Kahuku demolishes another in-state foe

Kahuku running back Elvis Vakapuna scored three touchdowns in the first half against Kapolei. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Kahuku running back Elvis Vakapuna scored three touchdowns in the first half against Kapolei. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Kahuku coach Vavae Tata‘s message to his team this week might seem a little far-fetched at first.

“Score one (touchdown) every drive,” running back Elvis Vakapuna said. “Coach stressed it a lot. We needed to score one (touchdown) every drive. That was our goal for tonight.”

The thing is, it’s not far-fetched. Not when you’re the No. 1 team in the state. Not when you’re the defending state champion. Not when you’re ranked No. 22 in the country by USA Today. And certainly not when you’ve pulverized the last 24 teams you’ve played from Hawaii.

Kahuku will attempt to win a ninth state championship next Saturday night at Aloha Stadium against Saint Louis following a 54-7 demolishing of Kapolei on Friday night.

Vakapuna scored three first-half touchdowns, Harmon Brown rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns and the Red Raiders (11-1) outscored the Hurricanes 47-0 over the final three quarters.

Kahuku had to punt the ball away on its first drive, but then scored on its next seven possessions with six touchdowns and a field goal. Kahuku’s defense added a safety and Kekaula Kaniho returned his fifth interception for a touchdown to complete another masterful performance.

“They’re on a different level in high school,” Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. “This tells you how good they are.”

Kahuku’s defense, which has only given up six touchdowns in 11 games against Hawaii opponents, garners so much of the attention. The offense deserves its share as well, rolling up at least 38 points against in-state competition for the eighth straight game.

Freshman quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava took advantage of a blown coverage to throw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Vakapuna in the second quarter and had a 47-yard run to set up another Kahuku TD.

Backup quarterback Cameron Renaud completed both of his passes, including a 9-yard TD to tight end Pua Falemalu.

In 11 games against in-state teams, Kahuku has won by a combined score of 551-43. The only thing in the way of a ninth state championship now is Saint Louis, which handled Waianae 42-7 in the other semifinal as easy as Kahuku did in either of its two meetings against the Seariders this season.

“They’re physical and they’re in shape,” Vakapuna said. “It’s going to be a good battle.”

If it is, it will be a first this year, because nobody from Hawaii has been able to come close to hanging with this group of Red Raiders.


  1. Hauula93 November 12, 2016 1:25 am

    Great job boys… One more game… Let’s show,what the Nation can do and what we are about…. we waited 3 months for this.. The NATION VS The Brotherhood… PREPRATION is the key…. Good luck…RRFL…

  2. Paper Crane November 12, 2016 1:49 am

    Congrats to Tata and his men of smasharoo like you prove that our EMPIRE can run all over them ELITE; knowingly Vavae this was a great game yet the next win is what you would say we have arrived with what we set out for; from the Nation of Red Raiders much mahalo, to you all, once again your victory made us proud; prayers of blessing to heal healthy and so rest up and reenergize the body and mind like prove the haters they’re mistaken. RR4L

  3. hossana November 12, 2016 2:41 am

    Like I said in all my comments this season and esp. last week was that Kahuku had too many quality players that can and will beat you no matter what kind of system runs or passes against them.
    This will be true once again against St. Louis who hasn’t played a physical team the likes of Kahuku and this was revealed in last year’s State title game when Kahuku just demolished St. Louis and the same result will once again be displayed in next week’s title game.

  4. LohuiLani November 12, 2016 6:48 am

    @Hauula93 (Nation vs. Brotherhood?) I notice that Kapolei and St. Louis like to wear their religions on their sleeves, it was the Mormons vs Hope Chapel last night and will be the Mormons vs. Catholics next week.

    I think the Mormons will continue to kill’um with kindness! 🙂

  5. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate November 12, 2016 7:34 am

    go to scoringlive.com and look at the team rosters. stlouis is the only team that did not turn in player profiles, he wants to make it harder for opposing teams to scout them. cal will do anything for an edge…and he has the nerve to lobby that the oia should unite with ilh for the sake of the kids, its not better for oia kids only your ilh kids. #sickofhisBS

  6. fan 1 November 12, 2016 7:46 am

    The best will play for the Championship this week. Good Luck to Vaevae Tata & Cal Lee. #1 Kahuku vs. #2 St.Louis, the stage is set, let the best team win, all outsiders, shhhhhhhhhh…

  7. Simple Simon November 12, 2016 7:46 am

    The media (and Kapolei) kept preaching about how spiritual of a bunch the Kapolei players are, but all I saw last night was bad attitude and no humility all night long from Kapolei. From beginning to the end. What a shame!!! I’m glad Kahuku PUNCHED THEM IN THEIR MOUTH!!!

