Up front, it is all business for Kahuku.
Coming into a scrimmage with No. 1-ranked Kamehameha, two offensive linemen went down with injuries. Next man up. Kahuku scored five touchdowns in five series during the modified scrimmage, mixing rollouts and two-back, shotgun power runs in a display of balance. Kamehameha played reserves from start to finish.
The Warriors’ bye week was an opportunity to get some action for both those second- and third-stringers, while the visiting Red Raiders enjoyed their first action against an opponent since the fall of 2019.
Running backs found themselves trucking through sizable gaps between the tackles, but part of that was necessitated by Kahuku’s scheme. Quarterbacks Jason Mariteragi and Waika Crawford were quick on rollouts and precise on short and intermediate sideline passes.
“We are lucky that we have great quarterbacks. We’ve got a good set of skilled players out there, not just great running backs,” head coach Sterling Carvalho said. “We’re very fortunate we have a stable of great running backs. There’s no shortage of running backs at Kahuku. Hat’s off to Lalio Kaluna (5-11, 200), our senior captain. Clyde Taulapapa (5-11, 195). (Manulele Ah You, he scored a touchdown, and obviously Kelsyn Tengaro-Kanoa. He’s our x-factor on special teams and when he comes in, he brings that speed and explosiveness.”
The timing and execution — no false starts by their offensive line — was impressive.
“It started at the Pylons when we won the national championship with the Rebel Squad,” wide receivers and special teams coordinator Stuart Carvalho said. “It was made up of Kahuku players, so we’re running the same system. We’ve got the confidence. We’ve got the speed. We’ve got great running backs. All around on our skill position players, I think it’s the deepest we’ve ever been.”
Assistant offensive line coach Manu Olevao has seen the transition of bulldozing smashmouth blockers in years past to a more versatile group.
“I see the product of a lot of help we had from the community during this break. The boys put in a lot of hard work. We practically had two years of waiting for something to happen. Coach Tala Esera, bringing all his wealth of knowledge from different levels he’s been at, and the dedication of the boys. We got a good look tonight,” Olevao said.
Left tackle Judah Kaio (6-2, 280) was in crutches coming into the scrimmage. Then right tackle Manny Marquardsen (6-2, 240) got hurt during 1v1 matchups with Kamehameha linemen.
“What you saw today was something we put together at the last minute. Sione (Heimuli, 6-4, 370), who’s normally our starting right guard, he filled in (at right tackle). Roebeck Rupp (6-4, 350), who’s our left guard, filled in (at left tackle),” Olevao said.
Because the team’s home field is under major renovation, they march over to Kahuku District Park next door every day for practice. No goalposts. That made Carvalho, the special teams coach, quite satisfied.
“We never did kick a field goal or extra point until today,” he said.
Kainoa “Kaikai” Carvalho made two of his three PAT kicks despite a merciless 30-mph wind, and Horyzen Farley displayed tremendous depth on his kickoffs. Into the wind, it was a struggle, but with the wind at his back, the ball sailed beyond the end zone.
Head coach Sterling Carvalho was grateful to Kamehameha and its co-athletic director, Reggie Torres, for welcoming the Red Raiders.
“I’m very thankful to (Kamehameha Schools) president (Dr. Taran) Chun for allowing this. Coach Reggie, coach Abu (Ma‘afala) for allowing us to play, and to Farrington, for sure, for letting us use this field,” he said. “Thank you for making this happen.”
Defensively, Big Red swarmed and tackled, shutting out Kamehameha’s reserves.
“Offensively and defensively, there are little things we need to fix. Lining up in the proper alignments. Those things we need to clean up,” Sterling Carvalho said.
The scrimmage was live streamed on Kamehameha’s site.
“Nothing to hide. Everybody knows Kahuku. We’ve just got to be prepared,” the head coach said. “We’re going to get everyone’s best, so we have to be ready.”