Kahuku QB situation worthy of a look

Kahuku can run. The Red Raiders' Sefa Ameperosa eluded McKinley's Dyllon Enriquez en route to one of his three touchdown runs in Friday's 78-0 victory over McKinley. But, the question is sitting there waiting to be answered eventually: Can Kahuku pass? Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Kahuku can run. The Red Raiders’ Sefa Ameperosa eluded McKinley’s Dyllon Enriquez en route to one of his three touchdown runs in Friday’s 78-0 victory over McKinley. But, the question is sitting there waiting to be answered eventually: Can Kahuku pass? Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Kahuku is the No. 4 team in the state and the 127th-ranked team in the nation.

There aren’t many people around who would question the Red Raiders’ defense or running game or the offensive line’s ability to move the pile and open sometimes gaping holes.

The situation is a quite a bit different than a year ago, when the offense struggled and the defense carried the load. But there are similar aspects to it. While the offense is far from struggling this year, it is still quite one-dimensional.

Take a gander at these facts as the Red Raiders (4-0, 3-0 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West) get deeper into the season:

>> The Red Raiders threw four passes in a 78-0 win over McKinley on Friday night. Starter Kesi Ah-Hoy, who also plays running back, went 1-for-1. Backup Cameron Renaud went 1-for-1 and hit Ah-Hoy on a swing pass for 26 yards and the team’s first touchdown pass of the season. Kekona Neumann, meanwhile, went 0-for-2. Renaud, a left-hander like Ah-Hoy, and Neumann also scored on touchdown runs.

>> The season’s starting quarterback, Jordan Mariteragi, showed poise in the 50-0 opener against Campbell, but threw just three passes. Two of those were intercepted, and offensive coordinator John Hao called that “two badly placed balls.”

>> Mariteragi, a 6-foot-3 junior, broke his collarbone in the Red Raiders’ 27-7 victory over Kapolei in the team’s second game of the season. Hao said he reinjured it while sleeping earlier this week and went in for surgery. It set back the recovery time, which was six-to-eight weeks originally.

OK, so you get the picture. Last season, Kahuku made it to the OIA final and the state semifinals despite a struggling offense that suffered even more when senior starter Tuli Wily-Matagi went down with a concussion during the critical portion of the second half in the 20-7 OIA final loss to Mililani.

Sure, Kahuku has an offense this season. Ground and pound, baby, as Al Davis might have said iff’n (it’s a word, look it up, not!) he was the man in charge on the North Shore. But what if the passing game is needed down the line? Will it show up? Shouldn’t games like McKinley be used for developing it?

Hawaii Prep World spoke with Hao after the win over the Tigers. He was asked about the pecking order at QB and what we can expect to see later on.

The question was a little different right around this point last season, when then-head coach Lee Leslie was given the ol’ “When is that new-age passing offense going to kick in?”

Leslie didn’t vocalize it at the time, but the answer was actually “never.” His plan was to start slow and maybe get it going by midseason, but he knew deep down that it was going to take a few years … years, as it turned out, that he didn’t end up sticking around for.

So, what does Hao say about the QBs now?

“Jordan was the starter,” he said. “He had beaten the others out by a nose. Kesi is our guy if we are going to be running the ball. The other two, who are neck and neck, are going to be in if we need to pass. And we’ll be doing what the defense gives us.”

Ah-Hoy, we should point out, has completed 11 of his 14 passes, and he clicked really well with tight end Pua Falemalu in a win over Kaiser. Ah-Hoy, however, looks more impressive when he takes a handoff and burns over tackle and crashes into a few defenders or finds daylight.

And so it goes. Mariteragi is probably the best one to keep the defenders guessing. Maybe he makes it back.

“Jordan has the best mix (passing and running),” Hao said. “Of the three others, Kesi is the best all-around. The other two are pocket QBs.”

It’s probably too early to ask and get an answer. But, it’s going to come up when the competition gets tougher:

Who is going to be the leader at quarterback?

Just something to think about.


  1. zero August 29, 2015 8:41 am

    kahuku’s cave man era football will falter against the better ILH teams and mililani with a modern passing attack, just like it always does. I know you want to play to your kids’ strengths, but eventually, the quarterback will need to be comfortable with throwing the ball.

  2. Unko Ben August 29, 2015 9:57 am

    zero, if running always falters why does Kahuku have 7 state titles? Defense wins championships.