  8. TheHeartlessPrick November 12, 2016 8:01 am

    Sugar Bowl on repeat!

  9. Red Raider in Seattle November 12, 2016 9:02 am

    I know Coach Tata. He loves the boys. But he wants to make the move back to college. The pace of HS Ball is too slow for him.

    I think he needs to be a position coach at the D1 level and work his way up like Kenny did at Navy.

    His resume might be impressive for Hawaii HS Ball. But it isn’t for a D1 coaching gig.

  10. Hadafakaya November 12, 2016 9:47 am

    Like the man said ” You gotta be Kefu when you play Kahuku” !

  11. Chloropicrin November 12, 2016 10:15 am

    And they will demolish next weeks opponent too. I always felt like this Kahuku’s Defense would not top last year’s, but damn they are close. I guess last year’s D had name players, whereas this year’s D had a bunch of unknowns who’s making a name for themselves. I believe that they will frustrate Tua again and their ground game will takeover.

    35-21 Kahuku

  12. Billy Hull November 12, 2016 10:18 am

    Here you go: http://www.hawaiiprepworld.com/saint-louis-football/saint-louis-2016/roster/

  13. Chloropicrin November 12, 2016 10:19 am

    Crusader’s defense is suspect to the run, I mean if Waianae can get chunks of yardage against them, imagine what kahuku will do? Waianae OC’s is incompetent that they would kill their drives by getting to fancy.

  14. AUWE November 12, 2016 11:39 am

    The biggest difference this year compared to last year is kahuku has an adequate passing game, if St. Louis stacks the box kahuku can burn them with the pass. Don’t think the crusaders can pull it off with just the pass alone, they gonna have to come up with a good running game. And if kahuku is willing to take that 15 yard penalty before the game even starts like they did last year! Well! You know how the story Ends… Good luck to bothe teams next week. Kinna sad it all ends next week But we definitely had some good football games to watch this year.

    And as far a people saying JJ sucks, atleast he got them this far. Farthest kapolei has ever gotten, doesn’t help that kapolei always draws the short straw and have to play kahuku in the qtrs every year and now the semis. They would have been better off losing to Waianae but no way they would have lost on purpose. Too much pride over there, they probably could have taken St. Louis if they did play.

  15. BigD November 12, 2016 3:46 pm

    Kahuku set the mercy rule in place every game this year except for 2.

  16. Alpha November 12, 2016 5:52 pm

    grabum.by.the.puppygate/anywaaays, you think that opposing coaches use the scoringlive website or player profiles on recruiting sites to scout players as opposed to.. you know.. game film? What an idiot you are.

  17. think of the kids November 12, 2016 5:54 pm

    “New Guy November 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm
    Admins please block that fool from ever posting again. Linking to a pornograohic website on a high school sports comment section is a new low. Our kids frequent these articles and unfortunately the comment section as well.”

    it’s also too bad that our kids have to read some of the arrogant rubbish posted by a lot of kahuku fans trashing kids and other programs.

  18. dirty plays by waianae November 12, 2016 6:08 pm

    AUWE: Kahuku has never burned anybody with the pass since da kine played, inoke funaki. Whatever passing stats Kahuku gets is always in rubbish time when they already up by plenty. If/when they beat Saint Louis, its gonna be because they ran the ball and physically dominated them on offense and defense. And they going win with way more class than what Waianae showed last night.

