Kahuku’s pile movers wore out Waianae

Kahuku's Harmon Brown rushed for some of his 90 yards on this play in which he was tackled by Waianae's Elijah Brame. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Kahuku’s Harmon Brown rushed for some of his 90 yards on this play in which he was tackled by Waianae’s Elijah Brame. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

It’s on to Cleveland … er … Campbell for the Kahuku football team after winning Friday’s big home matchup against Waianae, 28-0.

The last sentence was a reference to Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots’ head coach who doesn’t give out a ton of information to the media and repeated multiple times that, “It’s on to Cleveland,” who the Patriots were playing the next weekend, to a reporter inquiring about Belichick’s thoughts after a victory.

Like Belichick, Red Raiders head coach Vavae Tata does not say a real lot to the media, and that’s his prerogative. His mantra this year is “We’re 1-0,” in reference to each win as they happen so far in the third week of the season.

But Tata did say something telling in his 23-second interview after Friday’s game, which occurred while he was busy helping someone move the home team’s bench near a muddy sideline.

“We did some good things, but we’re not close to where we need to be,” Tata said. “If we play like we’re capable of playing, it should have been a different outcome.”

Well, seriously, thank you very much for that!! That says a lot in not so many words. The Red Raiders were in a close game, but ended up showing Waianae who’s boss by the end of the third quarter.

In Tata’s mind, Kahuku (3-0, 3-0 Oahu Interscholastic Association Blue) can play way, way better and that is a scary thought. They just shut out the No. 4 team in the land.

But the No. 1 team — those Kahuku boys — got it done with their offensive line. The back-breaking drive came at the end of the third quarter. A 12-play, ram-it-down-your-throat special in which Kahuku’s offensive line just kept on moving the pile. Elvis Vakapuna scored his second 10-yard TD for a 14-0 with 50 seconds to go in the third.

“When we went to the locker room (at halftime), we told ourselves it’s 0-0 and at the end of the day success will come if everyone does their job,” center Vili Fisiiahi said. “They (Waianae) match up physically with us, but we looked in the mirror and asked ourselves how bad we want it. We wanted that badly.”

Fisiiahi, a senior, gave props to his linemate, right guard Marcus Lombard.

“Marcus is only a freshman and he stepped to the plate when we needed him,” Fisiiahi said.

No Waianae player or coach will tell you this, but being in a 7-0 game through nearly three quarters against the defending Division I state champions is somewhat of an accomplishment for the Seariders (3-1, 2-1).

“Our defense hunkered down, but we just needed our offense to catch our backs,” said Waianae linebacker Jaylen Gonzales, who had a monster night making tackles all over the field. “We were on the field the whole night”

Fisiiahi and Gonzales both said it was “fun” to play in the game with the stakes so high. Fisiiahi said he is good friends with many Waianae players, and mentioned offensive lineman Onesimus Clarke, linebacker Josiah Viliamu and Gonzales as a few of them.

All told, Kahuku’s defense held Waianae to nine yards passing and 23 yards rushing. The Red Raiders’ offense ran for 240 yards and threw for another 39.

It was not bombs away, just as you would expect a Kahuku-Waianae struggle to go.

Harmon Brown ran for 90 yards on 18 carries and a TD for the Red Raiders, and Vakapuna rushed for 65 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 25 yards.

Rico Rosario was Waianae’s leading ground gainer with 42 yards on nine carries.

Waianae’s Tony Cabral blocked a 37-yard field-goal attempt by Stokes Nihipali-Botelho in the first half. Nihipali-Botelho, from his cornerback position, came through with a second-quarter interception of Seariders quarterback Jaren Ulu.

Kahuku won the turnover battle 2-0. On a blitz, safety Kesi Ah-Hoy punched the ball out of Ulu’s hands late in the game and teammate Sioeli Naupoto recovered in the Seariders’ end zone for Kahuku’s final touchdown.

The Red Raiders’ offense set up in multiple formations, including the jumbo package, the traditional I-formation as well as some 4-wide sets. Four players took snaps from center, Brown, Sol-Jay Maiava, Ah-Hoy and Vakapuna. Ah-Hoy gained four yards on fourth down for a first down on his only carry. He was the main player taking snaps as a quarterback in the elephant package in last season’s 39-14 Division I state championship victory over Saint Louis.

