Kahuku, Saint Louis advance to another showdown

Duke Heffernan falls to the ground after catching the winning touchdown pass from Sol-Jay Maiava as Waianae defensive back Kanai Mauga gets there a second too late. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

One player was just trying to circle around and get open.

His opponent was trying to defend the run before switching gears to defend the pass.

It was during one of two highly entertaining games of state Division I-Open semifinal football Friday night at Aloha Stadium, and the outcome of this one, the opener, was hanging in the balance as another player, Kahuku quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava, scrambled around.

Maiava saw receiver Duke Heffernan alone in the middle of the end zone. Linebacker Kanai Mauga noticed it and made a bee-line for Heffernan.

Maiava threw the ball into Heffernan’s awaiting arms. Heffernan cradled it. Mauga, one of the state’s best defensive players, was a half-foot away and jumped on Heffernan, but it was too late.

The 8-yard TD pass with a mere 58 seconds left allowed No. 2 Kahuku to escape what would have been an upset of mammoth proportions. It gave the Red Raiders (11-1) a 10-7 victory over the sixth-ranked Waianae Seariders (7-5), who played the game of their lives.

That first semifinal (and the second one in which No. 1 Saint Louis dominated the second half in a 47-23 victory over No. 3 Mililani) sets the stage for what promises to be a rip-roaring top-tier state final Saturday.

“All I was trying to do is make sure the quarterback doesn’t run,” Mauga said. “I saw that wide-open receiver and I started running. I guess I was a little too slow to react.

“Our performance was amazing. It’s more than what we expected. We didn’t expect to hold them to 0-0 at the half. Scoring and trying to keep that lead was a big accomplishment. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top.”

Heffernan, who had all 10 of Kahuku’s points, including a 31-yard-field goal and an extra point, told his side of it.

“He saw me open in the end zone and he put it on me,” Heffernan said about Maiava. “My job (when the original play breaks down) is to make it as easy as possible for him to throw the ball to me.”

And what about that galloping giant of a player, Mauga (who has orally committed to USC), coming to say hello in an effort to deny him?

“I saw him in my peripheral vision,” Heffernan added. “I wanted to make sure I got the ball and tucked it. The last half and the first half, we were fumbling the ball. Coaches were saying get the ball — ball first. Protect the ball. I was in the end zone, so I made sure to hold on.”

Holding on was something Waianae couldn’t do, but they came awfully close.

“It started in the trenches and that’s where it ended,” said Waianae linebacker Toto Mailo, who had 10 tackles. “They (Kahuku) just came out and did what they do. That’s why they’re No. 1 (in the OIA). I want to credit our D-linemen. Our offense also gave a good fight against the No. 1 defense, and Kahuku proved why they are the No. 1 defense.

“This was especially for the fans and the community. I hope this was a statement for next year. All the odds were against us. We knew this could have been our last game, so we were just thinking that we wanted to go all out and it was a good outcome.”

The outcome was better for Kahuku, though you couldn’t tell by the look on coach Makoa Freitas‘ face. He looked like he had just wiped out on a 10-foot wave at Sunset Beach.

“Too many weeks in a row, too many weeks in a row,” Freitas said, referring to this last-minute win and last week’s 35-31 OIA championship win over Mililani in which the Red Raiders went ahead for good 1:34 to go. “I’m proud of them, proud of our quarterback, proud of our team.”

Two standout Kahuku defensive players, linebacker Miki Ah You and defensive back Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu, are nursing injuries — as is the QB, Maiava, whose running ability and plant foot on his throws were affected by a leg injury.

Ah You (knee) sat out the whole game, but will be ready to play next week. Fonoimoana-Vaomu (arm) was hurt in the game and wore a sling on the bench in the latter stages. His status won’t be known for a few days.

Waianae was way more than ready to compete than most people expected, especially defensively.

We’ve got resilient kids,” Seariders defensive coordinator Ryan Lancaster said. “We prepared to stop the run and put the ball in Sol-Jay’s hands and make him beat us trying to pass the ball. I think we did a really good job up until the end. We just didn’t hold our water at that last second. Stop the run, make them one-dimensional, and then with that, try to take some risks. We didn’t try to go after Sol-Jay (any more than usual). He creates seams when you try to go after him. And if he gets out of the pocket, he hurts you. We wanted to contain and make him beat us trying to throw the ball.”

