Kaimuki’s iron men play at another speed

Kaimuki quarterback Jordan Solomon had a big opening game with 199 passing yards and four touchdowns against Waialua. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Everywhere they go, home and away games, they ride the bus.

That hasn’t stopped the Kaimuki Bulldogs from emerging as a stronger team each season under Coach David Tautofi. They made an immediate impression to the rest of the OIA Division II universe with a 63-0 shellacking of a decimated Waialua squad on Saturday night at Edward Skippa Diaz Stadium. Even with just 25 players in uniform, Kaimuki was in hurry-up mode in the first half and dictated the tempo.

“Most of these boys play a lot bigger than they are and that’s the mantra of our team. We’re 25 strong but it feels like we have 50,” said Tautofi, who added that nine more players will return soon.

It wasn’t just quarterback Jordan Solomon, who was consistently one step ahead of the Waialua defense all night. It wasn’t just bulldozing running back Ieke Seei-Cleveland (5-9, 210), whose superior field vision, patience and cutback ability enhance his deceptive explosiveness.

Kaimuki’s offensive line was on point from start to finish, never letting up against the defending OIA D-II champions. That made life in the pistol pocket much better for Solomon, who passed for 199 yards and four TDs while completing 73 percent of his passes (11 for 15). Seei-Cleveland, who rumbled for 165 yards and two TDs on 15 carries, also hauled in a screen pass for a 46-yard score.

“I feel like we did our job well. We practiced how we played. We did good enough to win,” Tautofi said. “There’s just a lot of room to get better. If there’s one thing, it’s just the fruits of their labor. They finally got a taste of what success could be like for them after all this time and work, to trust in the system. This is our third season and it’s been two years in making. Our seniors are leaders and holding the team together and giving each other something to play for.”

Kaimuki’s offense generated 292 rushing yards and finished with 491 total yards.

“For us, myself especially, it’s a treat to see the whole offensive unit click as a whole. Ieke was at the camps during the summer at UH, working hard in the summer. I believe he’s one of the best running backs in D-I or D-II. He’s hungry,” said Tautofi, a Kaimuki graduate who played at UCLA. “The line is just as hungry, they got the physique and size and athleticism and heart. Those combined together are unstoppable and phenomenal when they’re on their game. It’s like the old-school days when the offensive line leads the offense. Ieke follows their lead.”

That bruising line has D-I size: left tackle Evangelist Paama (6-4, 343, Jr.), left guard Chesney Ludwig (5-7, 280, Sr.), center Daniel Tautofi Jr. (5-8, 200, So.), right guard Suliveti Nisa (6-2, 322, Sr.) and right tackle Hunter Mulu (6-0, 223, Jr.).

The path is made clear not just through the trenches with straight-ahead tactics, but with the mobility required to go to the edge with authority.

“We’ve been working this summer on becoming a team that can play smashmouth, but run around outside, too. Going into the half, we wanted to get everyone involved. Ieke easily could’ve had more than 15 carries. Even as a receiver, he’s scary,” Tautofi said.

Naomas Asuega-Fualaau (5-9, 154) added 61 yards on eight carries, showing speed on the perimeter and some power inside.

“Naomas, he’s only a sophomore. Last year, we saw his potential. He resembles Billy Masima when he was a freshman and sophomore. Billy was a great athlete. Naomas more of a true running back than Billy was,” Tautofi said.

Kaimuki’s defense limited Waialua to 10 yards of total offense. Kaulana Kaluna Jr. was one of several ironmen — 21 of of the 25, in fact — who played and excelled on both sides of the football.

“They finish the play, pick each other up and get back. Not being chippy, and nothing can slow us down. We wanted to take away all their options and put everything on their quarterback (Tevesi Toia) and 71 (Matthan Hatchie),” Tautofi said. “We’re far from where we used to be and we’re so far from where we want to be. It’s going to take an entire season. It’s the speed of the game. They’re able to get right back on the line and keep going.”

Monday will be rest day. Video day. Conditioning day.

“Defensively, we’re still trying to figure out what kind of defense we have. We’re lucky because there’s a lot of combinations we have. The only thing working against us is numbers,” said Tautofi, a former defensive lineman. “Our strength is our line. We probably blitzed less than five times last night where last year we’d blitz 20 or 30 times a game.”

Their strength is also a team-wide willingness to do more.

