Kainoa Carvalho on Bosco: ‘They’re the top dog in the game’

Kahuku celebrated its victory over Saint Louis to win the Open Division state title. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Kahuku. St. John Bosco. Sept. 17.

Most travel years, Kahuku ventures to Utah for exhibition clashes. This time, the defending Open Division state champions will head to Bellflower, Calif., where the perennial national-title contending Braves of St. John Bosco will be waiting.

Coach Sterling Carvalho’s program won its first state title since 2015 last year, relying substantially on a strong junior class. Linebackers Liona Lefau and Leonard Ah You will return, as well as wide receiver Kainoa Carvalho. Without a stout defensive unit and a balanced offense, this is a grand opportunity for Big Red to establish new status among the nation’s elite.

“We found out maybe two, three weeks ago that it was set,” Kainoa Carvalho said. “It was my uncle (Sterling Carvalho) and the team’s idea. St. John Bosco is the top dog in the game.”

The Braves finished the ’21 season ranked No. 6 in the MaxPreps national rankings and third in California behind Mater Dei and Centennial.

“I’ve been scouting a couple players and they’re pretty solid. They’re the national champs,” Carvalho said. “They play in the Trinity League, the top league in the CIF.”

St. John Bosco has two national titles since ’13 under coach Jason Negro.

“They have great players. A four-star cornerback and a safety who might be five stars. We want to prove ourselves, represent Hawaii and the state, and show we can ball out against the best teams out there,” Carvalho added. “Show what Hawaii, Laie and Kahuku can do. Something special.”

Kahuku has the returning Star-Advertiser All-State defensive player of the year in Lefau (6-1, 210) and All-State offensive POY in Carvalho. Ah You (6-3, 195) is a sack monster, and defensive back Brock Cravens Fonoimoana (6-2, 190) is another returning All-State first-team selection by coaches and media.

Kahuku isn’t lacking for national exposure thanks in part to its success in the offseason via its Pylon team, Rebel Squad. Lefau has 25 offers and has narrowed his list down to eight: BYU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, USC, Utah and Washington.

Ah You has 10 offers: Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon State, San Diego State, Utah, Utah State and UNLV.

Fonoimoana, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety, also has offers from 10 schools: BYU, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, Virginia, Utah and Utah State.

Carvalho (5-7, 160) has six offers: Air Force, Hawaii, Navy, San Diego State, Utah and Utah State.

A number of other returnees also have FBS (Division I) offers: juniors Viliamu Toilolo (DB, 5-11, 160); Chansen Nicodemus-Garcia (DB, 5-8, 162); sophomore Kingsley Ah You (ATH, 5-11, 175); freshmen Mana Carvalho (WR/DB/P 6-11, 165) and Maximum Moe Fonoimoana (6-3, 200).

While the high school season is more than two months away, the grind never stops. There are camps and combines, and constant workouts for the defending Hawaii champs. Kahuku fans are already making plans to be in Cali soon.

“I know some community members came up to me and they’re fired up and ready to go,” Carvalho said. “I know a couple people booked tickets. Liona played at Jserra (High School) his freshman year. He has family up there.”

Waika “Toa” Crawford takes over at quarterback for recently graduated Jason Mariteragi. Crawford gained valuable experience last season while Mariteragi recovered from an early-season injury.

“Toa is doing good, working hard,” Carvalho said.

Incoming wide receiver Kache Kaio (6-1, 200) is transferring from Saint Louis to play for his hometown team. He has played for the Rebel Squad, which won its second Mecca national title recently.

“Once summer starts, Kache will start rolling with us. They live in the community. His grandma picks him up every day before and after school,” Carvalho said. “A bunch of our guys are overlooked or haven’t gotten the exposure. They’ve been learning from our older guys. Manulele (Ah You), Kache, Manoa (Hallums). We trust everyone. It’ a we thing. We trust each of our players to make a play when we need to.”

Carvalho has an official visit to Hawaii on June 3. The following week, the cadre of Kahuku standouts — Lefau, Ah You, Fonoimoana, Carvalho — will visit Utah.


  1. rrforlifebaby May 24, 2022 2:01 pm

    You listed a bunch of players that have already graduated.


  2. island football VP May 24, 2022 5:17 pm

    Kana Fonoimoana-Vaomu (LB, 5-11, 195), Mana Fonoimoana-Vaomu (DB, 5-10, 180), Kaonohi Kaniho (DB, 6-0, 180), Ace Kaufusi (OLB, 6-3, 185) and Micah Soliai-Howlett (OL, 6-4, 290). Aren’t these guys finished not returnees?

  3. Paul Honda May 25, 2022 12:46 pm

    Fixed it. Thanks gentlemen.

  4. Stacey May 26, 2022 12:34 pm

    Might have to fly out for this one.

