The two veterans of Kahuku’s bulldozing offense line see a lot of work ahead.
Moments after a 21-13 win over No. 6 Kamehameha, right tackle Micah Soliai-Howlett and right guard Marcus Lombard were brutally frank with their assessment as a unit in the trenches.
“D-minus,” said Soliai-Howlett. “We could have scored on every drive if we didn’t have simple mistakes. We should have double the score we had.”
“I say D-minus, too,” Lombard added. “It was terrible.”
Kahuku entered the regular season of Open Division play ranked No. 5 statewide and did not disappoint. The defense was dominant for 40 minutes and finished with five interceptions and eight sacks. The O-line powered out of pistol and elephant formations and the Red Raiders amassed 215 yards on 47 carries against a stout Kamehameha defense. Zealand Matagi rushed for 87 yards on 19 attempts and Lailo Kaluna tallied 47 yards on nine carries. That production is quite impressive considering Kahuku ran the ball on 81 percent of its offensive snaps.
Soliai-Howlett (6-4, 290) and Lombard (6-0, 285) simply have higher expectations.
It was in the midst of the battle, with Kahuku slowly building a lead, that the two blockers told their coaches that it was time to take the game to the Kamehameha front seven.
“They have a lot of two-way players. We just wanted to not let them rest,” said Soliai-Howlett, who has committed to Arizona State.
“At halftime, we were telling them to start running,” Lombard said. “To run isolations to our side. (Before that) they were bringing the outside ‘backer, stacking the box.”
Soliai-Howlett and Lombard have embraced their roles as leaders.
“We’re trying to teach them technique,” Lombard said.
“It’s still beginning of the season. (Lombard) works with the guards and centers. I work with the tackles,” Soliai-Howlett said. “The expectations, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to get it done.”
The two trench leaders have a name for their O-line.
“We’re the Sojahs,” Soliai-Howlett said.