“Polo (Solomon) was begging me, ‘Let me play defense. Let me go on special teams.’ Pound for pound he is the best athlete on the team,” Tautofi said. “The bus ride (to Kaimuki) was quiet and when we got back, they said, ‘Coach, we can play another game.’ We’re looking forward to playing Kalani. We have to make sure we’re sharp.”


  1. Jonkon August 13, 2017 10:30 pm

    What Paul Honda fails to mention is that 1) Kaimuki’s enrollment is 800+ while Waialua’s is 400; 2) Waialua lost 22 seniors after last season and STILL managed to form a solid team; 3) Waialua plays 10 freshmen and 7 sophomores to Kaimuki’s O freshmen and 3 sophomores; 4) many of Waialua’s boys ALSO play BOTH sides of the ball (He only mentions Kaimuki); 5) they ran up their stats by leaving their KEY starters in for most of the game. Oh, and count how many penalties they had… I stopped counting. l’m proud of Waialua’s self-control and discipline. Go, Dawgs!!

    * Disclaimer: This is MY opinion. Just saying…

  2. SaintsCrus August 13, 2017 10:52 pm

    Its funny you’d say Kaimuki has 800 when youre way off. Kaimuki’s enrollment is barely pushing the 650 mark. Secondly, Kaimuki suited up less players than Waialua did. Waialua failed to field a JV team which explains why they have those freshman while Kaimuki has barely 18 players currently on their JV with many they;d love to bring up. Running up the score??? Umm i don’t think you were really paying much attention to the game. Kaimuki had 7 different players score a touchdown and they are more dangerous even with lineman running as backup running backs. It just sounds silly you’d make your excuses buddy. Nothing but the utmost love and respect for coach Lincoln and the Waialua staff and that program. They just happened to get the Kaimuki Bulldogs at their best for their season opener. Now you want to mention penalties, the refs called 13 penalties to waialuas 2 simply because they didn’t want the game to go how it eventually ended up. But you cant teach your team to slow down or take the foot off the pedal. Buddy be proud of your school but don’t be throwing out your opinions until you get your facts straight. Nonetheless… Go Dawgz!!!

  3. SaintsCrus August 13, 2017 10:55 pm

    Oh and speaking of stats, they couldn’t have done anything more than what they were already doing, dominating in a dominant fashion. Mind you it was already mercy rule in the ending of the 2nd qtr.

  4. RecruitOrDie August 13, 2017 11:14 pm

    Glad that was squared away, Kaimuki Bulldogs are always a powerhouse football team, and Paul Honda hasn’t failed to mention what really didn’t matter, but thanks for your input and next time you make excuses, open up your own football page and write about it, hahaha!

  5. ALOHI August 13, 2017 11:28 pm

    @JonKon Don’t you DARE try to discredit Kaimuki for their success. You’re saying that it’s JUST an opinion, but you’re literally listing EXCUSES. These boys worked their butt’s off almost everyday since they were freshmen. You guys took Kaimuki out of the playoffs last year with 22 seniors (as you listed above) all the while all but about 5-8 seniors on Kaimukis team were freshmen/sophomores.. yet, Kaimuki accepted the loss and managed to go back and GET BETTER. It’s never about the ages… ALLLLL ABOUT THE HUNGER. #ahuihou

  6. Northshore August 14, 2017 4:38 am

    Since SA is too lazy to come up with Hawaii’s high school Division I and Division II ranking, here’s a mock up of what it should look like:
    Division I
    1. St Louis
    2. Kahuku
    3. Kapolei
    4. Punahou
    5. Waianae
    6. Mililani
    7. Campbell
    8. Kamehameha (Kapalama)
    9. Kailua
    10. Hilo

    Division II
    1. Lahainaluna
    2. Kaimuki
    3. Iolani
    4. St Francis
    5. Damien
    6. Waimea
    7. Kapaa
    8. Honokaa
    9. Pearl City
    10. Waipahu

    Expect and encourage many opinions. Have a good day.

  7. KillahKoa August 14, 2017 5:25 am

    @Jonkon-Excuses, excuses, EXCUSES😂😂😂👎

  8. phILHarmonic August 14, 2017 7:34 am

    63-0 though. Thats rough.

    There are lessons to be learned through mercy and humility.
    I know Coach Barit personally and probably would have stopped at 45 points, just out of respect.
    But thats just me.

    BTW, the Dawgs look great, Dline is savage and that QB is something special.
    Good luck during the season.

  9. Iwalani August 14, 2017 8:58 am

    Wining is good don’t get me wrong , but most importantly is that we continue to have encouragement and respect towards all teams, each and every student works hard, and plays hard. I have high respect for the coaches and staff that dedicate everything they have to their teams. Here’s to a awesome year of high school football .