The four best teams in the state appeared to be looking in a mirror against their opponents last night. The defense of Kahuku and Waianae, and the offense of Saint Louis and Mililani.

And more and more offense in that second game. Plenty of big defensive plays, but still, a veritable shootout.

It came down to a few different things, but nobody more was more important than Mitchell Quinn, the Crusaders receiver who caught four TD passes of 50-yards-plus in a row from Chevan Cordeiro to turn a 23-17 deficit into a 44-23 Crusaders lead.

That’s what you call rocking and rolling. However, for coach Rod York and his Trojans, whose season finished at 10-2, it was a big disappointment.

There is still a bit of a friendly war that will have to be sorted out in the offseason because both York and quarterback Dillon Gabriel are taking ALL of the blame for the loss.

Usually coaches win these sort of things. You could tell York knew it wasn’t Gabriel’s fault late in the game. Gabriel was getting some heavy words from his dad, former UH star Garrett Gabriel, when York came over and patted Gabriel on the head four times.

“Tough one, yeah,” said Gabriel, who thought about not talking to the press afterward, but, being the upstanding man he is, went ahead with the chore. “They (the Crusaders) balled. They’re a good team. They’re the best team in the state and they showed it, too. I didn’t play the best, so I blame it on myself. I just felt like I didn’t play up to par.”

York’s voice cracked when he spoke about his team.

“Man, (Saint Louis was) just explosive,” he said. “My fault. I just gotta do a better job. Proud of my guys. I don’t put it on them. I put it on me. Credit coach Cal (Lee) and his staff. The Saint Louis Crusaders, man, they have a helluva team. They showed it. They proved it. Nobody has done that to us. Nobody has done that to us.

“They’ve got superior coaching and they’ve got dudes from one through 100. (Mitchell Quinn), he’s a helluva player and big players make big plays in big games and I think he’s the player of the game.

“Love my team. They’re the best. The best team I’ve ever coached, attitude-wise, character-wise. We make mistakes, but at the same time these kids learn from them and they grow and they fight. I’m so proud of this team. Everybody is proud of this team. They represented Mililani well. Yeah, it’s (the loss) on me.”

Saint Louis found a way to play solid defense in the second half and shut down Mililani’s usually overpowering offense. Kahuku did the same thing one week earlier.

The Crusaders’ defensive studs, including Isaiah Taliulu, Jordan Botelho, Noa Purcell, Faatui Tuitele and Gino Quinones, among others, shut down the Trojans.

On the other side of the coin, offensively, Saint Louis’ line (Benjamin Scott, Joshua White, Eliki Tanuvasa, Jonah Kea, Arasi Mose and Justice Mills) gave Cordeiro the time to unload in the second half.

So now, it’s the same-old, same-old — Saint Louis (9-0) vs. Kahuku in the championship game.

It’s a sure bet that it will be settled by either Saint Louis’ offense or Kahuku’s defense.

Expect the stadium to be packed Saturday as the two teams go at it in the top-tier final for the third year in a row and 13th time overall.

Here are the results when the Crusaders and Red Raiders meet in the final. Saint Louis holds a 7-5 edge.

Prep Bowls
>> 1989: Saint Louis 35, Kahuku 18
>> 1993: Saint Louis 37, Kahuku 22
>> 1994: Saint Louis 26, Kahuku 20
>> 1995: Saint Louis 27, Kahuku 26
>> 1998: Saint Louis 28, Kahuku 20

State finals
>> 1999: Saint Louis 19, Kahuku 0
>> 2000: Kahuku 26, Saint Louis 20
>> 2001: Kahuku 21, Saint Louis 14
>> 2003: Kahuku 27, Saint Louis 26
>> 2006: Kahuku 7, Saint Louis 6
>> 2015: Kahuku 39, Saint Louis 14
>> 2016: Saint Louis 30, Kahuku 14


  1. HI HS FAN November 11, 2017 6:01 am

    St. Lois demonstrated that they are the top team in the state. After being humbled in the first quarter and part of the second, they didn’t panic and were resilient enough to fight back. Then in the second half they just executed and proved how explosive they are. Defensively they adjusted and denied Any Mililani threat. Their coaching staff also didn’t panic and made the key adjustments. That’s the reason why they are the best in the state and nationally ranked.