Among the game’s other defensive standouts were Kahuku’s Aliki Vimahi (sack), Sedric Iafeta (sack), Christopher Tuliloa (sack), Kekaula Kaniho (sack) and Tema Lindsay (tackle for loss), and Waianae’s Viliamu (sack), Sireadan Sana (tackle for loss) and Brandon Hattori (tackle for loss).

Kahuku plays its final home game of the season against Campbell (2-2, 2-1) next Saturday. Waianae hosts Kaiser (2-2, 1-2) next Friday.


  1. Paper Crane August 28, 2016 3:34 am

    @GOT 17 IQ (Intelligence Quotient) like nothing up there, empty, and neglected we so sad for you.

  2. Bigg Sarge August 28, 2016 7:58 am

    @Got 17, braddah, totally unfair assessment when speaking about the Kahuku all state guys who moved on after HS. First no data provided by you on your claims, and yet look up D1 Colleges and you will find Kahuku alums all over the map. More NFL players produced per capita and more guys making their marks in either Govt or private sector. Sheesh I can copy and paste but why bother when its easier for you to just say ignorant things..which is your right to do but totally ignorant.

    Also, Sol-Jay is being criticized by the Red Raider alum? really Jeezuz, what if this kid moved to the ILH, then you will call him traitor? He has tremendous upside with the potential to be one of the great ones Hawaii has produced. He works hard, dedicated to his craft and get this, HE STAYED HOME TO PLAY FOR KAHUKU. Also rememeber, hes ONLY a Freshmen sheesh….NO Kahuku has ever started a Freshmen QB until now..John Hao is an excellent coach so let the guy coach, he just brought you guys a title with NO QB…

    I guess success also come hate..I wish my Alma Mater had a winning tradition like Kahuku’s but oh well our season over, getting ready to move D2

  3. Got17 August 28, 2016 9:26 am

    @Bigg Sarge

    You can have the most talented, upside, young qb in Kahuku. But they will not put him in the position to be successful on being a true qb. Everything recognized for this qb will be in a combine. He’ll throw the ball less than 8 times a game & he’ll be on the field 50% or less on offensive possessions. You do the math on that & he’s staying home as a “hand off qb”. Jon Hao has no schematics as a OC, in fact a monkey could call these plays from the sidelines. He couldn’t cut it as a HC in the ILH & goes to Kahuku & runs a pop warner style offense. Doesn’t say too much about being a dynamic coach.

  4. red x August 28, 2016 9:28 am

    Sol Jay is doing just fine and doesn’t need to prove anybody anything. As far from what I seen he’s doing great and I know he doesn’t have numbers like taulia and gabriel did there freshman year but he shows QB instinct by staying in the pocket and not panicking like the kahuku QBs they had before. He would’ve had more completions if the wrs catch the ball and if he were to pass more then you will see those numbers that those who expected to see from him but us kahuku fans is just happy that he stayed home.

  5. Got17 August 28, 2016 9:28 am

    @Good Story

    Got 17 means:

    17 Championships.

    And you ain’t even halfway there my friend. Long way to go.

  6. Rugged Slopes August 28, 2016 9:31 am

    @Red X

    I don’t understand what “staying in the pocket” means when all the pass plays have no reads & are 5-7 yard passes. He’s off the field more than he’s on the field.

  7. red x August 28, 2016 10:42 am

    @got 17
    No wonder your hating on kahuku.

  8. The Red Sea August 28, 2016 10:48 am

    When your #1, your comment post lights up. Nice.

  9. The Rim August 28, 2016 12:04 pm

    Lets just put things into perspective. Maiava is a freshman with great potential and natural athletic ability. Time will tell as he grows and develops those skills within the parameters of their program, be it passing, running, or simply managing their offense. Getting an offer from a powerhouse college and charismatic coach is flattering, however, it should not impede his development. The biggest obstacle to being great is being good. Lets encourage and support this young boy, as too much have placed a heavy burden and high expectations on his young shoulders.

  10. Ahcmon August 28, 2016 12:22 pm

    Kahukus whole line chopping on defense, lame! Lotta transfers too. I thought they said homegrown?

  11. Pick Six August 28, 2016 1:43 pm

    Lol…with all the comments. You guys do know you can use any name for an alias? I highly doubt “Kahuku Alumni ” has anything to do with the school. I bet a lot guys commentin g on here are using more than 1 alias just to troll. Trolling high school football blog….lol, now that’s funny.