  10. Dawg life August 14, 2017 12:34 pm

    Bottom line is 11 of the best plays against the other 11 best. And if the next man up is just as hungry to put up points cannot help. Yes mercy rule was in effect but you cannot deny the kids still playing with heart. Kaimuki , kahuku, saint Louis etc it doesn’t matter who, if you stop a kid from producing at his best level imagine when you on the receiving end of a butt whooping. Let the kids play to their full potential. Sometimes it looks like running the score up but that builds character and strenghtens the team for a stronger comeback. This was battle of the dogs and kaimuki won. End of story move on.

  11. phILHarmonic August 14, 2017 12:40 pm

    is 63 to 0 respectful?

  12. DragonLady August 14, 2017 12:53 pm

    It was a rough game for our Waialua Bulldogs but the boys played to the very end, even when it seemed that all was lost.

    With the ohana in the stands cheering them on and telling them to keep their heads up, find the fire, and not to give up… they kept on going! Couldn’t be prouder of our little team and our coaches!

    P.S. my son said that the players from Kaimuki were also encouraging them on the field. So mahalo to the Kaimuki players who saw that our young boys were playing their hearts out.

    Best of luck this season to both Bulldogs!

  13. NoheaMic August 14, 2017 2:06 pm

    @ phILHarmonic 63-0 may not seem to be respectful but the staff on Kaimuki is as respectful as any staff can be. They didn’t intentionally try running up the score. they had no back ups to put in the game. In fact they had less guys suited up than Waialua. Did you expect the coaches to ask the players to ease off? Waialua unfortunately gave up in the 3rd qtr and the players simply stopped playing. You can’t teach kids to slow down or to stop playing especially when you have goals for the season. Remember, Waialua is the defending champs. It shouldn’t have come down to how it played out but the score was what it was. 7 different players scored touchdowns and they kept the ball on the ground for the 4th qtr. What would’ve been disrespectful is if Kaimuki eased off and started goofing off on the field but after seeing what I saw, theyre a team on a whole different level. And thats only the first game. Waialua will come back strong and they will do damage. Kaimuki will continue to dominate and unless injuries hit them, there’s no stopping what may happen each game. They beat a good Waialua team. Now imagine what could happen against teams like McKinley or Kalaheo. D2 better brace themselves

  14. Jazzzzy August 14, 2017 2:40 pm

    Funny how it’s “disrespectful” when Kaimuki scored that high… but when Kahuku scored 83 on Radford (who had 0), no complaints, no one called them disrespectful🙄 Or when Nanakuli went 61-0 on Anuenus, NOTHING. RESPECT THE PROCESS; Kaimuki been hungry since the last loss they had from Waialua. Don’t be mad/butt hurt cause they went innnn & ATE; everybody wanted a fight but the Kaimuki Bulldawgs went beyond & brought WAR.

  15. ALOHI August 14, 2017 2:53 pm

    Okay but when Kahuku & Nanakuli did it, it was alright, huh? Y’all gotta have several seats with this whole “disrespectful 63-0” stuff. KAIMUKI WAS HUNGRY, SO THEY AAAATE. deal with it.

  16. ALOHI August 14, 2017 2:55 pm

    Okay but when Kahuku & Nanakuli did it, it was alright, huh? Y’all gotta have several seats with this whole “disrespectful 63-0” stuff. KAIMUKI WAS HUNGRY, SO THEY AAAATE. deal with it.

  17. Alohi August 14, 2017 4:35 pm

    @phILHarmonic NOPE. 63-0 is just another score, lol. Goh. Everybody wanted a fight, Kaimuki brought the war instead. Tough loss.

  18. phILHarmonic August 15, 2017 8:24 am

    Um, get over yourselves, for some, it was disrespectful for every example you shared. But for some, it wasnt.
    And, I do know the Kaimuki Coaches and I agree with everything you said, the Tautofi Bro’s are a class act and are doing great things for their community.
    I on the other hand would have done it differently, no negative on them, just my own perspective.

    Alohi- How do you predict Kaimuki will finish this year?

  19. NoneYaaa August 15, 2017 10:33 am

    but you were talkin about how the boys were disrespectful by running up the score… what’d you want them to do? They played All the back-ups they had, & still scored. The adrenaline was pumping, they’ve been waiting to play a game of FOOTBALL. What’d you want Kaimuki to do? End the game after 2nd quarter? Tell the boys to hike the ball and then lay on their backs for 2 quarters? Lol. What did you want them to do, knowitall?