  5. HI HS FAN May 26, 2022 2:16 pm

    Going to be a good test for Kahuku. Bosco is going to be favored. But Kahuku will have a chip on their shoulders because they are playing for their school, community, and state. The Red Raiders have a lot of returning, experienced, and talented players. It should be a great matchup.

  6. real talk May 27, 2022 3:18 pm

    Kahuku probably will be the dominant team this year in hawaii.

    St louis , Punahou , Kamehameha, we just have to see, obviously you cant count them out.

    On the other hand Campbell is loaded, i think they have the edge on mililani this year. Mililani wont walk through this season like they usually do against the OIA teams. Kapolei will give them a run and possibly Kailua.

    Mililani doesnt have a gabriel or a milton who can make coaches look good. Its funny because everybody talks about mililani, but have you noticed when they actually have to coach a quarterback they just dont know how. Im speaking the truth here. Mililani is a great program , but only because they have players . When it comes down to adjustments, they just dont know how.

    With all that being said, Kahuku does have talent , but talent will only take you so far. KK wont be running up and down the field like he does against these hawaii teams. I can garantee you that. Kahuku just has athletes and the coaches just puts them out on the field and just let them loose. They cant do that against Bosco. Maybe Kahuku’s slows them down just enough first half, but gets blown out in the second half. My opinion.

    Good Luck

  7. poloka May 28, 2022 9:43 pm

    Bruh, Kahuku does worse with QBs then Mililani, did you see lastyear how Kahukus QB, both 1st and 2nd string kept running and lowering their heads instead of sliding? Thats coaching right there, I quarantee you This years Kahuku QB will be injured by midseason, that is coaching right there. Sad because the Kahuku QBs were legit, whos the 2nd string this year or does Kahuku have to go elephant again?

    BTW Mililani takes the cake this year for recruiting, 90% of their starters this year will not be hometown kids. More to come out as the season comes closer, they will run through the OIA and give Kahuku a good game.

  8. ILoveHawaii May 31, 2022 12:22 pm

    Real Talk –

    Kailua? Really?
    For sure you must know something we all dont know.

    Is there a coaching change on the horizon?
    Has some of those St. Lulu players transferred over to the ol’ Super S?

  9. Kekoahopeloa June 3, 2022 1:19 pm

    Will there be a list of hawaii schools vs mainland schools listed soon?

  10. JuSt.A.fAn June 6, 2022 1:08 am

    Word is going around that a few kids had and are transferring to Kailua they wanna go home and play there last season with friends. If it’s true they have a good chance at winning there Division and maybe even States

  11. West Side Madness June 6, 2022 7:11 am

    Mililani gets wasted by Kahuku and Campbell this year . Real Talk .

    And yes Mililani is transfer galore. Idk how they get away with it. Lets all be real here, if Mililani had their home town kids actually playing and starting for Mililani, Mililani would be a 50% percent team and probably worse.

    Funny how everybody makes like the leader of that Mililani program is such a great guy , best coach, best everything. If they only knew lol.

  12. Lesssgoooo June 19, 2022 1:42 pm

    I’m rooting for all the Hawai’i teams to put on a show against these mainland schools but definitely that Kahuku vs St John Bosco game is going to put the nation on notice. I believe Kahuku’s defense is going to give em a run for there money but the players they have at bosco and the unlimited sources that is provided for them is going to shake kahuku up like no hawaii team did to them. This game is really going to project how tough and talented Kahuku really is. If Kahuku holds St John Bosco to 28 points or under, I believe Kahuku secures the state trophy in September.

  13. hadafakaya June 23, 2022 5:58 am

    Rebel Squad players are for real !

  14. Edward K June 25, 2022 5:26 pm

    Kahuku will have a good team for sure. Ranked #1 in Hawaii ,till they get beat. Or maybe have 2 lost like StL. but still be ranked #1.
    On the Bosco game, hmmmm. Lots of speed and the best recruited team using all the Western States 50 million population. Their speed is what eins games.

  15. 96730to89 July 10, 2022 9:24 am

    Kahuku deserves to lace ‘em up against the best. Finally participating in the Pylon leagues have elevated them to the next level. And DON’T tell me that Pylon doesn’t matter, because if it didn’t the college recruiters wouldn’t be up there dishing out offers to kids.
    I’ve noticed a substantial difference in Kahuku’s approach since joining the summer leagues. The biggest difference…coaching. Pylon is a passing league so Kahuku coaches have now improved their passing schemes. They no longer rely solely on physical superiority. They put your defense in a spin cycle by utilizing every formation in the book from an empty 5-wide set all the way to the elephant.
    Kahuku will compete and Max Preps will put some respect on their name and have them ranked in the top 25 after this game.

  16. ilh July 11, 2022 10:54 pm

    Good luck to all the Hawaii teams that’s playing Mainland opponents, need to support all our local teams 100%

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