more touchdowns than the previous year on 102 more attempts. Ogata closed his campaign with 2,677 yards, more than anyone in Division II other than Kaimuki’s Jayden Maiava. His 23 touchdown passes are 13 more than the entire team threw in the title season. Ogata started his season off with a bang, torching McKinley for 401 yards in the season opener to join Andrew Kamanao (1991) and Chris Mols (2001) as the only Rough Riders to break 400 yards in a game. Ogata continued the streak, throwing 12 of his 23 touchdown passes in the first month before slumping at mid season and reviving for the OIA playoffs. He regressed once the state tournament began, following his 71-percent completion rate in the OIA playoffs with a 37-percent mark in two games at states including a four-interception game against KS-Hawaii and a 4-for-17 mark with a season-low 47 yards against eventual state champion Lahainaluna.
For all of the dips on the roller coaster, Ogata was still the most productive quarterback Roosevelt has had in a generation, throwing for more than 200 yards six times on the campaign, the most since Mols in 2001 and the most in a career since Aaron Ho in 1995.
Ogata led the team in rushing in the championship season but pretty much left that part of his game on the shelf in 2019. Ogata led the team in carries, with sacks included, in 2019 but rushed for a single touchdown after breaking the plane 14 times the previous year. With Ogata concentrating on moving the offense on the strength of his arm, Myka Kukahiwa was tasked with holding the ground game down. Kukahiwa only got limited carries (88) in the new offense, but turned them into 488 yards and 11 scores, second only to Kaimuki’s outstanding Naomas Asuega-Fualaau in points in Division II on Oahu. Kukahiwa didn’t miss a game and had his top performance in the playoff opener against Waialua when he toted the load 13 times and turned it into 131 yards and a touchdown. He got 13 carries in that game and only 10 in the next three games combined, two of them losses. Mitchell Camacho was Roosevelt’s most effective runner down the stretch, gaining 413 yards on only 55 carries with three scores and going over the century mark twice including 102 yards on 10 carries in a state-tournament win at KS-Hawaii. Kalei Wahilani was part of the share-the-wealth philosophy in the run game with 261 yards on 51 carries and Shepherd Kekahuna scored five touchdowns, four of them during the postseason, despite only 18 carries.
That philosophy carried over to the receiving corps where Ogata had a lot of mouths to feed. Chase Akana did the most with his targets, catching 39 passes for 731 yards and eight touchdowns, the top numbers in those two categories in Kahooilihala’s tenure as coach. Akana started the season on fire with seven catches for 138 yards against McKinley and was steady throughout, but didn’t have a catch in the blowout loss to Lahainaluna. Scott Chung led the team in receptions with 40, giving him 83 over the past two seasons. His yardage jumped from a team-leading 318 last year to 535 this year and he added six scores after being shut out in the title run. Chung didn’t miss a game and failed to break the century mark but came close with an 8-96 line against Kaiser’s stiff defense. Devin Naihe was the third musketeer, hauling in 37 offerings for 443 yards but he was held down for just two catches during the state tournament. Brandon Teixeira, Kirk Calinao and Camacho were the other leaders of Roosevelt’s deep receiving group, but their opportunities were limited late in the season when the Rough Riders tried desperately to get the ball to athletes like Kekahuna and Camacho.
Kahooilihala will have quite a challenge on his hands next year, with standouts like Camacho, Kekahuna, Ogata, Aalona Monteilh, Naihe, Chung, Teixeira and Akana all graduating. That leaves Pa-Macalino and a whole lot of coaching to be done before the fall.
2019 TEAM STATS