Experienced receivers help bring new ‘Iolani QB along

Iolani receivers Jonah Miyazawa (14) and Rayden Kaneshiro (4) are back this season. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Wendell Look opened his 28th season as ‘Iolani head coach with a new starting quarterback for the first time in three years.

Jonah Chong, a 5-foot-10, 150-pound junior, got off to a perfect start in the record book, completing all eight of his throws for 136 yards and three touchdowns in a 63-0 win over Kalani on Saturday night at Kaiser Stadium.

Chong steps in to replace three-year starter Tai-John Mizutani, who finished his prep career fourth all-time in the state with more than 7,500 career passing yards, and led ‘Iolani to touchdowns on all five drives he played before he was taken out early in the second quarter with a 42-0 lead.

“It was pretty exciting in the beginning because I was a little nervous,” Chong said. “I was pretty happy with the performance. The linemen and the receivers did a good job so that’s why everything kind of worked out today.”

Look admitted he hoped to get Chong more reps, but the Raiders overmatched Division II Kalani, which is trying to replace a three-year starter at quarterback of its own in Seth Tina-Soberano, its top three rushers from last year and its top four receivers.

‘Iolani started three new faces on the offensive line and has relied on a potent returning group of receivers to help Chong ease his way into the starter’s role.

Seniors Rayden Kaneshiro and Jonah Miyazawa and junior Carter Kamana, who combined for more than 2,000 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns last year, all caught touchdown passes against the Falcons.

“They help tremendously,” Chong said. “They know what they are doing. Rayden and Jonah are really experienced —— they have played since they were sophomores. Carter started last year and is pretty experienced and is a physical guy. If I can get him the ball he can make some plays for us.”

Senior Ryan Nishizaki (5-8, 180) and junior Kilo Scanlan (6-1, 196) were the only two starters on the offensive line against Kalani returning from last year. Senior guard Akihiro Iwakiri (5-9, 200) was injured and didn’t play.

Senior Kaua Nishigaya, ‘Iolani’s leading rusher from last season, had 55 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Sophomore Rexton Suzuki broke off a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter and capped the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run.

“We wanted to open up the running game because that will help us with the passing game,” Chong said.

Added Look: “Our goal today was to run the ball and we’ve got to get better because we’ve got to be able to run it. In spots we did and in spots we showed how young we are.”

‘Iolani will open Division I play in the new OIA-ILH alliance in the Father Bray game next Saturday against Waipahu, which notched the statement win of opening weekend beating No. 7 Waianae by three touchdowns.


  1. To da house August 4, 2018 10:30 pm

    Sure, run the score up on a lower division team.
    StL would drop 70 on Iolani if they played up.
    Let’s see how Iolani does against someone in their own division.

  2. peppah August 5, 2018 12:13 am

    No be salty cuz your kids neva get in

  3. To da house August 5, 2018 2:21 am

    Salty? LOL
    I bet your kid didn’t play because of AP….

  4. Tita Ane August 5, 2018 4:39 am

    I heard Iolani got some mainland transfers on Defense this year

  5. Northshore August 5, 2018 6:13 am

    It will be a different story when they play Waipahu and stop all the chirping already.

  6. good day August 5, 2018 7:10 am

    Thanks Hawaii Prepworld for an encouraging report, let’s cheer on all our teams, let the kids play competitive sports and be supportive for all Hawaii teams. Life is too short!

  7. Coach B August 5, 2018 7:32 am

    @To da house

    Sorry but how is this game any different than Kahuku’s 52 pt win over Konawaena, Kapolei’s 46 pt win over Castle, or Campbell’s 40 pt win over Hilo? A lot of teams played out of division opponents and had lop-sided scores.

    If you read the article and saw the scoring summary, then you would’ve known that Iolani scored the majority of their points in the first quarter then pulled their starters. That’s pretty standard if it’s a blowout. It’s not like they were trying to run up the score.

  8. Broken Spoke August 5, 2018 10:39 am

    Agree with Coach B and Others Iolani played its starters for 1 quarter…but To Da House and Northshore….if you saw Iolani play Waianae and Roosevelt this year, you’d know this is no fluke as Iolani is very skilled and well coached. Please check out YouTube and Hudl then check back with us at 6pm next Saturday after the Father Bray Classic that features Waipahu vs. Iolani….chirp chirp.

    Talk is cheap but its worth even less when haters comment without ever watching the team they critique. TDA and NS guaranteed they neva play any HS football.

  9. ??? August 5, 2018 3:03 pm

    63-0 against Kalani is average but Wendell Look will cry later in the season that Iolani only has 4 players at 200lbs and they should be in DII. “Blah, Blah, Blah” .

