If Kahuku senior Vili Fisiiahi was trying to keep his return to Kaiser to himself, his coaching staff wasn’t having any of it.
“We kind of rubbed it in during the week that we’re going back to Vili’s house,” Red Raiders coach Vavae Tata said.
Fisiiahi was part of that 2014 Kaiser team that handed Kahuku its last loss in the OIA regular season. It was a different story on Friday night as No. 1 Kahuku coasted to a 56-6 win over the Cougars to complete its second consecutive undefeated OIA regular season. It also stretched Kahuku’s winning streak to 20 against teams from Hawaii.
Fisiiahi was the player everyone rushed to talk to after the game, both on the Kahuku and Kaiser sidelines. After taking pictures with fans of both teams, he had time to reflect on his time with Kaiser just prior to the start of the Cougars’ senior night ceremonies.
“These are all the boys I remember and played with,” Fisiiahi said. “It was great. I have plenty memories on this field but I had to move on. Coming to Kahuku is a whole different environment and we said don’t let history repeat itself. That was our mentality.”
Kahuku’s coaching staff rewarded Fisiiahi on the first drive. Starting at his customary spot at center on the offensive line, the 5-foot-10, 260-pound senior moved to the backfield and carried the ball twice for 8 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run for Kahuku’s first score.
“We did it just for the fun of it — for the irony I guess,” Fisiiahi said.
“That was the whole plan,” Tata added. “He’s a really good kid and it was good to see him have fun with the rest of the team.”
Kahuku’s streak of 18 consecutive quarters without allowing a point to a Hawaii team ended when Kaiser’s Andrew Kaufusi took a short pass 83 yards for a touchdown.
Kahuku responded with the next 49 points, including senior Stokes Nihipali-Botelho’s fifth touchdown on defense or special teams in the last five games.
For a brief moment, Kaufusi’s long touchdown brought back memories of Kaiser’s 20-19 win over Kahuku in 2014 when QB Kalawaia Judd scored on a 1-yard TD run with 16 seconds remaining for the win.
Fisiiahi was hesitant to talk about the game, but admitted he enjoyed catching up with many of his former teammates.
“It was great reminiscing with them,” Fisiiahi said. “It was a fun night, but it’s time to move on.”