Kahuku guards OIA title with its life

Kahuku's Sol-Jay Maiava eluded the Mililani rush during the Red Raiders' 35-31 victory in the OIA Division I championship game at Aloha Stadium on Saturday night. Steve Erler / Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Kahuku doesn’t give away football titles easily.

The third-ranked Red Raiders came back from a 21-7 deficit by turning the tables on No. 2 Mililani on Saturday night for a 35-31 victory for the OIA Division I championship at Aloha Stadium.

Surprised? Not if you are from Kahuku. The Red Raiders got it done to win an OIA title for the 19th time in the last 29 seasons, the 26th time overall and the third season in a row.

Mililani (10-1) failed in its bid to win a fourth title in eight years. The Trojans’ 14-game winning streak was also broken.

With 1:34 to go, Kaonohi Kaniho made an over-the-shoulder, 28-yard TD catch of a Sol-Jay Maiava throw for the final dagger.

Kahuku coach Makoa Freitas, Mr. Understatement, said it best afterward: “It was a good throw. It was good.”

Yes it was. And before that, so was Dillon Gabriel‘s 11-yard TD strike to Kilifi Malepeai with less than 5 minutes to go for a 31-28 Mililani lead that just didn’t hold up in the end.

Maiava had a fantastic night, throwing for 248 yards and avoiding the Mililani rush with pocket-movement ability. He is beginning to truly come into his own.

Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu, however, showed what can best be described as that true Red Raiders never-say-die attitude. He turned the game around. Trailing 24-21, he ripped the ball out of a Mililani receiver’s hands and pin-balled off about three or four Mililani defenders, refusing to go down and successfully getting into the end zone from 45 yards out. It gave the Red Raiders a 28-24 lead, the first time they were ahead all game. It also gave Kahuku more of a reason to believe.

“I saw the ball and I wanted to get it back for the offense,” Fonoimoana-Vaomu said. “The feeling (of winning) is inexpressible. … We played our hearts out.”

Kahuku’s defense kept the high-scoring Trojans down in the second half and that also made a big difference.

“Our coverages were a bit off in the first half,” Fonoimoana-Vaomu said. “We came back and talked about our coverages and reads and tried to execute every single play.”

Mililani coach Rod York knows when his offense is being suppressed, mostly because it doesn’t happen very often.

“We didn’t put up enough (points),” he said. We lost the game. Credit Kahuku though. They earned it and they took it from us.”

So now for Kahuku (10-1), it’s on to play Waianae (7-4) — a team it defeated 37-0 on Aug. 18 — in the state Division I-Open semifinals next Friday at Aloha Stadium.

“We’ll get healthy and then we’ll get ready for that,” said Freitas, who had some positive words for Mililani.

“Our defense has been good all year,” he added. “I can’t say enough about the Mililani team and the effort they’ve shown. If we play them again, who knows who’s going to win. Hat’s off to them and the effort they showed tonight.”

The Trojans have a much tougher road to the final. They play No. 1 and defending state champion Saint Louis (8-0) in the other semifinal matchup Friday.

“It’s gonna be a tough matchup,” York said. “We just gotta regroup and we’ll be right back at it.”


  1. Grabum.by.da.puppy November 5, 2017 12:26 am

    Oia2 an 3 shuld b game ova, 1vs1 oia ilh prep bowl

  2. Adrianne Holbron November 5, 2017 4:12 am

    The Red Raiders had to guard against bad officiating. I don’t know what was worse the officiating, or the overexaggerated commentators.

  3. 88 November 5, 2017 4:33 am

    Ahhhh shudup…. Go drink some bleach… 26 baby!

  4. Grabum.by.da.puppy November 5, 2017 6:32 am

    bleach alredy in tap water enstein

  5. Toomeke November 5, 2017 6:54 am

    Defended against Milz and refs. Great game. Milz is real deal. Hats off to Trojans. Fire da refs.

    Hope Milz gets better refs next week cuz on an even playing field they beat St LuLu.



  6. KoaOkoolauloa November 5, 2017 7:00 am

    Hats off to the refs we were the 12 players for Mililani.

  7. Coach K November 5, 2017 7:56 am

    Congrats to The Red Raider Nation…Way to keep composure and keep fighting to the end..I must say, that was the worst officiating game I ever saw….totally the worst….RRFL..GO BIG RED

  8. Ed Hochuli November 5, 2017 8:59 am

    I expected to see Kahuku get beat last night but if they did, it would have been because of the refs. Not a Kahuku fan but I give props to them for eating all the trash the refs force fed them. Announcer said they were a veteran crew. I hope that’s not the best they have cuz if it is, zebras are gonna take home the Koa this year!

  9. anywaaaays!! November 5, 2017 9:20 am

    Mililani had 14 players on the field last night: The refs, the team’s recruiter, and the ILH agenda and we still smoked them. But to be honest, I wouldn’t mind if we lost, because it would’ve been fun to knock st lulu out in the first round and then smash mililani AGAIN. RRFL!

