The idea for this post came Wednesday while sitting in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser sports department.
Sportswriter Billy Hull was watching a video of a Baldwin football player and said, “Look at this. This kid is incredible. I don’t know if it’s his speed or if the other players are just slow.”
OK, so we were about to tape a segment for StarAdvertiser.com — two talking heads — about the football state-tournament openers this weekend.
Baldwin (8-3) is playing Waianae (8-3) at Aloha Stadium on Friday, so Billy made sure to write the player’s name down for reference when the taping began.
And so he did: La‘akea Kahoohanohano-Davis.
Sure enough, Hull talked on tape about the kid who does a little bit of everything for the Bears. Mainly, he’s a free safety, a wide receiver and a kick and punt returner.
When it came time for the other talking head to suggest to Hawaii high school football fans to be sure to watch his highlight video on the Internet, he waffled a bit on his name and almost gave up and called for a restart (not live TV). Writing it down first, like Billy, would have helped. Hull saved the day and pronounced it again for the viewers, and we both told them to google the video “if you can spell his name.”
Through all of these shenanigans, the idea crystallized: Put Kahooohano-Davis’ video on Hawaii Prep World so Oahu fans can check him out before he gets here tomorrow.
And, maybe we can reach him or his coach and see what he’s all about.
First, the video. There are actually two, one from his sophomore year and one from this, his senior season. As a junior a year ago, he suffered a serious elbow injury against Edison, Calif., in the Bears’ first game and missed the rest of the season.
In the videos, he’s making all kinds of plays. The words that stick out after watching them are “closing speed” and “open-field tackles.” He is immense at both.
And then there are the many interceptions and punt returns for touchdowns along with a blocked field goal and some long touchdown receptions.
Hawaii Prep World spoke to both La‘akea and his father, Desmond Davis, on the phone Thursday night.
When Desmond was reached, he said La‘akea was out getting his haircut and would call back.
In the meantime, the dad mentioned that Utah State, Oregon State, Fresno State and Snow College have shown an interest in his son, but there aren’t any offers yet.
When La‘akea returned and called back, he recalled his 12 TDs this season. It breaks down to four on interception returns, a kick return, a punt return and six via the pass.
Returning kicks and punts is the 6-foot-1, 180-pound all-purpose player’s favorite thing to do on the football field.
“I have that chance to change the momentum of the game,” said La‘akea, whose full name is Anthony La‘akea Kahoohanohano-Davis and who goes by La‘a. “I love that moment.”
He also talked about how the team fought back from a slow start to win the Maui Interscholastic League Division I championship to qualify for states.
“It’s a great privilege to play in the state tournament,” Kahoohanohano-Davis said. “There are a lot of good teams and great competition. It’s going to be fun.”
He was a part of the Bears’ team in 2013 that lost 21-3 to Farrington in the opening round, and he’s looking for a better result this time.
“I know Waianae is a physical team,” he said. “I watched their game last week. They like to talk, but we are not going to let that get into our heads and we’ll just play our game.”
Just before the phone call finished, there was one last question that should be asked of any athlete who just happens to get a haircut the night before a state-tournament appearance.
“What kind of haircut did you get, a Mohawk?”
Of course. Got to prepare in style.
It turns out he got what’s called a Faux Hawk, a faded Mohawk.
Stylin’ for sure, but not as much as in the two video links below.