Kahuku pregame posture: cool confidence

Kahuku's seniors said goodbye to their home field on Friday night. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser

Things were pretty relaxed before Kahuku football practice Friday afternoon.

But don’t let that lack of intense emotion fool you. Behind the smiles and easy talk from the leaders on the field is an inner mechanism just waiting to go off into a controlled rage on cue tomorrow. Perhaps it will be timed to set off when the sea of red fans at Aloha Stadium do their first tomahawk chop or when the players gather for a haka, if they decide to perform one.

Either way it ends up, win or lose, these Kahuku Red Raiders (11-1) are playing in nothing less than the game of their lives — the Open Division championship against Saint Louis (9-0).

And why not keep their cool now, save themselves from distraction and store up that energy for when they really need it?

Enoch Nawahine is ready to roll into Aloha Stadium. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser

Fatu Atuaia, a menacing linebacker, was the poster child for that day-before attitude.

“We’re trying not to get too hyped,” he said. “It’s a big game and we’re not really worried about it. Staying cool.”

It’s no secret what Kahuku needs to do in order to win and that is to slow down the powerful offense of the Crusaders (9-0). More specifically, the best way to do that is by minimizing the damage that dual-threat quarterback Chevan Cordeiro can do.

“On defense, we’ve gotta corral the QB and cut his playground short,” Atuaia said. “If he gets out, he’s dangerous.”

There are a bunch of Red Raiders who were once members of the Saint Louis team. One of them is Feso Malufau, who plays defensive end and linebacker and who was with the Crusaders as a freshman and a sophomore and at Orem, Utah, as a junior.

“This is the most ready we’ve been all year, mentally” Malufau said. “We thought we were going to come in and smash Waianae (a 10-7 comeback win in the semifinals), and we were wrong. Coaches told us we gotta keep playing, even if we’re behind. It’s going to be a good game. We’re going to put up a helluva fight on both sides of the ball.”

Senior offensive lineman Cire Loo is another one with experience playing for the rival Crusaders, but he’s been with Kahuku for the past three years and this will be his third state championship game.

“Sophomore year (a 39-14 victory), that was a tough game,” he said. “We started off pretty slow, but coming to halftime, we made our fixes and executed. Last year was a sad moment and we lost in the end after starting strong.”

Feso Malufau ran through drills in Kahuku’s last practice of the year. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser

Junior linebacker Miki Ah You looked like a fish out of water last week against the Seariders, sitting on the bench with a knee injury and not getting in the game.

But Ah You is healthy now and he’s itching to get back out there.

“They (the Crusaders) are a pretty good team, but I think my team is better,” Ah You said. “It’s going to be close, but I think it’s going to come down to which team wants it the most and which team has the drive and has the assignments down better than the other team.”

Offensively, Kahuku gets a lot of mileage from running back Enoch Nawahine, but quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava‘s accuracy and ability to escape pressure is essential.

Maiava, who had a full limp at halftime of the win over Waianae and missed a few series before toughing it out and throwing the winning TD pass to Duke Heffernan, has had a week to heal.

Head coach Makoa Freitas said Maiava is doing fine and will let others judge during the game to see where he is at in his recovery.

Although he’s only a sophomore, Maiava is one of the biggest leaders on the team.

“Sol-Jay is an incredible kid with lots of talent and he’s a hard worker, too,” Atuaia said. “I know he’s ready. He’s not limping as much as he was last week.”


  1. 88 November 17, 2017 10:28 pm

    I was the first person to perform the Haka back in 1988. I also was the first RRFL who started the Tomahawk Chop in 1993.


  2. TheTruth November 17, 2017 11:03 pm

    ^^^ Ohhhhhh realllllyyyyy!!?!?!? #NobodyAsked hahahh

  3. Titles on 3rd Ave. November 17, 2017 11:19 pm

    88 sounds about right u were the first. You never have teammates back then?? Florida St. has been chopping way before you. Do us a favor and keep your delusions on the north shore and not on this forum because you getting roasted.

  4. Kamehameha#1 November 18, 2017 6:13 am

    They should save their energy by not doing the Haka cause they going to get hammedr by the St. louis Defense. But then again, The Tongan Rugby Team beat New Zealand so I guess anything is possible. I just think that St. louis is just too talented for Kahuku this year. Sol Jay is going to be the key. I don’t think he’ll be able to finish the game let alone he’s not a quarter back. He doesn’t know how to throw the receivers open. he waits for them to be wide open before he delivers the ball. score is going to be St.Louis 54-17

  5. 88 November 18, 2017 7:23 am

    @ Titles on 3rd Ave, slow your roll my little boy. I invented it, plain and simple. Stay in yo lane little man.

  6. anywaaaays!! November 18, 2017 8:32 am

    Kamehameha#1 = Education First. All he does is support the ILH agenda and bring hate on the kids in Kahuku. I don’t know what happened in your life where you feel the need to blindly spew hate on the North Shore community, but seek help. RRFL!

  7. Too Meke 2 November 18, 2017 9:32 am

    anywaaays = the man with 10 usernames who was exposed by Mr. Paul Honda.

    How ya doing Waialua boy pretending to be from Kahuku?

    You’re such a scrub. Haha.

  8. Too Meke 2 November 18, 2017 9:34 am

    Anywaaays, I don’t know what hallsnex to you life where you need to pretend you are from Kahuku when you’re from Waialua. And I don’t know why you need to use different usernames and get caught by the site administrator.

  9. ahinalu November 18, 2017 10:41 am

    The Kahuku Red Raiders The Pride Of The North Shore !

    WIN or LOSE !

    The Community is and will always Proud of You Young Gentlemen !


  10. 88 November 18, 2017 11:03 am

    anywaaays and too meke 2 shattap before I slap both of you.

  11. Guy November 18, 2017 11:10 am

    Pomaika’i to both great teams. I played for Punahou many, many years ago. But I have love for all the great football programs on O’ahu…ILH and OIA. I wish Kahuku and St. Louis a fair and safe contest. Most of all, I hope as many seniors as possible get a chance at a college education. Play well and play hard, my Braddahs! May the best TEAM prevail!

  12. 88 November 18, 2017 12:40 pm

    I will be honking my horn all the way home tonight. anywaaays you better not be in Kahuku or we will have a problem.

  13. Grabum.by.da.puppy November 18, 2017 12:47 pm

    Edufirst is now 88 too, make dat 12 usernams

  14. fsmemea November 18, 2017 4:17 pm

    A true champion is one that accepts a win graciously, and respect the victory of the opponent. Kahuku has a long history of championship, 25 to be exact, with a team made up of its own student body. Does not need to recruit to have a winning program. Kahuku 47-St. Louis 14…

  15. 88 November 18, 2017 9:57 pm

    @puppy, I might crawl through this screen and slap yo. Bow down to me son, now down!

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