CLOSING THE BOOK: Kaimuki Bulldogs

There is a possibility that OIA D-II runner-up Kaimuki could move up to Division I for the 2019 season. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

It’s time to start considering whether David Tautofi is the best coach the Kaimuki Bulldogs have ever had.

After his fourth season, Tautofi is the only coach to put four winning seasons together and has compiled a 27-16 record to nuzzle up against Lowell Cambra (36-37-1) as the second-winningest coach in Kaimuki history.

Tautofi took it to the next level this year, winning 10 games for the first time since Clint Onigama‘s squad won 12 in 2010. Tautofi’s boys actually scored fewer points per game (26.4) than last year’s crew (30.2), but managed to exceed 25 ppg for three years running for the first time in program history.


The defense is what made the biggest difference this year, allowing only 14.2 points against per game after allowing 18.8 last year. It put up the best resistance since Onigama’s stingy 2011 crew allowed just 12.7 ppg. Tautofi enjoyed his largest average margin of victory in his career, but a loss to St. Francis was wiped out of the equation.

2018 TOP PERFORMANCES

Passing

Jonah Fa’asoa was the man at quarterback, throwing all but three of the team’s passes for 2,044 yards and 14 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Those 2k passing yards are easily the most in the Tautofi era, beating Jordan Solomon‘s 1,879 in 2016. Fa’asoa threw for 250 or more yards three times this season, one shy of Solomon’s career-high four over two seasons. Fa’asoa had some monster games that Solomon never did, destroying Kaiser for 435 yards and three touchdowns on 19 completions. He was nearly as good against Sierra Vista in Las Vegas, Solomon’s new team, throwing for another three touchdowns and 308 yards, but he had two interceptions in both of those games. Fa’asoa’s 435-yard effort vaulted him past Solomon’s 331 yards against Waialua in 2016 for the biggest yardage game in school history and his 308-yard effort came up fourth on the list. Fa’asoa and Solomon are the only two players in school history to throw for more than 300 yards, each of them doing it twice.

Rushing

Even with Fa’asoa turning the Bulldogs into a threat with the passing game, opposing coaches all knew that stopping the running game can first. Jonah Stephens ended the campaign with the yardage crown with 981 to the 979 put up by running mate Naomas Asuega-Fualaau, even though Stephens had five fewer carries. Asuega-Fualaau earned the edge in touchdowns, 14-11, scoring at least once in the team’s last seven games. Elijah Lemalu and Filipo Afoa were capable changes of pace for the program, withe Lemalu rushing for 200 yards and Afoa gaining 121. Tautofi found something with his two-headed monster of a backfield, coaching them to a combined 1,960 yards after his top two backs generated 1,346 last year. Asuega-Fualaau didn’t get a carry until a month into the season but made up for the lost time with a huge game against Kaiser when he carried the ball 28 times for 223 yards and three touchdowns, good for third on the school’s single-game list behind legends Justin Paredes and Chester Sua. Stephens and Asuega-Fualaau each had five games over the century mark, easily the first time in school history that has happened. The school never had two players have even two games over 100 yards in the same season until Solomon and Ieke Seei-Cleveland did it last year.


Receiving

Kaimuki went with a committee approach with its receivers, spreading it out so much that seven different players had 10 catches or more. Elijah Lemalu emerged as the most reliable, catching 34 passes for 491 yards and a team-high four touchdowns. Alex Lemalu caught 26 passes for 349 yards but none of them in the end zone, which is something for an offense that had seven players catch touchdown passes. Elijah Lemalu’s 491 yards doesn’t sound like much, but it the the most by a receiver since Tautofi took over and he was the first receiver with two 100-yard games since Andries Toussant in 2016. For all of Elijah Lemalu’s excellence, Koby Moananu rose up from out of nowhere to make eyes pop. Moananu had only two catches for 20 yards before a midseason game against Kaiser when he went off for six catches for 185 yards and a touchdown to put him atop the program’s single-game list and break Justin Faimealelei‘s record that had stood for 18 years. Moananu was the ultimate shooting star, he went catchless in his next two games and accounted for only 104 yards with no touchdowns in three games after that.

Defense

The Bulldogs shut out two opponents in 2018, the first time they did that in games played on the field since 2011. Kaimuki’s best defensive stands came early, as the better teams in the OIA playoffs and states challenged them. They put it all together in at the end of August when the offense had trouble against McKinley and asked the defense to bail it out. The Bulldogs played to the whistle, stuffing the Tigers at the one at the very end of the game after forcing McKinley into four 3-and-outs and a turnover on downs in the first half and two interceptions in the second.

HEAD COACH
>> David Tautofi is 27-16 in four seasons.

STAT RANKINGS
>> QB Jonah Fa’asoa led Division II in passing yards.
>> RB Jonah Stephens finished third and RB Naomas Asuega-Fualaau finished sixth in Division II in rushing yards.
>> WR Elijah Lemalu finished fifth in Division II in receiving yards.


KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2018
>> RB Naomas Asuega-Fualaau (5-10, 185), WR/DB Alex Lemalu (5-7, 130), LB/WR Kaulana Kaluna Jr. (5-9, 200), QB Jonah Fa’asoa (5-11, 227), RB/LB Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa (5-7, 169), DL KJ Navarez (5-7, 174), DL/OL Enzo Lucero (6-3, 242).