  19. Tutu Kane Ale November 12, 2016 6:43 pm

    @Red Raider in Seattle; about now everyone knows Coach Tata but his personal goals toward being at D1 is encouraging yet where can he do MORE then best for Hawaii’s football and that’s at home; only by what you wrote about HS Football being to slow for him but at the moment the results sure shows how well he has brought his HS football up to D1 speed/pace and that may just be happening with the 2016 Red Raiders but at D1 higher education level how many of our own from Hawaii football will make it to where he’s actually coaching at, like not even close to where and what’s in front of him today and his exposure and expertise will pay back more satisfaction whereas to bring up his kind of HS Level up to what’s D1 speed; but quality time and salary is essence to any coach and he’s super great with the players and they demand more and more from him like even their learning objectives are striving for D1 quality; So we will see, yet here’s hoping he will stay at Kahuku High whereas to make his HS Football Players D1 Level yet any top notch coach is a wanted coach and demands comes with their salary demand yet with all fairness besides the goals of the coach what’s important is what he ultimately strives for whereas only to make better then the best his players. For Red Raiders Nation him staying comes with job satisfaction along with sound fair contractual agreement. Praying that he stays for awhile. Enjoy RR4LE

  20. Simple Simon November 12, 2016 11:39 pm

    @dirty plays by waianae

    If you go back to Kahuku’s last 3 or 4 championships, you will see that Kahuku surprisingly passed in crucial situations in the Championship game.

    They used to be a “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” type of team. Now they are really implementing that passing game to compliment their smashmouth. It’s crazy!

    Kahuku 28
    St Louis 7

    (And I’m being very very generous to St Louis with that score)

  21. Red Raider in Seattle November 13, 2016 7:48 am

    Tutu, I am sorry but no HS Team in Hawaii plays at the D1 speed and level. While Kahuku is a great Hawaii team, there offensive packages are minimal at best.

    It’s not a fair comparison to put college D1 and any high school team in the same sentence. Most NCAA D1 program run sophisticated offense systems, even the less successful ones.

    Everyone know that Coach Tata is yearning to go back to coach at the college level. He gets paid about $3000-$5000 a year. As a positional coach at the D1 level he could make anywhere between $75000-$250000. Those numbers are not close.

    Sorry, but I don’t understand what you are trying to say in the rest of your post.


  22. 88 November 13, 2016 9:12 am

    I don’t think Tutu is talking about physical attributes when he refers to speed. We all know there is a big difference between a 17yr old high schoool kid and a 20yr old college student. He is probably referring to the way Tatas kids are able to break down film, mentally prepare themselves, recognize formations and adjust during games to shut down both run and pass happy teams.

  23. Red Raider in Seattle November 13, 2016 10:37 am

    88, I heard Coach Tata has been sending feelers out to D1 schools to gauge their interest in him coming to be a position coach. I went to the UW-USC game yesterday and there were a lot of Hawaii people up here. Many of them were talking about the upcoming STL vs. Kahuku game and how adding the extra ILH team was great for competition. Many prefer an 8 team tourney with no byes. My buddy who is the LB coach for UW told me that the DUI arrest so recently will really hurt Tata’s chance to get back to the D1 level where everyone is under a microscope with domestic violence, coaches turning the other cheek on problems, and the image of the universities being the most important. I think the 2 DUI’s kind of hurts the guy. Not too smart. If he wants to coach college ball again I suggest going to a D2 or D1 subdivision and proving he can stay clean. Then maybe a D1 would offer. But I definitely wouldn’t take the chance until he can prove he can make smart decisions coaching college when all the eyes are on you.

  24. 88 November 13, 2016 11:34 am

    There are coaches who have done way worse than a DUI that are still coaching to this day. Tata probably just upset the wrong person.

  25. Red Raider in Seattle November 13, 2016 1:17 pm

    88, possibly but were those coaches guys who are bringing in top level talent that could lead to million dollar payouts? Or was it a new coach who hasn’t established himself and made himself a risk early in his career? I haven’t heard about any college or NFL coaches who fled the scene of a crime. I understand if you do something bad but you have a track record if winning and making money then often things are either overlooked or swept under the rug. But I have rarely heard about a university sweeping under the rug a felony made by a position coach at a losing team like Vandy.

  26. 88 November 13, 2016 3:33 pm

    Yeah you right. Bring in the $$$$$ keep your job. It’s still wrong though. What can we do

  27. Red Raider in Seattle November 13, 2016 10:57 pm

    You cannot tell me that Briles when he was at Baylor, Petino at Louisville, and other coaches didn’t know some bad stuff was going on. They didn’t care since they winning.

  28. Alpha November 14, 2016 5:11 am

    It’s the schools integrity, some will look the other way (Penn State) and some have zero tolerance. . .

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