  2. HI HS FAN November 11, 2017 6:24 am

    The upcoming championship game with Kahuku is going to be another classic matchup between two of the premier programs in the state. All season long St. Louis has proved that they are the elite program. Even after being tested by Mililani, they still showed how explosive and talented they are.

    Kahuku, meanwhile, in the OIA Championship and last nights semifinal games, showed they have a lot of character and heart despite their struggles. Their defense is the backbone of the team. Throughout the year they held off all challengers by producing big plays and turnovers when they needed to.

    So the stage is set. Some have already predicted that the Crusaders will dominate and shutdown the Red Raiders. They believe St. Louis has too much talent, speed, an explosive offense and a stout defense, plus great coaches who have the experience in the Prep Bowls and State Championships.

    Kahuku will definitely be a huge underdog. But they’ve been Underdogs in previous championship games against the Crusaders. Furthermore, they have a community and Red Raider Nation, who themselves have been overlooked, which relishes the underdog role. That gives them the incentive and the drive to push through all the adversity.

    Be there next week. Bring your flags, pom poms, wear your teams colors, and wave your towels because it will be an EPIC BATTLE!

  3. Grabum.by.da.puppy November 11, 2017 7:17 am

    look like kahuku to many injuries not 100% to play stlois next week

  4. Alpha November 11, 2017 7:38 am

    Kahuku vs Waianae last night was a classic Kahuku/Waianae game. Thanks to both teams for that throwback. Rod York might be a good coach but his staff needs improvements. No adjustments and defense weekends exposed, secondary play was awful. Good luck to both teams, the last 2 weeks of football was awesome. Gonna miss high school ball again, can’t wait till next starts up, hopefully the oia/ilh can get something done to have more competitive games nxt year. HPW should really put the bowl game idea in HHSAA

  5. UscHamo November 11, 2017 9:10 am

    Mililani did not adjust help for their secondary… they left their one db on the island against the Quinn kid and he got toasted 4 Times… Def coaches didn’t even make any adjustments in preventing them same breakout tds…. Coaches gotta make the necessary moves , Mililani didn’t and St. Louis did… Kahuku will always adjust and that’s the difference

  6. Auwe November 11, 2017 9:18 am

    Don’t think it will even be close next week! Kahuku won’t survive a shootout against st Louis! They haven’t established a solid running game all season! Something they should have been working on all year! Its gonna take a miracle on 34th st to pull this one out! Defense and special teams gonna have to pitch in on scoring to help the offense! With that said kahuku seems to find a way to get it done! I am a kahuku alumn but I also live on planet eurf! Just being realistic! St Louis got a lot of speed on offense, and a solid defense! But more important their coaches know how to adjust! And it showed last night! Just my 2 cents! Good luck to both teams next week! Go Big Red!!!

  7. Kahuku Fan 69 November 11, 2017 9:52 am

    Kahuku is a solid program. But I think injuries, coaching, and just not as good in years past will allow STL to win.

    Admin, please ban TOOMEKE aka anywaaays. They bring nothing to this board.

  8. Rrforlifebaby November 11, 2017 10:45 am

    Yup. Honestly, we have more than enough talent to match up with St Louis. BUT, as Auwe pointed out, our run game is lacking. This oline seems to lack the nastiness of past teams. Talented, but missing that killer attitude needed to let our rb’s run loose. But, I believe in these kids to ball out and and persevere and come through. Good luck to all squads next week.

    Let’s go BIG RED and bring that trophy back North!

  9. Grabum.by.da.puppy November 11, 2017 11:11 am

    talent plain n simple, york wuold win it all if he at stlois das why he need more talent to come mill. Mill did good but no mo 2nd string to hang wit da big boy

  10. Hau'ulaBoy November 11, 2017 11:47 am

    Lets get this party started! Stadium is going to be rock’n next weekend baby! Love it. The ultimate match up. Red vs. Blue. Good vs. Evil. Hahahaha. Just kidding about the last part… RR4L._.