FINAL TEAM STATS

PASSINGGC-A-IYdsTD
Jonah Fa’asoa13140-258-122,04414
Kaulana Kaluna121-2-1171
Alex Lemalu110-1-000
RUSHINGGAttYdsTD
Jonah Stephens1316098111
Naomus Ausega-Fualaau1016597914
Elijah Lemalu11232002
Filipo Afoa5241210
Kaulana Kaluna126321
Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa83290
Antrone Cliff Jr.21191
Koby Moananu62170
KJ Navarez5160
Quynton Brackens4131
Angel Vea1130
Alex Lemalu111-20
Harry Lloyd22-300
Jonah Fa’asoa1349-730
TEAM1314-790
RECEIVINGGRecYdsTD
Elijah Lemalu11344914
Koby Moananu7224041
Alex Lemalu11263490
Kaulana Kaluna12142593
Naomus Ausega-Fualaau10101792
Jonah Stephens13111702
Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa8141191
Kaunaloa Nahinu14950
Filipo Afoa56852
Isaac Madali3360
Matthew Williams2150
Kaimuki receiver Alex Lemalu (2) made a one-handed catch against Kaiser defensive back Noah Matsumoto (7) during the OIA D-II semifinals. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa scooped up a blocked punt and ran it in for a touchdown against Kamehameha-Hawaii in the opening round of the D-II state tournament. Photo by Tim Wright/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki quarterback Jonah Faasoa looks to hand off to Elijah Lemalu during a Division II state quarterfinal game against Kamehameha-Hawaii. Photo by Tim Wright/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki defensive lineman Sama Paama (64) attempted to block the extra point of Kaiser kicker Kyler Halvorsen (52) in the OIA D-II playoffs. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa (22) reached for the goal line in the OIA D-II title game against Roosevelt. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Jonah Stephens got past McKinley’s Franklin Pham and looked for more yards in the first quarter against McKinley. / Photo by Jay Metzger, Special to the Star-Advertiser
Kaimuki’s Naomas Asuega-Fualaau was one of two Bulldogs with more than 100 rushing yards against Kalaheo. Photo by Kat Wade/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki’s Sama Paama had seven tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks in a win over Pearl City. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

COMMENTS

  1. Bulldogs November 22, 2018 6:06 pm

    Good job by the Bulldogs but there is an asterik as they were D2 level in the Tautofi era unlike the past Kaimuki HC’s of recent vintage; Onigama, Mafua, Johnson, Oyama, Naciemento, etc. who played strictly in the D1 level or combination of both D1 & D2. Nonetheless, the present Staff has done a nice job and its great to see the Bulldogs compete game in and game out. Looking forward to seeing them being competitive again next year and hopefully being able to move up to the D1 level the season after.


  2. DefendKaimuki November 23, 2018 1:12 am

    in the Era of Tautofi, they didn’t have a choice but to stay in D2. Then again, what they’ve done has nothing to do with what division they played in. Kaimuki since Tautofi has been top tier in the division they were put in and no other coach has been consistent in competing for a title as long as he has. He did that with little and what has resulted from that are greats like Paama, and not to mention other ballers on the team that we’ll be hearing much of in the near future. Let’s not start comparing coaches here, this current regime in the school and the unfortunate place Kaimuki high is in now was non existent then where it had thrived. So given Conditions of the school, the place the program had been when Tautofi took over, and how they’ve been one of the most consistent programs in the state last 4 seasons, it’s easy to see why there’s nothing to compare. He’s now the second most winningest coach in school history just 4 seasons compared to 20 plus seasons with the current most winningest. He’ll be on pace to possibly break it next season. Watch for the bulldogs to make a run Ata the D1 title next year! That, I’m excited for all thanks to Tautofi and his staff


  3. KHS Alumn November 23, 2018 1:23 am

    By far the best team this season of any in the history of the school. Fell short but they play 13 games with an Ironman squad and still dominating statistically in entire state for D2. Coach is definitely deserving of any praise that brings him in the discussion of the best coach ever in Kaimuki. After next season, he’ll be in the discussions of one of the top 5 coaches in Hawaii high school football ever given nothing to build but from scratch to creating national recruits like Paama. Watch out next season for them Dawgs


  4. KeepItKaimuki November 23, 2018 1:39 am

    D1 or D2 it really doesn’t matter. Alls we care about was being competitive and Tautofi brought that back. Sad to see how bad everything else in that school is but the only good thing about Kaimuki high is and has been the football team and what coach has brought back to the kids and the community. I don’t think any coach in the past did quite as much as Tautofi did not just in the program but outside of it and in the community. There’s no comparison between Tautofi and any other coach of the past. He’ll easily be the most winningest coach and possibly next season, that’s if Kaimuki has what it takes to keep him there. They lucky he stayed as long as he did, unlike many of the coaches @Bulldogs listed


  5. KeepItKaimuki November 23, 2018 1:42 am

    D1 in 2019. Got my money on Kaimuki. Thanks coach for bringing my confidence back to my alma mater! I can’t wait till August 2019


  6. Wainakea November 24, 2018 12:34 am

    Kinda nuts in my mind to move up to OIA D1 with a school called Waipahu with nearly triple the enrollment of Kaimuki is in. Don’t bring up Kahuku; they’re a complete outlier, one of a kind.

    It’s crazy how this team managed to stay healthy all season long. Big props to the coaching staff and the players for pulling this great season off.


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