  12. 99boiz August 28, 2016 1:58 pm

    Excited to see Soljay grow and help the rest of his teammates shine on the biggest stage. Its one team and one community here at Kahuku and when the odds are against us thats when we hunker down and go at it. No other community like it! we dont only believe but we live this phrase …”The least is the greatest and the greatest is the least, stay humble boiz and represent”

  13. anywaaaays!! August 28, 2016 2:19 pm

    These Crusader folks commenting about what they think is best for Kahukus QB, blaming John Hao and how he was terrible as the HC at St. Louis back in 2010 so they fired him…he comes to Kahuku goes undefeated and wins a title his first year with no QB. Unbelievable!

    Haters gonna hate, even the “Brotherhood” got their own bucket with crabs in it.

  14. RednBlue August 28, 2016 5:48 pm

    @The Rim

    Soljay will not develop at Kahuku unless they give him the reins like funaki!


    Crabs in a bucket I think not! Well then again we do have some of those guys but they are very few. I never criticized John Hao and he always had my full support but when u coach at the Lou ur expected to win. So it comes with the territory… But let me tell u this….never have I seen a kid so criticized by his own community (Kahuku fans) that it’s not even the kids fault he’s not getting the reps he needs! Taking him off and on the field and not letting him get into a rythm with the team is not a developing for a QB! Yes crusaders feel we have a right to talk about what Kahuku staff ain’t doing with their QB because frankly, “WE KNOW QBs!” Look at our track record?! I mean look at the ILH record for QBs… Kid would’ve been better off at Punahou also! Take my comments and opinions with a grain sand I just can’t see Kahuku being able to develop this kid as a QB because he ain’t getting the reps and he’s at the wrong school to be a QB… Prove me wrong will u and yes you will keep winning championships with that elephant pop warner play because u have the kids to do it… But really Soljay should’ve came ILH where we know how to develop QBs… Cuz we care about beyond high school championships! I’d say like THE RIMs comment, just support the kid and if u guys no like em then Hele Mai down to the ILH and we’ll give him 2 years of awesome QB coaching and development!

    Aloha! Good luck to all teams…

  15. anywaaaays!! August 28, 2016 7:21 pm


    1. If he were on the JV team he would be throwing in the pocket the whole game, if he were at St. Louis he wouldnt be playing vars because of the freshman rule so you really cant say what you guys would do with him because you wouldnt be able to play him till he was a sophmore. Lets give him some time there is no rush, Mariota didnt start till his Sr year.

    2. As a freshman on the varsity he is still a bit on the fragile side so to risk injury from 280lb attacking D-Linemen is ridiculous thats why you see him rolling out to protect himself. I recall last year a same fragile mililani freshman QB playing his 2nd game on the varsity and Rod York plugged him into the offense as if he was the starter throwing all 4 downs from the pocket, kid breaks his collarbone and York admits its his fault. We just completed our 3rd game against a monster Waianae Defense and the kid is injury free, thank goodness!

    3. Every school has their own internal haters and those are the ones that make the loudest noise, this does not reflect on the majority that do support the team, just as you say the majority of St. Louis fans are respectable so are RR fans. I remember Tua gaining the starting position at St. Louis his sophmore year and hearing some flak about that from some of your fans.

    4. If kahukus offense is Popwarner and you guys cant stop it then maybe the ILH is playing peewee defense. Send your defensive studs to Kahuku because it is DB U and our track record speaks for itself.

    5. For the record you said that St. Louis football program is “expected to win”. let me ask you this, do you guys feel threatened that a “poor” public school like Kahuku is doing most of the winning? You say that you guys dont care about high school championships and you are more concerned with developing talent but that is a myth I think winning High school championships is your guys #1 priority and it goes hand-in-hand with developing talent because if someone else is king of the hill it dampens your reputation as an elite football factory and could possibly hurt future enrollment of “TOP NOTCH” talent into your school. I really dont care about what St.LuLu does and its great to see your athletes get to the NFL and represent all of Hawaii but I just dont agree with the way the ILH Bullies their way around this state so that the brotherhood can feel superior in this sport but not to blame you because thats what winning all those prep bowl does, just like us winning those state titles we always expect more.