  11. Hau'ulaBoy November 11, 2017 11:49 am

    Bring that Koa trophy back home. I think he’s homesick. Hahahaha. RR4L._.

  12. Simple Simon November 11, 2017 1:50 pm

    Big plays coming off of broken plays for St Louis. Horrible tackling by Mililani. I’m not too convinced about St Louis. On the other hand, Kahuku is saying that without Sol-Jay, they can’t do anything. Gonna be a good one.

  13. anywaaaays!! November 11, 2017 4:02 pm

    Please ban Kahuku Fan 69/Education First. All they do is slander Kahuku and the OIA

  14. TooMeke November 11, 2017 5:12 pm

    Paul can verify that my IP address is not that of anywaaaays…or anyone else’s for that matter.

    Just me, myself, and I.

    Maybe we can ban crybabies… lol…

    Go ban yo mouf.

    Playoffs have been great – trash talking has been fun – down to the final two.


  15. Seat 12 Row 19 November 11, 2017 5:16 pm

    Simple Simon- I’m interested to hear about these “broken plays” for Saint Louis? Because from my seat, I watched Saint Louis EARN EVERY YARD on Offense and EVERY STOP on Defense. Also what constitutes “horrible tackling”? Do you give more blame to the tackler or more credit to the ball carrier because I’ve seen great tackler miss because of great ball carriers. To me last night was more credit to the ball carriers making their guy miss then finishing the play. But that’s just my opinion. Hats off to Millilani they came out with fire, Saint Louis just executed better and had the ability to create big plays.

    Looking forward to Saturday!

  16. Too Meke 2 November 11, 2017 5:20 pm

    And there’s anyways and too meke pretending they aren’t the same person.

    Cousins, Paul already exposed you anywaaays aka too meke.

  17. Too Meke 2 November 11, 2017 5:21 pm

    Two biggest crybabies in the site are anywaaays ala Too Meke.

    Too Meke if they banned crybabies then where would you go to?

  18. King of the North November 11, 2017 6:32 pm

    St. Lannister’s, the North remembers. Winter is here.

  19. Laie Park Boyz November 11, 2017 6:47 pm

    HAHA that was classic!

  20. Choloropicrin November 11, 2017 7:27 pm

    I think Kahuku has a sufficient enough run game, to help take the pressure off Maiava, STL is good, but I don’t think they’ll match Mililani and Waianae physicality on defense. Those last two games will help the Kahuku Oline staff prep for this week. They don’t have to worry about and Olomua and Mauga…this is where Dylan Toilolo would have played a big factor in STL run defense.

  21. Grabum.by.da.puppy November 11, 2017 10:50 pm

    tuitele will eat up kahuku oline keep it real kahuku oline not as strong dis year. Stlois d shut down mill in 2nd half just like kahuku d did.

  22. Terii'te'toofa November 12, 2017 12:57 am

    Mililani lost because Kahuku softened them up for St. Louis. When Mililani came into that game with St. Louis they were up and game,ready to play in the first half, that’s why they did so good. But they got worned down by the second half because they had two physical games in a row. And their two-way iron mans were just to drained by then to keep up that first half pace. And St. Louis took advantage of that thanks in part to the Kahuku game with Mililani. People on this thread are now trying to compare what St. Louis did to Mililani verses Kahuku by the amount of points each team beat Mililani by. Believe me if that Kahuku/Mililani game was called fairly by the ref’s Kahuku was suppose to beat them by more point’s than four. Even both the Spectrum O.C 16 sportscaster’s said on the telecast that ” there were many questionable calls going against Kahuku tonight”. I think both Hawaii Prep World and Scoring Live photographer’s took still shot pictures of some of those questionable calls. Just before the half ended one picture shows #44 Toalei Lefau on top off other player completely off the ground with the football over the goal line. There was nothing obstructing the line judges view from making the correct call. That would’ve been 7 points for Kahuku right there. Then on another play Dillion Gabriel scrambled with the ball running toward the end zone when he was chopped by a Kahuku player before he reached the end zone. As he was doing a 180 flip in the air the still shot pictures show the ball came outta his hand well before he reached the goal line. The ball dropped into the endzone and bounced out of bounds. The same exact ref who made the previous bad call of no touchdown for Kahuku on the 1 yard plunge by LEFAU made this bad call too. That should’ve been called a touch back and it should’ve Kahuku’s ball on the 20 yard line. Mililani ended up scoring on that bad call which they probably wouldn’t have if the correct call was made. And on a punt or kick return #1 for Kahuku Fonoimoana-Vaomu returned the kick to the Mililani 4 yard line. But a block in the back penalty was called on a Kahuku player. Darren Hernandez said ” oh I don’t about that one,that looked like that’s a no call”. Also there were two defenseless receivers hits on Kahuku which would’ve been called on Kahuku or Waianae but not on teams like Mililani or St Louis.

