Kahuku adds athlete Mana Fonoimoana-Vaomu to QB rotation

Kahuku senior Mana Fonoimoana-Vaomu (1), who played quarterback at times against Kamehameha, was brought down by the Warriors' Ezra Evaimalo (43) during this 2019 game. Kahuku and Kamehameha will play in an exhibition game on Oct. 9 at Farrington High School. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

When Kahuku’s Mana Fonoimoana-Vaomu lined up behind center and took the team’s first snaps at quarterback against Kamehameha, it wasn’t a gimmick.

Fonoimoana-Vaomu was primarily a safety as a sophomore and junior. He still lined up in the secondary against the Warriors and also held punting responsibilities for the Red Raiders.

But quarterback was also on the list of duties for the 5-foot-10, 182-pound senior, who completed his only pass attempt for four yards and rushed eight times for 52 yards and a touchdown in a 21-13 win over No. 6 Kamehameha at Carlton E. Weimer Field.

“During the offseason, that’s when I started rotating in at quarterback,” he said. “Just wanted to start off with a bang. If we told people and word got around, they would expect more running packages. We just wanted to come out and win this game.”


Kahuku ended up needing all the contributions it could get from Fonoimoana-Vaomu, who also recorded a tackle and caught the game-sealing interception to preserve the win.

“To be honest, I’m sore,” he said. “It was a long night but hey, we pulled it off. I’d do anything to help the team out.”

Fonoimoana-Vaomu’s playmaking skills were evident as a sophomore during a memorable 45-yard takeaway for a touchdown in the 2017 OIA championship game, a 35-31 win for the Red Raiders over Mililani. His junior season was cut short due to knee and ankle injuries that caused him to miss the latter half of the season.

Coach Sterling Carvalho was asked about Kahuku’s quarterback competition at the start of the team’s fall camp. At the time, it was between senior Robbie Sauvao and sophomores Jason Mariteragi and Tiger Adolpho.

Sauvao was the only one of the three to have starting experience last year. He is no longer listed on the Kahuku roster after relocating to California around a week ago in what Carvalho calls a “family decision.”

“I always told the players and their parents that I would never get in the middle of what you decide as a family,” Carvalho said. “These are family decisions, we’re just here as coaches to support whatever decisions families make.”

Even if Fonoimoana-Vaomu had never played quarterback in an official game before Saturday night, Carvalho made it clear he wants the ball in his hands.

“He’s an athlete. We can put him anywhere,” Carvalho said. “We could’ve put him at quarterback, running back, receiver, safety, corner. He’s like our Kawe Johnson. Our jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. An athlete deserves to be on the field.”

The Red Raiders were in control for the vast majority of the game, opening up a 21-0 lead after Fonoimoana-Vaomu’s 7-yard rushing score with 4:23 left in the third quarter.

Kamehameha clawed back into the game with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Warriors burned all their timeouts by the time Kahuku got the ball back with 3:09 left. Fonoimoana-Vaomu ran the ball for 31 yards but fumbled it at the end of the run, giving Kamehameha another chance to tie the game.

“It comes with having an athlete,” Carvalho said. “You can’t fault a kid for trying to make plays, especially Mana. He wants the ball. He wants to make plays.”

Fonoimoana-Vaomu picked off Kiai Keone on fourth-and-long before the Red Raiders took one last knee to end the game.

“I felt relieved,” he said. “Coming up with that long run and fumbling at the end, I wasn’t expecting it, but the interception at the end relieved all the stress.”

The Kahuku defense was led by linebacker Kana Fonoimoana-Vaomu, whose six tackles, three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks were all team highs. Brothers Mana and Kana are seniors, despite Mana being a year older. Both are committed to play for Navy next fall.

Before both head off to Annapolis, expect Mana to see more time at quarterback, even though Adolpho and Mariteragi both got reps against Kamehameha as well. Carvalho said he’d still put the ball in Mana’s hands even if Sauvao had never departed.

“We still would use Mana,” he said. “Why not? He’s something special.”


  1. Soleuce August 11, 2019 6:28 am

    Ever since the letting go of Reggie Torres kahuku football hasn’t been the same. Couple bright years under Vae Tata but that’s it. This has to be fixed. Changing coaching staffs every year is a terrible decision. Terrible for the kids! The powers that be have to put there ego aside and do what’s right for the kids!

  2. 88 August 11, 2019 9:27 am

    Amen my brada….

