Wins over Roosevelt and McKinley — a combined 2-7 in OIA Division II play — doesn’t seem like anything to write home about.
For Kaimuki coach David Tautofi, however, they were much more challenging than it looked on paper.
“We got past the two games that was a big concern to me — Roosevelt and McKinley,” Tautofi said after Friday’s 42-6 victory over the Tigers at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium. “When you’re playing a team that doesn’t have such a good record, you know how kids can get a little lenient about that and our practices kind of showed it.
“Me as a coach, it has been a challenge to try to keep these guys minds into practice and into preparing.”
The Bulldogs didn’t make it easy on themselves. They needed two fourth quarter touchdowns to get past Roosevelt, 14-6, and were scoreless after the first quarter against a McKinley team that hasn’t won since 2013 — a span of 29 games.
Quarterback Jordan Solomon came to the rescue with four touchdown passes over the next two quarters, and running back Ieke Seei-Cleveland recorded his fifth straight game with at least 97 rushing yards and found the end zone three times to help Kaimuki remain undefeated in league play at 4-0.
The Bulldogs (4-1 overall) now get to face the top contenders in back-to-back weeks, beginning with Pearl City (4-0) next Saturday, followed by Waipahu (3-0) the following week.
Kaimuki hasn’t won an OIA D-II title since 2010. The Bulldogs made it to the final two years ago and were eliminated in the semifinals last year by Waialua.
Solomon, who has thrown for 12 touchdowns and two interceptions this season, was pleased by Kaimuki’s performance Friday against McKinley heading into the next two critical games of the season.
“I think we played well tonight and set the mind-set for the next two games,” said Solomon, who was 11-for-19 for 150 yards. “It’s always important to take care of the first game and now we can worry about the next.”
Next Saturday’s game against Pearl City will be held at Skippa Diaz Stadium.