  3. NSfootball August 29, 2015 1:40 pm

    Thanks for this article and saying what most fans were thinking last night at the game. Where is our passing game? Even up 50-0 we still didn’t attempt to practice the pass. If our pocket passing QB’s were playing at another school like Castle or Leilehua they would be all stars because those schools know how to utilize and develop the Qb spot. C’mon Kahuku Coaches develop the passing game now, the run will always be there. Leave Kesi at RB and build the balanced attack with Neuman or Renaud. Anyone can hand the ball off for a running play, we dont need Kesi to hand off and to run! RR4L

  4. Same Ol Same Ol August 29, 2015 2:00 pm

    NSFootball that’s exactly what I was thinking. In the 3rd they put Kesi Ahoy back at running back to give him looks when they easily could have worked on their passing game. Kesi will always be good at running the ball, they don’t need to develop him more than the passing game. Doesn’t make sense to me!!!

  5. red x August 29, 2015 2:54 pm

    Yup! I was thinking the same thing and work they’re passing game against a team like McKinley. Now just a wasted opportunity!!!

  6. red x August 29, 2015 3:12 pm

    It’s so sad that the QBs don’t even get passing attempts. The coaches can find there QB if they give them a shot during game time! Run play action or something.

  7. kapoleistorm August 29, 2015 5:29 pm

    When Kahuku played Kapolei a few weeks ago and when Kahukus starting QB went out they put in the 2nd string. He threw a nice ball and had one completion but overall our defense was able to rattle him and put the offense out of sync. Kesi came in as the 3rd QB and the offense kind of settled down, it seems that Kesi has more control and is more confident at QB, I think the offense is better with Kesi in, its still one dimentional but until a true passing QB comes in I think Kesi is their best option to win.

  8. Hawaii Nakoa August 29, 2015 6:13 pm

    Wasn’t Renaud the JV starter for Kahuku last season? If I recall that kid has an arm and pretty accurate passer…wth isn’t he playing more? Things like these make you go hmmm? Coach Hao put the real qb’s in, kesi belongs at RB…as for pockets passers what the heck, you guys think your going to win in the play offs without a passing threat? Think about it: I’d rather have a pocket passer who can run the ball and threat at passing, making me wonder about coach Hao…just like at SLS started the other QB and when Mariota came in…and where is he now? Smh! Get with the program coaches…know your kids off the field too. As for grade check seriously 20+ plus out in the game? Wth is going on!!!

  9. 88 August 29, 2015 10:01 pm

    How you going pass the ball when your up 50? It doesnt look good especially against a team like Mckinley. They tried a pass play in the 2nd half remember and it went in for 6. How does that look when your up by that many points yet your passing the ball? To me it look stoopid. Every year people say you need to pass the ball to win states yet Kahuku, which has the most State football Titles in the State of Hawaii, keep doing it without one. So either Kahuku with its caveman football is just that good or Hawaii football is just that shetty that they have a hard time stoping a one dimensional team.

  10. Hawaii Nakoa August 30, 2015 4:22 am

    88: I’m talking about work on the passing game at the beginning of the game! Yeah true Kahuku had ways been about the run…but when others teams start to stop the run then what? Seriously it will get tough real soon, they should work on their passing game the next few games, I’m not saying pass all game long, but work on it! If they need to go to the air at least it will be their! Come playoff time we gotta be an all around team! Just saying… We don’t want to hear the coaches saying “we didn’t work on our passing game” until our first loss when it counts!

  11. 88 August 30, 2015 6:15 am

    Good point.

  12. rrfl August 31, 2015 2:21 pm

    Ok, so why is everyone so worried about kahuku passing game. I think everyone knows that kahuku has always been about the defense. They have won so many state titles doing what they do best. Of course we would like to see them pass and improve They’ll get there. their passing game. i remember when all people could talk about was how great morikawa and tuileta as quarterbacks, most explosive quarterbacks ever….until they went up against a kahuku defense and we all know what happened next. back to back state tiles. these quarterbacks were on their backs all night long. kahuku will keep on doing what they do best and how they have won many state titles. Defense wins championships.

  13. Hawaii Nakoa August 31, 2015 10:40 pm

    RRFL: right… We know the run will always be there! Why not? Start the passing game, before the play offs OIA and HHSAA? Our road is easy to say the least, our next games anything can happen castle, mules, waipahu then Waianae come on now…we should be working on the passing game period! Wth is Hao thinking of putting kesi at QB he should be RB 24/7! The saying goes “you don’t practice it…you ain’t gonna do it”..will see what they have coming up and then let’s see how things come out in the playoffs.

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