  3. notes August 11, 2019 9:29 am

    with the amount of recruiting the ILH does, we gotta do what we can to get that edge. but you right though. the coaching carousel has got to stop, but even when the carousel is going, nobody can step to us

  4. Bogus night August 11, 2019 10:33 am

    What did Kahuku do last night ? Nutn. First off , first touchdown they scored was bogus, the RB fumbled before he got in lol, watch the game on tv point blank fumbled the ball before he got in,, so take that away, pick 6 was given to them, mistake with mugged punt from Kamehameha, other than that, Kahuku didn’t show anything last night, same old boring offense. Yes still need coaching changes alright .

  5. Nala August 11, 2019 11:05 am

    Bogus night…you must be cheerleader…polo…

  6. Soleuce August 11, 2019 12:26 pm

    @bogus night lol oka u seem like an angry warrior lol kahuku didn’t do anything except control the line of scrimmage and shut down Kamehameha. If they didn’t put there subs in the score could’ve been 42-0. Just be happy we made it worse for ourselves than we needed to. Ugly win but a win is a win. Learn and move forward.

  7. 808 August 11, 2019 1:03 pm

    First Team Defense looks good for Kahuku. They should keep them in games.

    Tiger Adolpho is their QB. Good size and good arm, it was his varsity game…he didn’t look that comfortable but he’ll get better throughout the season. Just ride with him, he’s a Sophomore…he has a offer for a reason.

    Coaching and play calling looks like is there weakness for this year.

  8. Mahatma Gandhi August 11, 2019 1:10 pm

    So knows what ever happened to one Sol-Jay Maiava? He would be a senior at Kahuku this year. Does he still have an offer from Michigan?
    So who knows what happened to Robbie Sauvao? Did the entre ohana relocate, of just him was sent to the mainland?
    And who knows how many Kahuku players got stolen by the ILH this year? The parents will say it’s all about education. I say it’s the pride and satisfaction that the ILH wanted them and that their keiki got in there for free.

  9. NewToThis August 11, 2019 1:59 pm

    Just curious…as I see all the comments about recruitment…I hear most kids don’t get free rides, we know some do, but majority don’t. So if the families pay for perceived better opportunities, should be ok? Yes/No?

  10. Hau’ulaBoy August 11, 2019 2:30 pm

    Yes. And if the kid and family wants to go, more power to them. Even if the kid is recruited, who cares? Me, myself, I wish them the best. Got choke talent down there. No need be greedy. But when Kahuku still wins, it only shows the resilience of the team and community. We are RR4L.

  11. Info August 11, 2019 4:45 pm

    SolJay is up in DC at St. John’s. He committed to BYU on Father’s Day. They are close to the Villa family, which I know has nothing to do with this thread. However, just as Kahuku loses players, they also gain. Rumor is that Telryn Villa, a 6’3″ guard with a 45 inch vertical leap is set to come to Hawaii for school. This is the nephew of Brandyn Akana and brother of Jessiya Villa. Kahuku probably has the edge on getting him.

  12. Real Talk on HawaiiPrepWorld August 11, 2019 4:46 pm

    if Kahuku keeps their 1st team defense in all game, Kamehameha scores nothing.

  13. Obake August 11, 2019 4:53 pm

    Is Kahuku football dead? I remember just to mention their name would strike fear in the hearts of opponents. You knew you were going to get hit and get hit often. Now doesn’t seem to be the case. Where is that ferociousness that they had? Please find it. High school football in Hawaii needs Kahuku to be Kahuku again.

  14. Hau’ulaBoy August 11, 2019 5:50 pm

    Pbake: They change the rules so Kahuku has to play paddy cake football. No more snot knocking, okole dropping, Katooshing Red Raiders. More safe for everybody else.

  15. ??? August 11, 2019 8:29 pm

    Hau’ula boy is right, Hawaii football is becoming a patty cake style league. I’m all for safety but when EVERY Big hit is called Targeting by these terrible refs the game becomes boring to watch. Let the Keiki play!!

  16. Obake August 11, 2019 10:53 pm

    I hear you guys on that. I miss the old day and the ways of football. Hitting and running.

  17. Bubu August 12, 2019 3:28 pm

    Take away the free touchdown before the half lol game turns out different. High school replay we need it, after this game , Kahuku got a free touchdown .

  18. islandman August 12, 2019 7:16 pm

    11. Telryn Villa also played for Kahuku in 2016-17.

  19. PartlyCloudy August 12, 2019 8:11 pm

    Yeah, ever since they took Larry Price away, no more katoosh. Katooshhhhh. My All Katoosh Team. Katoosh of the Game. Katoosh Trophy. Till Price started announcing the Turkey Day games in the 2000’s, just before Felipe took over.

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