Junior Justin Uahinui, who was set to be the starting quarterback for Kaiser this season, has transferred to Farrington according to Cougars head coach Cameron Higgins.
Higgins said before Monday’s practice that he found out “a couple of days ago right before camp” of Uahinui’s decision to transfer from other players on the team.
Uahinui sat out last season after breaking his collarbone just before the season started. Kaiser then added Kalawaia Judd, a transfer from Kauai, who started every game. Judd, who has since graduated, threw for 1,515 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 497 yards in leading Kaiser to a 5-4 record and 4-3 mark in the OIA Red. The Cougars were eliminated in the OIA quarterfinals by eventual state champion Mililani.
“You’ve just got to adapt or die. That’s basically our motto,” Higgins said. “We’ll change up our offensive look to accommodate for our new personnel.”
Defensive back Nic Tom will move to quarterback and attempt to play both positions. Kainoa Torres, up from the junior varsity team, and linebacker Parker Higgins will also work out at QB.
None have attempted a pass in a varsity game.
With so many players going both ways, Higgins has had to change his practice routine. The first half is strictly offense and the second half is strictly defense to allow his players to get equal work in on both sides of the ball.
Running back Jensen McDaniel, who ran for 1,135 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior, will see time at cornerback.
“The great thing about these kids is they’ve all bought in,” Higgins said. “No one puts themselves before the team and they’ve all bean real good about handling everything that has happened so far.”
Tom played some receiver but mostly on defense last season. He took a few reps before Uahinui’s departure to prepare for an emergency situation and said he’s ready for the challenge.
“I get to be on the field more so I like it. I’m playing safety too no matter what,” Tom said. “It’s going to be tiring but I want to be on the field as much as I can. (My arm) is getting worked out. We’re going to do a lot more running stuff … but finding the chemistry with the receivers is important and hopefully things work out.”