  10. ahinalu November 5, 2017 9:52 am

    Kahuku Just Refused to Lose !
    Kahuku Red Raiders the Pride of The North Shore.

  11. Toomeke November 5, 2017 11:04 am

    It was so bad even Hernandez said those three calls/non-calls wer bogus:

    1- Lefaus TD not called a TD

    2- Gabriel’s fumble into end zone not called a touchback

    3- bogus crackback block on the kickoff return.

    Just to name a few.

    And to be honest Milz had some crappy calls too. Just not any that affected score like Lefaus non-TD.

  12. Douglas Hu November 5, 2017 11:23 am

    SolJay played great last night, CONGRATS BIG RED!

  13. Anonymous November 5, 2017 12:24 pm

    You Red Raider Fans should be a bit more humble. Thats Ok though when St Louis stuffs it down your throat again this year maybe it will stop the stupid a## comments that come out your mouth.

  14. Diamonds Are Forever November 5, 2017 12:43 pm

    Hats off to Mililani. That is one heck of a team with a QB that can scan the field & pick apart a secondary. Then you have Sol-Jay who’s athleticism mirrors that of Marcus Mariota. Kahuku should have no problem with Waianae. And i think Mililani will beat St. Louis. they have the offense to go toe to toe with the Crusaders.

    KAHUKU vs MILILANI part 2 for the State Championship?????

  15. RR4LIFE living the lie November 5, 2017 12:57 pm

    LMAO… Mililani gets complacent with their early lead then their WRs drop TWO game winning TDs that were right in their hands and the delusional Kahuku flunkies still come in here strutting their 5’6” 300 pound selves like they actually proved something. Recognize that you lucked out and that Gabriel was the better QB by far last night. I was with some StL peeps last night and they were salivating at Kahuku’s DB play and stone age blitz only defensive schemes. BWAHAHAHA!!! Watching a game where a bunch of out of country recruits win only because of physical superiority (and despite their pop warner coaching) makes you appreciate coaches like Iolani’s Wendell Look whose knowledge of the game and preaching of precision, fundamentals and character make for a perfect “One Team” concept and good people in general (GPAs, test scores, etc.). Wendell Look is one of the best HS coaches in the country.

    Ed Hochuli – go back to messing up games, you failure of a ref

  16. Recruit dis November 5, 2017 1:05 pm

    Toomeke- so what happen to your so called defense. You said Bingham only scored 17 but mililani puts up that much on you guys. Just imagine if narbonne played you guys. That’s why I said style makes matchups. You cannot say this team would’ve did this and that team would’ve did that if they played. That’s why you play the game and obviously kahukus weakness is the pass. Anyways good job to sol jay but he is not the best Qb in the state but this was a big step for him. Congrats kahuku and remember I picked them to win a close one.

  17. Reppin the VILLE November 5, 2017 1:16 pm

    Trojan boys, keep heads up awesome game. Bounce back next week. We ain’t done. Red Raider boys, well earned and deserved! Hats off to you boys. Now that’s what I call a football game. Such a treat last night! Good luck to both teams in the states

  18. ??? November 5, 2017 2:02 pm

    Besides his early fumble, Sol Jay played like a senior veteran. It’s scary that he’s only a sophomore and is only getting better.
    One of the best games I have witnessed and hope to see a rematch.

  19. ??? November 5, 2017 2:47 pm

    Lessons from Kahuku win:
    Play smart from the start (penalties & mistakes)
    Nawahine is Good but not a short yardage back (use Lefau for that).
    Kahuku CAN pass the ball (Sol Jay).
    Defense wins Championships (Miki Ah You & company).
    Don’t listen to anybody outside your locker room (Media).
    Payback for STL or Mililani (win 2017 State Title).

  20. Oline52 November 5, 2017 2:54 pm

    Oh when the saints come marching in, oh when the saints come marching in. Back to back coming up on dem Red Raiders.

  21. ??? November 5, 2017 3:02 pm

    Mililani lessons:
    HC needs to lead by example (sideline outburst, staff wearing hats on backwards like Thugs).
    Players being cocky before & during game ( be humble).
    Turnovers (fumbles, interceptions stopped at goal line).
    Forget this game ( prep for STL).

  22. HobraH November 5, 2017 3:11 pm

    Kahuku showing their class as usual during and after the game. Boo the other kids, taunt injured players, throwing water bottles on the field, taunt the losing team leaving the stadium after the game, I guess gotta be happy when other kids playing football is literally the only thing you have in life to be happy about.

  23. ??? November 5, 2017 4:02 pm

    Talking about team and coaches not stupid fans!

  24. "UNITY=STRENGTH" November 5, 2017 4:47 pm

    You need attitude playing football that’s the cherry on the cake confidence is everything and what makes a Champion if thats taken away the game could shift to the other side at that moment especially playing these mainland or high caliber teams believe me. you cant enter or play a game being a “Leave it to Beaver”in these games a lost at the least or people getting hurt at the worst going in solid and coming out solid regardless if you win or lose. After the game they can be friends again and going back to being family.

