In many ways, he is just a kid from Waipahu who likes Fortnite, hanging out with friends and tries to keep on top of his academics.
In the eyes of coaches around the OIA and ILH, Alfred Failauga is a creature who is capable of destroying the most well-crafted game plan. Failauga is the state’s all-time leading rusher with 5,549 yards in 37 games. He ranked seventh coming into the season, and in seven games played so far, he is averaging 31 carries and 233 yards per game on the ground as a senior.
This fall, Failauga passed Kama Bailey of Damien (3,930), Mark Atuaia (4,156) and Aofaga Wily (4,205) of Kahuku, then Joe Igber of ‘Iolani (4,428) and Vavae Malepeai of Mililani (4,549). It is often an interesting debate. Has Failauga faced the kind of competition that the previous record-setters did? Many of them did play against a mix of Division I and D-II opponents. In 2019, Waipahu has already battled against four Top 10 teams in its inter-league schedule. In preseason, he rushed for 234 yards on 24 carries against Waianae of the Open Division.
He is also closing the game in career touchdowns. Failauga has 60 TDs, trailing Malepeai, who scored 71 TDs in the same number of games, 37, against top-tier competition.
Single-season marks are also within Failauga’s grasp. He is closing in on the mark of 2,377 yards (in 10 games) set by Atuaia in 1990. The single-season rushing TD mark is held by Farrington’s Randall Okimoto, also in ’90. He scored 33 TDs behind the rumbling “Bamboolas” offensive line.
Failauga and his teammates haven’t faced a full Open Division slate, but the durability and talent are legitimate. Coaches who have faced Waipahu responded to these questions:
>> On game day, was he what you expected when you and your staff scouted and studied film, or different?
>> Does he remind you of any other RB at the prep, college or pro level?
>> How do you project his future?
John Hao, Castle
Two-time Oahu Prep Bowl championship QB (Saint Louis)
Played QB at Hawaii, pro league in Europe
Third season as Castle head coach
“Yes, he was everything that we expected. He outran his blocks and made my guys miss tackles. We knew that would be hard to stop, but his quick decision-making on the fly made him stand above the rest. He reminds me of Marshall Faulk when I played at Hawaii. He has the potential to play in the NFL if his college career takes off. He has plenty potential to be a great athlete.”
Wendell Look, ‘Iolani
Eight-time D-II state champion
In 27th season as head coach
“Yes, and more. The more he carries the ball, the stronger he gets. He is a combination of Eric Dickerson and Marcus Allen. Hard, tough runner with elusiveness and speed. He has a bright future at the next level.”
Kaeo Drummondo, Hilo
2017 Division I state champion
2018 D-I runner-up, lost to Waipahu in final
“When we played last year he was as special in person as he had appeared in the scout film that we watched. He’s one of those athletes that you just have to enjoy because they don’t come around every year.
“Interestingly, Alfred reminds me of another individual who we competed against (in 2015) and the individual who he passed for the all-time state rushing record, Vavae Malepeai (now starting at USC). Both runners are just so smooth and fluid. They possess a natural patience but are quick to burst once they see the hole. Both were durable workhorses who have quickness, speed, power and elusiveness. Although they competed in different divisions both are/were great running backs that you just need to appreciate.
“I think if his focus and passion is set on continuing his playing career in college it’ll be a bright future. He has all the tools to be productive as a runner and pass catcher out of the backfield. Hopefully, if an offer hasn’t come yet it does soon because he deserves it.”
Eddie Klaneski, Damien
Former Hawaii defensive back
2003 D-II state runner-up
2017 D-I state runner-up
Ninth season as Damien head coach
“On game day he was kind of what we expected. But it’s still tough to defend him because he is a very unique runner. I’m not sure who I would compare him to because his abilities are tough to match. He hardly ever, if at all, gets driven back. But he is also very fast, quick and powerful all at the same time. He can cut on a dime. And get vertical at full speed.
“Hopefully someone takes a chance on him cause he is a very good, every down back. His size may turn people away from offering him a scholarship, but he is very capable.”