  20. KapahuluJem August 15, 2017 10:38 am

    at the end of the day, IT HAPPENED. Ppl will always have something negative to say whether Kaimuki was doing poorly, or even at their best. To all of DawgPound, this is how it is, being a Bulldawg… but it fuels our fire. So here’s to an exciting season! Let the COACHES COACH & the players play…& the haters HATE. Haha. #GoGreen&Gold!

  21. phILHarmonic August 15, 2017 1:09 pm

    I never said anyone was disrespectful. I would have done it differently.

    And now, the personal attacks. Im not a knowitall, I simply have a different perspective on running scores up on teams that are obviously not at the same performance level as my team.
    And, just because we dont see eye to eye or I have an opinion on something that differs from you, I am not a hater.

    For nonyaa and Kapahulujem- how do you think Kaimuki will finish this year??

  22. LaieBoy August 15, 2017 2:01 pm

    Not a Kaimuki fan… Grew up with them being our rivals in football and basketball. But watching them prosper these last couple yrs is grand! So what would you have done? Tell your boys to slow their game down? To not play to their full potential? Or run a couple yards and fumble/throw interceptions? Because even without Kaimukis starting running back, linemen in the 2nd Half… they were still scoring. I’d love to know what you’d tell your fellas to do🤗 Oh, and how do you think they’re gonna do this season?

  23. phILHarmonic August 15, 2017 4:07 pm

    Not a Kaimuki Fan(Laie Boy)
    Lets agree to not agree. Whatever I tell you wont change your mind.

    But to answer your question- based on what we saw, I say that Kaimuki will play for the championship game for OIA Div 2, if they stay healthy and eligible. This may change as we get to see other teams play. Btw, how do you think Kahuku is going to do?

  24. Dawg life August 15, 2017 10:29 pm

    Kaimuki needs to stay healthy and students need to do their part by being academically elegble , not ARS status. With that said they should be successful. This goes for every team. To be successful it starts in the class room. Take care of business in the classroom and the football will Take care of its self.,along with god first,respect for parents and adult authority and doing what is right especially when no one’s looking. At the end of the day football is a vehicle to get to college and eventually give back to those whom helped you and your community.

  25. phILHarmonic August 16, 2017 10:09 am

    Preach on Dawg Life.

    Love to hear that stuff.

  26. Mike K August 17, 2017 1:27 am

    Waipahu will dominate D2 once again so u two bulldogs can make up n stop fighting like girls.marauders will eat up the bulldogs

  27. Mike K August 17, 2017 1:37 am

    Any team can beat Waialua just cause they got lucky last year winning their first title in 60 years they was never a threat or a for real team in fact they the only OIA team who never played in D-1

  28. SassyA August 17, 2017 9:08 am

    omg Mike K get over yourself smh

  29. Dawg life August 17, 2017 9:36 am

    Waipahu is a awesome team , I won’t take anything away from them especially a dominant performance against nanakuli. But with a student body of over 1000 students and an army of players I think it’s not fair to say kaimuki and waiilua ain’t that good of a team. With respects to smaller teams suiting up only 25 players at most vs Waipahu with over 40 players strong really makes a difference. This write up was referring to kaimuki players with limited numbers playing both ways and still coming on top shows heart and dedication and hard work. Also waialua the same. So yes Waipahu will dominate in D2 level but remember just 2 yrs ago Waipahu was in D1 and 2 yrs in a roll was getting pounded and as a result got placed down to D2. So with all respects of the game and oia just praise each other, encourage and wish the best for all teams for a injury free season . God bless. Dawg life

  30. SassyA August 17, 2017 1:47 pm

    So agree with Dawg life…. best of luck to all the teams and injury free season 🙂

  31. Mike K August 17, 2017 2:16 pm

    Kaimuki look dangerous this year though gotta admit

  32. Warrior Ball August 17, 2017 9:59 pm

    Mike K! Really?! Lol, don’t forget that Waialua owned waipahu last season hahaha. I’m no Kaimuki fan but my money is on Kaimuki OIA and State. They could easily compete for a spot in states in D1 this year. Waipahu? Lol just watch and see. Same old story with them, go nowhere. RRFL

  33. phILHarmonic August 19, 2017 9:58 am

    Mike K-
    Waipahu? Why aren’t you guys up in D1?
    Big fish, little pond guys.

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