Club 100: ‘Iolani RB Brody Bantolina churns 105 rushing yards per game

‘Iolani running back Brody Bantolina escapes the clutches of a Saint Louis I-AA defender during a run up the middle on Friday. Bantolina finished with 126 yards and five touchdowns on the ground as ‘Iolani prevailed, 52-28. Craig Kojima/

When Brody Bantolina last had a season of football, he was a sophomore with the 2019 ILH Division I ‘Iolani Raiders.

That squad went 10-3, losing a heartbreaker to Hilo in the state tournament title game. Bantolina rushed for 575 yards and 10 touchdowns on 112 carries as the 1b running back to talented Brock Hedani.

This fall, the senior playmaker is relishing the primary role. Bantolina has rushed for 631 yards and 15 TDs on 99 attempts as No. 7 ‘Iolani completed ILH D-I/D-II play with a square 6-0 record. He has also caught five passes for 46 yards. Most of his production has come in the first half of games.

He had his biggest scoring output on Friday afternoon against a talented, physical Saint Louis I-AA defensive unit. His five-TD performance on a sweltering hot afternoon at Eddie Hamada Field.

“I don’t believe it was a big game for me. The touchdowns were about the defense making big plays, getting the takeaways,” Bantolina said.

‘Iolani’s defense came up with four interceptions after halftime, sealing a 52-28 win. The Raiders scored 28 unanswered points after trailing 28-24 in the third quarter.

“(Saint Louis I-AA) is big for a JV team. Our run game has been pretty solid and our linemen are blocking good. We tried some new stuff and we passed well. Micah (Hoomanawanui) played big, took some hits and stepped up in a big game,” Bantolina said. “In practice, he’s making reads and he came through today.”

Kai Preusser and Tristan Martinez led ‘Iolani’s receiving corps, but Taniela Taliauli continued his touchdown rampage. The sophomore now has a team-high four TDs in five games, 13 receptions for 177 yards in all.

“I think it’s his first year in football. He’s from Hilo and he’s a big basketball player. It’s all new to him,” Bantolina said.

Up front, the offensive line has been consistent and disciplined with nary a false start.

“With such an inexperienced team and a new quarterback, I think we had to rely on our running game because we are still testing the waters with our passing game,” senior center Raynne Passi said. “Also, having two veteran O-linemen, I think we had to step up our run game since we didn’t have experienced skill players. I’m not surprised our run game worked very well because every day in practice, we would work hard on learning our run plays and crafting them. We also want to run the ball because that’s the most fun. After the trenches, it’s all Brody. As an O-lineman, you want that guy running behind you.”

A six-game ILH season is a bit of a minor miracle consider all that has transpired statewide in high school sports since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. ILH teams are in the process of scheduling games, even scrimmages, with OIA football programs.

“I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen. We have to trust that coach (Wendell Look) will do that. I trust his experience after 30 years (of coaching),” Bantolina said. “They tell us we have states and I believe that right now.”

The state tournament is scheduled for late December and early January. If the timing and the calendar hold up, that’s a wait of 13 weeks between games.

“We’ll focus more on academics. We have a regular practice on Monday,” Bantolina said. “I wouldn’t be mad about any extra games. It may be a long season, but it’s my last year. Whatever it takes to win a championship.”


  1. Honesty October 3, 2021 9:04 pm

    Does everybody know that Iolani football varsity is winning against Kamehameha and St. Louis Junior Varsity. Lets be honest.

  2. ??? October 4, 2021 5:50 am

    Yes we know they are JV teams;
    but since you call yourself hones, do you know that you’re not technically a JV team if you have an 11th grader on your team & a few kids that should be 11th grade but were intentionally held back?
    Just being HONEST

  3. Falcon Future October 4, 2021 9:10 am

    Actually, 11th graders are allowed to play JV in the ILH. In general, any 11th grader in any sport still playing JV is usually still learning and obviously not ready for varsity, so it’s not exactly a big deal.

    Also, you would be surprised how many kids at different schools are repeating a school year just to stay competitive in sports. It’s not just St. Louis, although they probably have the most. I would bet that every ILH school has some. Most of these kids do the repeat year in 6th or 7th grade, so you don’t really hear about it. But yeah, it’s happening all over the place.

  4. Falcon Future October 4, 2021 10:51 am

    And so back to @Honesty … yes, Iolani varsity went undefeated against a couple of JV teams and two undermanned varsity teams (Pac5 and Damien). I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating … Iolani can and should set up a exhibition game with Punahou.

    Iolani wants to be rivals with Punahou for everything else but willing to bow down for football? That’s some serious bragging rights for life for this generation of Buff & Blue!

  5. Seabiscuit October 4, 2021 11:17 am

    Lets not play Div 1 teams because of safety, size, numbers, etc. because we might get rolled over, so lets play JV teams instead so we can roll them over, and add another banner in our gym. That’s smart LOL

  6. Honestly October 4, 2021 3:58 pm

    What would Fr. Kenneth Bray, legionary Iolani Football coach of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s say of today’s small size Iolani ? In his days, at the corner of Judd Street, Nuuanu and Craigside, the undersized Iolani Red Raiders regularly beat their bigger-size ILH Kamehameha, McKinley, Punahou, St Louis opponents. Fr. Bray changed the school’s name to the popular comic strip characters in Terry and the Pirates, where the Dragon Queen and her Chinese Bandits, aka Red Raiders dominated the Saturday night Star Bulletin. There are many big football players today who would love to attend Iolani if given the opportunity. Honestly!

  7. ILoveHawaii October 6, 2021 8:43 am

    How do the Alumni on staff feel?
    or Do they feel the same way their HC does??

    I cant wait to see which OIA teams they schedule because it is up to the school to schedule a game with OIA teams during their bye weeks.

    Waialua, Kalaheo, Ewa Sabers, Metro Tigers here come the (scar)Red Raiders.

    Shout out to the OG Iolani football alumni that feel they should be playing with the big boys.

  8. All Palahe October 7, 2021 9:24 am

    Iolani competes at the highest levels of academics and in all other high school sports except football. Honestly is right. What would Father Bray think of Iolani’s football leadership and what would he think of their admissions policies?

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