  23. Just Saying... November 12, 2017 7:45 am

    This one won’t be close like last year especially with Kahuku not at 100%. STL is a well balanced FB team and have way too many skilled position players while Kahuku struggled with Waianae and SL manhandled them during the preseason. I look forward to watching Kahuku Nation again as they are always entertaining but at the end of the day, the KOA is staying on the slopes of Kalaepohaku.

  24. Redraider722 November 12, 2017 8:37 am

    I think that this game is going to be a thriller for the ages. St Louis might be a great team but I think that the Kahuku red raiders can rise above this challenge. Kahuku has a pretty good team. They aren’t as great like past years but what kahuku has that no other team has is heart. Through out all the struggles they have had , kahuku has always risen to the top because they have heart and everytime they go onto that field, they aren’t just playing for the team, but for the community. That’s why I cant wait to see the epic battle between the top 2 teams in the state this Saturday. RR4L

  25. HobraH November 12, 2017 9:19 am

    So Kahuku beat Mililani by being a better team, and ST Louis only beat Mililani because Kahuku softened them up. Got it.

  26. 808 November 12, 2017 9:25 am

    FYI on a thread back in October, Billy Hull mentioned that site finally blocked Education First. Hull said that user was going by at least three other screen names..BG Grad, phILHarmonic, RRFL living the lie and a few others. The guy also claimed he was some big timer but always avoided meeting up with other posters when pressed. Funny when internet heroes are exposed as the real life zeroes that they really are. Rule of Thumb…if you’re trying to impress total strangers on the internet with your so-called lifestyle, you probably don’t have one.

  27. Austin Chang November 12, 2017 10:06 am

    St. Louis is ranked 4th in the National according to Maxpreps, they are so dominated this year, I feel like this game wouldn’t be close enough this week, I would say St. Louis 42 Kahuku 14

  28. Austin Chang November 12, 2017 10:11 am

    St. Louis is ranked 4th in the National according to Maxpreps, they are so dominated this year, I feel like this game wouldn’t be close enough this week, I would say St. Louis 42 Kahuku 14

  29. Grabum.by.da.puppy November 12, 2017 10:30 am

    educationfirt is now posting as anyawaaay!! he a punaho alum

  30. Descartes22 November 12, 2017 11:01 am

    Toomeke is hiding! Crusaders and ILH dominate again. Rigged HHSAA and juiced refereeing couldn’t stop the ILH Champs from marching on. Kahuku looked weak against Waianae. OIA is an inferior league no matter how much they try to cheat the ILH and Outer-Island teams.

  31. TooMeke November 12, 2017 11:33 am

    Austin – put the pipe down please… Maxpreps has St Louis at 21… which is still awesome… hopefully the move up after this weekend.


    So what maxpreps are you looking at? lol.


  32. TooMeke November 12, 2017 11:38 am

    Freeman top 25 is pure computer rankings…purely off of stats.

    Xcellent top 25 is human rankings…which has been around for many years.

    I’ll let you decide which is the better ranking system.

  33. HBoy November 12, 2017 11:50 am

    StLouis looks very good, strong, healthy, well rested, well coached and ready to defend the title. Kahuku comes in limping but eager to face their best dream and worst nightmare in StLouis that together have been the face oh Hawaii High School Football for the last 4 decades (at the least). It will be a tough hill to climb for my Red Raiders but we know if anyone can do it..we can. Props to a very talented Crusader team who were on display last week (although they appeared to be less disciplined and more openly cocky then in years past).