  25. 808footballfan November 5, 2017 4:58 pm

    Each team, played with heart, the best of plays from each side, lot of mistakes, watching on TV made it for an exciting game as well. HC Mililani, fought for what he thought was right just across as being a bully, lack of respect for the refs, rule of the game, and breaking his own policy of rules he expects from own coaching staff and players. Look forward to the rest of the playoff games.

  26. Dafun November 5, 2017 6:24 pm

    I’m glad finally people are seeing how crappy the kahuku fans act after every single big game. It’s not just me that notices that now. That’s why when I was at Buffalo Wild Wings last night watching the game I was really hoping Mililani would of continued their first quarter play all game. But hats off to both teams and I really pray the kahuku fans can just wake up and stop thinking they’re god’s gift to earth and that kahuku football is the best ever

  27. Douglas Hu November 5, 2017 9:03 pm

    Nawahine is an everydown back…..

  28. Awrite!! November 5, 2017 10:43 pm

    Anywaaaays!! is the bitter Punahou alum making trouble for Kahuku. LOL! no life!

    Dafun – The tv did not show the impact of all the bad ref calls made against Kahuku in big play situations, to make the penalties even they call Mililani for petty 5 yarder calls. The fans are completely sick of it but should not have thrown a bottle. For all we know it could have been that Punahou guy “Anywaaaaays!!!” dressed in red throwing the bottle. Kahuku haters will do anything to sabotage the program and their success. Just like in 2010 when the whistle blower from Leilehua outed kahukus 4th string benchwarming ineligible player.

    Haters gonna hate!

  29. ??? November 6, 2017 8:27 am

    @Douglas Hu
    Except 3rd or 4th and short, put him at slot and use Lefau!!

  30. Douglas Hu November 6, 2017 9:58 am

    Yup…leave your best players on the field at all times..

  31. TooMeke November 6, 2017 10:43 am

    @Dafun – we just think we’re God’s gifts to ourselves, our families, our kids and our communities.

    Cannot help if others hate on how we celebrate = all out…like how we play. Play to win…celebrate the win.

    You keep on hating…we’ll keep on winning and celebrating. Go drink some more of your glass half empty…



  32. Dafun November 6, 2017 11:42 am

    Haha I’ll drink when you guys lose 😉

  33. 88 November 6, 2017 12:11 pm

    You going be one thirsty biznatch….

  34. Saint November 6, 2017 1:32 pm

    Keep drinking keyboard warrior

  35. RR4Life Living the LIe November 6, 2017 8:45 pm

    My prediction, STL will put Mililani in Mercy Rule. After that they beat Kahuku by at least 14. We was at this junction last year and all you Kahuku fans who post on here was talking about how Kahukus D was so shut down and how STL didn’t have a chance. You dummies never learn. Take that quiet trip back to the Arm Pit of Oahu, I mean North Shore. Saint Louis will continue to win just like in the 80s and 90s until Cal decides to leave. Brings back memories to guys like 88, toomeke, and the rest of you idiots. The reason they like to troll on these boards is because they was part of the Red Raider teams that would always, always, always lose the Prep Bowls. Ta Ta Fags. Enjoy coming in second. Just like you did oh so long ago. I will never post here under this name again. Anyone doing so, it is not me. Ill just leave this here for all the Red Whiner Fans. Your community has nothing to be proud of once STL goes back to dominating. Have fun giving that rip off church of yours 10% while you continue to be broke. Morons, i mean Mormons. Keep following that made up religion. Make sure to put on your holy I mean holey under ware and praying to the golden salamander.

  36. The Red Raider Nation November 7, 2017 4:56 am

    Wow, I’ve never seen a person so hateful towards another community or school. I guarantee you that deep inside this scared little child was hurt or touched by someone in his family and is now probably lost and all alone with this anger and hatred towards people that are happy and are blessed with having each other’s support and love like our community does. It’s ok. If you feel better by belittling kids in hopes of hurting their feelings like yours have been, then do your thing. It’s called “mental masturbation”. You’re making yourself feel good in your head by poisoning these comment boards with your hate which really stems from yourself and whoever violated you. It’s very easy and self gratifying to take stabs at kids, schools, communities and religions when you’re angry, lonely ,full of hate, drowning in envy and hide behind various anonymous screen names. You should learn to love yourself and forgive your violators. It just might help you relieve all the hate and jealousy you have pent up in your heart. I know that deep down in your soul there is a lonely little boy who just wants to be loved for who you really are and would love nothing more than to be part of a community that loves you. We’re here for you when you’re ready to let go of the hate. We love you! #GoBigRed!

  37. Nailz November 7, 2017 6:06 pm

    RR4Life Living the Lie aka Louis Maiava (closet RR supporter) look up his FB page he always talking sh** abt Kahuku but he wears Kahuku shirts 😂🤣

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