  10. To da house August 5, 2018 4:06 pm

    @coach B
    Of course there’s games within different divisions with blowouts. The reason why I didnt reference any of the teams/games that you mentioned is because Iolani is the only team that I can think of with 8 division titles in a 10 year span (# of titles in DII ILH is even higher) and then complain about having to move up and stay in a higher division. At least stick it out for a while and try to build your program to be competitive in a better division before moving down so quickly. Even Kaiser won one title then asked to move up to a more competitive division.
    I would guess if Damien or St Francis won 8 titles in 10 seasons, then either team would be asking to play up and see what they’re made of even if they got cracks in the beginning years of being in a higher division.

    The point is, if you dominate a division for a long time, develop and challenge your program to move up.

    @broken spoke
    Agreed, talk is cheap especially when you say something is “guaranteed” and you have no facts to back up your claim.

  11. Coach B August 5, 2018 4:54 pm

    @To Da House

    I understand that you have a reasonable point, and I agree that complaining about moving up divisions isn’t conducive to a strong competitive environment. The problem though is that, how do you suppose they develop their program? Recruit?

    I’d argue that Iolani has one of the strongest developmental coaching staffs in the state, but they just don’t have the same level of raw talent as other D1 and Open Division schools. They actually reach their potential. If you actually look at their roster they really have a D2 roster. Their heaviest player is 225 lbs. Half of their starting OL is under 200 lbs. By comparison St. Francis has a legit Open Division sized roster in D1.

    Let’s understand that it’s not their fault that they play the best game that they can with the hand that they are dealt.

  12. To da house August 5, 2018 5:42 pm

    It appears they became complacent dominating in the lower division. In the past (I guess way back when), they were very competitive. It seems like if they dont bring in the bigger players (and they could), then that would justify them staying in the lower division.
    I’d like to see them battle with StL, Pun and Kamehameha for the ILH title again (along with
    Damien and St Francis too).

  13. Coach B August 5, 2018 6:36 pm

    @To da house

    So just to be clear, you would rather have them recruit the talent that they could in order to compete with the top three ILH schools? Other wise they would have to wait to get home grown studs every now and then, but even that wouldn’t always be enough to compete with schools like St. Francis who really don’t make any effort to hide their larger athletic aspirations and recruiting efforts.

    I could probably argue that, overall, St. Francis recruits even more than Punahou. The only difference being that their larger student body increases the number of potential home grown talents like Kanawai Noa and countless QBs. However I don’t see anyone complain about St. Francis yet. Is it only because they recruit outside of the North Shore? Curious as to this double standard between the Punahou/iolani’s and the St. Francis/St. Louis’s.

  14. To da house August 5, 2018 8:24 pm

    @coach B
    Appreciate the comments.
    I want to see more ILH teams compete and battle with StL who is at the top. It makes things interesting when several teams can realistically compete to be champs. This year, teams like Mililani, Kapolei and Campbell could possibly give Kahuku a hard time to go back to back in the OIA.

    To answer your question, I think they should do some form of “recruiting” IF they want to move up and compete with the top teams.

  15. !!! August 6, 2018 12:21 am

    @to da house

    Recruiting isn’t the way to go. Boys want to go play at Stl and they do attract some of the best talent in the state just because of their success, their is little recruiting involved there. But teams like st Francis, and Punahou, recruiting is arguably present. Yea, `Iolani is small but they aren’t quitters becasue they are well coached. You can’t just go comparing `Iolani to the top dogs of the state, especially Stl and Punahou, just because of their ILH status. `Iolani probably plays the best ball in the state with what they have with no recruiting. Size doesn’t compare to good coaching and hear which those boys definitely have. Don’t get me wrong, teams like Stl, Punahou, Kahuku, Campbell have good coaching, heart, AND size, it definitely shows. `Iolani scrimmaged and did well against much larger teams such as Roosevelt and Wai’anae, with their 4, 200+ lbs kids on their team.

    The divisions are set up as they are for a reason, their is no real reason why a team like `Iolani should have to play top dogs in the state weekly just to “challenge themselves”. They will be playing against teams they ,ya be bigger than the, but match up well this year. Don’t count the raiders out this year.

  16. Broken Spoke August 6, 2018 5:46 am

    TDH Good points but your original thesis that STL would drop 70 points on Iolani was hostile and meritless. STL would never intentionally do that to a fellow ILH opponent (except in the late 90s when they accidentally scored 82 on Damien which actually lead to the ILH splitting into 2 divisions). Iolani pulled their starters after the first quarter and have a lot of respect for Kalani as many of the kids from each team as well as some of their played together at Kalani Pop WarnerI agree that Iolani should be reviled for poaching victories in Div II for over a decade and half but the program is on the upswing. Your subsequent comments are on point and sorry for the “guaranteed” remark it was low rent on my part.
    Coach B right on point re: St. Francis recruiting and would be remiss in failing to mention how STF football program has created a tremendous financial burden on this tiny Catholic School.

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