    We will meet once again on the familiar battlefield and will yet again etch a part into Hawaii High School Football history. Although Big Red is limping, get ready to get blasted harder than you have all year and drowned in the return of THE RED SEA. Go BIG RED.

  34. 808 November 12, 2017 11:50 am

    Doubt the guy actually went to Punahou. Probably a lie like the rest of his claims of privilege. Sad thing is that guy is now posting using other screen names and posing as other users. Definition of “no life”.

  35. Terii'te'toofa November 12, 2017 1:33 pm

    This is for the HHSAA concerning biased bad referee calling of high school football ball games. Wouldn’t it be “real sweet” for you guy’s if “someone” has recorded evidence of a meeting you guy’s had with referees in your association in which they were told if a certain team was playing a so-called “weaker team” that more penalty calls should be called against them “to even out the game”? And that is it an “unforeseen clause” not written in your rule book. That would be a “real juicy opportunity” for this teams player’s community and administration” to file a real BIG LAWSUIT”. And it would be a scandal that would rock and tarnish the hawaii sport’s world referring association decades to come.

  36. ahinalu November 12, 2017 2:49 pm

    Kahuku Just believe in your Preparation, those hours in the gym, summer pass league, Rugby and Inspirations and Guidance from your Coaches That Been There and Done That ! A Win is a Win By One Point or Fifty Points is Still A Win !

    Kahuku Red Raiders The Pride Of The North Shore !

  37. phILHarmonic November 12, 2017 3:50 pm

    Oofa- what are you talking about?

  38. Descartes November 12, 2017 4:41 pm

    Terri te toofa: Ahh what? In any event, just track the HHSAA winter and summer meetings and check the average OIA referee ‘s years of experience. The real “scandal” is about to be revealed with UH’s shower co-ed cover ups. Just wait.

  39. Awrite!! November 12, 2017 5:22 pm

    Truth of the matter is that on every single play there is holding or some kind of violation going on. The Refs know this and are in the position to decide when they want to call it, this gives them the chance to manufacture the game to their own liking.

    For example there is one particular Olinemen that holds a lot on Kahukus oline, the ref lets him go until he sees Kahuku explode for a long run or pass…and then he throws his flag.

    At the end of the day, teach your players to play correctly and dont let the game be decided by the refs that may not like your school.

  40. Hadafakaya November 12, 2017 8:10 pm

    Love being the underdogs! Never did I ever see a Crusaders team so tun tadan, is it the coaching or individual players???

  41. Too Meke 2 November 12, 2017 9:55 pm

    Now anywaaays is pretending to be another person named 808. Sure you are another guy! (Wink Wink).

    Paul already exposed anywaaays aka 808. M

    Hey 808 or should I say anywaaays, can you please stop pretending to be someone different.

    OMG can someone say loser! 808 is a loser! Sorry I meant anywaaays.

  42. Gone Fishing November 12, 2017 9:58 pm

    Kahuku has won 6 of the 8 Head to Head matchups vs. St. Lu since the State Champiomships started. Prep Bowl era was all Crusaders BUT things changed once the ILH started enforcing a “no 19-yr-olds” rule in order to play on the new State Champ series.

    Crusaders look stronger than everyone this year but Mil defense caused problems for them in 1st half. Kahuku can blitz and play man coverage with better attletes than Mil had (just my personal opinion) and Kahuku DB’s not gonna run out of gas in the second half (knock on wood). So, if some of the player’s parents can keep it together and not cause the most unbelievable, selfish, incredible amount of drama while the team bus is trying to leave for the game like they did last week, I am hopeful that Big Red can add another “W” and go up 7-2 in the series.

  43. Awrite!! November 12, 2017 10:45 pm

    Kahuku played terrible and almost lost to Baldwin in the semis back in 2004 then went on to beat St. Louis in the title game. This year seems eerily similar. Kahuku’s got a fighters chance.

  44. 808 November 13, 2017 12:06 pm

    Too Meke 2 has just revealed himself as the poster fka Education First. Go get a hobby, junior. The adults want to talk football.

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