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