There were a lot of firsts for the ironmen of Kaimuki on Saturday night.
In a surprisingly easy 61-7 rout of Waialua at Toshi Nakasone Field, the Bulldogs racked up seven sacks and scored two defensive touchdowns — both a first this season. One of the defensive TDs was scored by steady two-way lineman Tasi Komiti on a fumble recovery in the end zone that extended the visitors’ lead to 41 points.
Kaimuki is now 2-0 in OIA Division II play (3-1 overall) and has renewed confidence since a nonconference loss to ‘Iolani. The visiting team amassed 569 total yards, including 295 rushing yards on 27 carries. Naomas Asuega-Fualaau had 183 yards and a TD on 13 carries. Kaimuki limited Waialua to 102 yards of total offense.
“This past game was a big springboard going into this week’s conference play. It showed us a lot of things that would ramp up our offense, that game against ‘Iolani,” Kaimuki coach David Tautofi said.
Another first, linebacker/slotback Kaulana Kaluna hauled in three touchdown passes from Jayden Maiava. The three TDs were consecutive — 8, 27 and 65 yards — and opened the lead to 26-0 early in the second quarter.
“A hat trick,” Kaluna said, confirming that this was his first three-TD game. “I feel good, but I feel exhausted.”
Both Komiti and Kaluna credited Maiava, a 6-foot-5 sophomore transfer from Sierra Vista (Nev.). Maiava grew up in the neighborhood before moving to Las Vegas. His first few weeks as the field general were relatively quiet. During a preseason tri-scrimmage with Campbell of the Open Division and Damien (D-I), the sophomore kneeled near the end of the sideline during the final minutes, watching quietly. Maiava is more comfortable now, and so are the Bulldogs.
“He’s humble. The first time he came here, he was quiet,” Komiti said. “He never talked to a lot of people, then we get to know him. We started to protect him and give him more time to deal to our skill (players).”
Studying the game takes commitment and passion. Numbers aren’t big, but dedication is there for the Bulldogs.
“We’ve been watching film all week,” said Maiava, who has scholarship offers from Auburn and Tennessee. “What we saw was the safety sitting in the middle of the field and there was one ‘backer strong on No. 3 (the safety),” the sophomore said. “Every time the ‘backer set up with No. 3, then he would fly with the arrow, I would throw it right behind him and (Kaluna) was there.”
Maiava finished 15-for-21 for 274 yards through the air with five TDs and no picks. He also rushed for 41 yards on four carries, scoring another touchdown.
“We can see he’s changing the way his mind works when he walks up to take the snap. He had a lot of faith in his linemen and showed what he’s capable of doing with his feet. This is a good game for him, but he can definitely improve on that,” Tautofi said. “(Waialua) changed up (coverage) a little different. We were actually looking at the hitches they might give up. They changed in our second series and it just happened we were able to adjust in game time.”
The Bulldogs in white and kelly green were fully prepared. Last week, some of the staff scouted Waialua’s 43-27 win over Canadian powerhouse Vincent Massey. This time, Waialua’s thin starting lineup, still affected by injuries, couldn’t contain Kaimuki’s big, physical talent in the trenches.
“It’s never fun to be on the receiving end and I’ve been there before,” Tautofi said. “Their team played hard on every down. For us, it’s a good step in the right direction for sure. They had a great week of practice and they all came out today.”