CLOSING THE BOOK: Nanakuli Golden Hawks

Nanakuli's Lexsen Kunukau threw a TD pass, ran for a TD and caught a TD pass this season. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

The Nanakuli Golden Hawks had their second winless season in three years and came into this season 1-15 in the previous two years, but the small country school was placed in Division I in the new three-tier alliance.

It hasn’t worked out for the proud fan base in the valley, as Nanakuli went 0-10 for the second time in program history and hit a low with one victory in three years. Nanakuli averaged 8.3 points per game, its lowest output since its winless season in 2010 under Skippy Lopes.

There were bright spots, though, as the defense improved. Nanakuli allowed 35.4 points per game this year after a 39.1 mark the year before and has actually lowered the bar for three years in a row, matching Keala Watson‘s first three years in charge.


2018 BEST PERFORMANCES

Passing

Nanakuli struggled to keep quarterbacks on the field in 2018, but Charles Hauhio emerged as the leader with 180 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. Lexsen Kunukau, A’alona Aleka and Sedric Crawford all took their shots under center, but none of them completed more than 36 percent of their passes. Hauhio threw more than 10 passes only three times, all in the first month of the season, but his top performance came in the second week against Aiea when he slung it 31 times and completed 13 of them for 91 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time since 2008 that Nanakuli failed to have a passer throw for 100 yards in a season.

Rushing

With all of the problems under center, Nanakuli made its hay by asking Aleka to carry the load running the ball. Aleka gained 553 yards and scored twice while getting twice as many carries as any other Nanakuli back and not missing a game. Aleka’s biggest yardage haul came in a visit to Aiea in Week 2 when he was handed the ball 27 times and covered 150 yards with a touchdown. He wasn’t given the ball so much following that ironman performance but came back a month later to go for 144 yards on 17 carries against Castle. Aleka was the first Golden Hawk to go over 100 yards more than once in a season since Makaila Haina-Horswill in 2014 when Nanakuli went 10-1 and played in the state tournament.

Receiving


Gavin Vea Flint was Nanakuli’s top receiver, catching 14 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, but Kunukau was right there with him as the possession guy with 18 catches and two touchdowns. Nine different receivers caught passes from five different quarterbacks for Nanakuli. One of those eventual quarterbacks, Aleka, had the top receiving performance of the year to go with his heroics at running back, catching two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in the season opener against Roosevelt. Rylen Yap had the best game for a wide receiver, catching four passes against Damien’s stiff defense for 50 yards. It is the second straight year Nanakuli failed to have a receiver go over 100 yards.

Defense

Nanakuli’s defensive unit had its best performance right out of the gate, holding eventual contender Roosevelt to 13 points in a loss in the season opener. The Golden Hawks gave up 231 yards — 146 passing and 85 rushing — but forced six fumbles and came up with four while corralling an interception. They were a third-and-10 play away from a rare victory.

HEAD COACH
>> Kili Watson is 1-17 in two seasons.

STAT RANKINGS
>> RB A’alona Aleka finished sixth in Division I in rushing yards.


KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2018
>> RB Holbin Cash-Meyers (5-8, 175), WR Gavin Vea-Flint (6-0, 186), LB Sedric Crawford (5-7, 207), OL Lafaele Matautia (6-0, 240), WR Rylan Yap (5-8, 148).

FINAL TEAM STATS

PASSINGGC-A-IYdsTD
Charles Hauhio825-74-71802
Lexsen Kunukau1018-49-21281
A'alona Aleka108-27-2811
Sedric Crawford19-29-1680
Holbin Cash-Meyers81-1-050
RUSHINGGAttYdsTD
A'alona Aleka101225532
Holbin Cash-Meyers8581751
Kaeo Aipia-Flood9371250
Lexsen Kunukau1063671
Sai Crawford3290
Kekoa Kealoha1170
Sedric Crawford112-100
Charles Hauhio739-132
Micah Manewa33-140
TEAM97-410
RECEIVINGGRecYdsTD
Gavin Vea Flint7141251
A'alona Aleka107881
Lexsen Kunukau1018842
Rylen Yap36640
Sai Crawford33390
Kaeo Aipia-Flood95330
Charles Hauhio84250
Holbin Cash-Meyers8360
Clifford Lopes11-20
Nanakuli quarterback Sedric Crawford attempted a pass against Damien. Photo by Jordan Fong/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Nanakuli’s Shayden Arindain-Pojas (11) broke free from ‘Iolani’s Jedidiah Wataru (26) as he returned the opening kickoff of the game into ‘Iolani territory. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Nanakuli’s A’alona Aleka leaned forward to break the goal line for a touchdown against Leilehua. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

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