After 426 yards and three touchdowns through the air against Pac-Five, ‘Iolani senior Tai-John Mizutani is in the 6,000-yard club.
Mizutani led the Raiders to a 55-20 win over a gritty Pac-Five squad on Saturday afternoon at Aloha Stadium. He also joined the exclusive club, becoming only the 15th passer on Oahu to reach the 6,000-yard mark. He did much of it against a tough ILH Division I schedule the past two seasons.
Here’s the updated record book.
As a sophomore, Mizutani passed for 1,855 yards and 12 TDs with 15 interceptions in nine games. Last season, he threw for 2,522 yards and 17 TDs and just nine picks in 12 games. So far in ’17, he has accumulated 1,678 yards and 14 TDs with six picks as of today’s win over Pac-Five.
The totals: 6,055 passing yards and 43 passing TDs. There are three more games left in round 1 of the ILH D-II schedule, then at least one game in the second round. Should ‘Iolani reach the state tournament, that would mean two or perhaps there more games.
Mizutani is third to Kiran Kepo‘o and Reece Foy in the Raiders’ record book. Kepo‘o did his work against a schedule that included the ILH’s best teams.
“It’s great. You look back at our school and you think of all the quarterbacks, Kela Marciel and Reece Foy, these are all guys that left a legacy. It’s an honor, but it doesn’t really mean anything. We have a whole season left to go,” Mizutani said.
‘Iolani coach Wendell Look echoed the sentiment.
“Individually, that’s a good thing for him, but I think he’d rather have championships,” Look said.
Mizutani wasn’t the only Raider to have a special day. Sophomore wide receiver Carter Kamana broke the previous single-game receiving yardage mark by hauling in 10 passes for 222 yards with two touchdowns. The previous mark of 220 receiving yards was set by Keoni-Kordell Makekau in 2013, also against Pac-Five.
Mizutani already holds the top three single-game passing yardage marks, including the record of 503 yards against Kaimuki three weeks ago. On Saturday, he completed 31 passes in 40 attempts without a pick, distributing the ball from sideline to sideline. Justin Genovia (82 yards), Rayden Kaneshiro (42 yards) and Jonah Miyazawa (63 yards) each had six receptions.
“We have to take what they give and keep the defense honest. When I can run, it really helps our passing game,” Mizutani said.
The Raiders meet first-place Damien next week.
“It’s exciting. Damien is a great team. We all watched the game (Friday night). We all knew how good Damien is and how hungry they are. Our homecoming next Friday is going to be a big game,” Mizutani said.
The Raiders’ first win in league play after losses to Damien and St. Francis could be the pivotal point they needed.
“It’s Damien and St. Francis at the top and until we can reestablish ourselves, it goes through them,” Look said. “So hopefully we can regroup and hopefully we’re getting better every day, every week. That’s what we’ve been preaching to them. That’s what we need to do to compete with those guys.”
Technically, the four teams are competing for the ILH D-II title. Beyond that, Damien and St. Francis will compete for the league’s lone berth in the HHSAA D-I state tournament, while ‘Iolani and Pac-Five will battle for a D-II state berth. Look considers all of that much too far into the future to focus on.
“That was the least on our mind. It was just playing well ourselves and taking care of what we need to do,” he said. “So there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. In order to compete with Damien and St. Francis, at this time, we have to play pretty perfect, so that’s the goal.”
—Jason Kaneshiro contributed to this report