    Great convo and Its been a fun season so far, looking forward to the playoffs!

  16. Rough Rider August 28, 2016 8:58 pm

    When I watch Kahuku, I don’t just watch the running, the pass or the tackle, I look at the foot work, the player vision, the reaction to an action, the coaches coaching and how they adapt to changes. For me they doing a good job. And the boys conditioning is outstanding. Keep up the good work. Stay focus

  17. Paper Crane August 29, 2016 2:00 am

    @Rough Rider, now why can’t everyone comment like you whereas short concise and having truthful meaning; yours is one of the best comments this football season; mahalo for them warm words of encouragement.

  18. Jason Keuma August 29, 2016 10:29 am


    Remember when the ILH allowed 5th year seniors to play, all the way to 1998? Remember when the Playoff Era started back in 1999 and that was no longer allowed? What happened? St Louis’ domination ended. Yes, the Crusaders have picked up a State championship here and there, but their domination days are over.

    Thanks for supporting the Kahuku and Waianae kids by watching the game.

  19. Food 4 Thought August 30, 2016 10:21 am

    RednBlue you are spot on the Kahuku 9th grade QB would be better off at St. Louis.

    St. Louis a QB development factory. No one can argue with that. (Marcus and Tua), not to mention all the rest in Hawaii’s history of QB’s coming out from St. Louis. I am not a St. Louis grad but have respect for what they have done for QB development when you look at the track record. More importantly if he desires to play QB at the next college level and especially if the college team who offered him wants him to play QB. Not to sure if Kahuku was the best place for him to develop.

    Bye the way, we are happy for Soljay for getting that offer in his 9th grade year. Really look forward to his success in the next years to come. We are a fan of his. He is a good young man and we want the best for him as it is for all of Hawaii athletes.

    However, it was an interesting offer coming from Michigan and wonder if how much of the offer was more of a “marketing” move for Michigan to position their opportunity to increase exposure for their recruitment efforts. There was an already controversial NCAA ban with satellite football camps. It is interesting to know if the Michigan Head Coach and his staff used the opportunity to offer a scholarship coming this far west (Hawaii) to make a statement to the NCAA and to also make a statement with competing schools for recruitment i.e. Alabama and Ohio State and the like. Yes, Soljay is a good athlete with potential. But to offer with no varsity experience before the season. Question mark.

    Interesting to know how much of the decision in terms of percentage was it based on Michigan’s football operation marketing efforts vs. QB’s potential with no varsity experience.

    Love the kid. Wish him the best.

  20. anywaaaays!! August 30, 2016 11:38 pm

    Former Laie resident Tuioti is an assitant coach at Michigan and maybe, among other things as mentioned previously, just a little bit part of the reason for the offer. SolJay made a wise decision to stay at Kahuku where we take care of our own. You dont have to play for St. louis or Punahou anymore to get exposure and college offers. With Soljay using his skills to help the Kahuku win more championships he will elevate the exposure for more of his teammates and help them get college offers as well.

  21. Food 4 Thought August 31, 2016 11:26 am

    To your comment @anyways.

    Record is straight. Tony Tuioti is the Director of Player Personnel. He has no responsibility coaching as an assistant in a particular position on the Michigan Football Staff. (Recruitment only) or better word in the football industry it is called marketing.

    Another record is straight for you…@anyways! Many families across the state do not go to a private school for football or sports exposure and/or scholarship offers. Most families look at the entire private school experience that it provides. (i.e. Academic rigor, network and relationship building opportunities for life after high school, and being in a environment or culture in a classroom that encourages critical thinking, analytical skills and problem solving; not only from the school, admin, faculty, community but from the students that attend.) Sports is secondary and a by product and not the end all.

    People that are in the “KNOW” about private schools don’t attend for sports only. In fact, most families that have children who played football at the private school that are from the North Shore, know very well that if they want their sons on a winning championship team, the higher chance is to stay at Kahuku. Most have different priorities.

    In addition, students that attend private schools are expected that they will go to college to graduate and for some perhaps create a multi-million dollar business. Getting exposure is an automatic at Punahou. That’s the difference. Simply put, there is more to life than sports/football. I hope this helps.

  22. oia#1 August 31, 2016 5:36 pm

    So embarrassing, dang how can leilehua and aiea put up points but waianae gets a goose egg? Time to make some changes!

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