They’ve scored on special teams in each of their first three games.
It’s no coincidence that the Kaiser Cougars are 3-0. Defense and special teams have led the way through the opening three weeks of the season as the Cougars have allowed seven points or less in each of their first three games for the first time in school history.
Thursday night’s big play on special teams in a 33-7 win over Pac-Five at Kaiser Stadium came in the third quarter. Junior kicker Kyler Halvorsen booted a 53-yard field goal that had a couple of yards to spare. It was just 4 yards shy of the state record held by Kailua’s Naia Graham and Hilo’s Christian Doag.
“It felt pretty good but I could have improved. I could have hit it nicer,” Halvorsen said. “But it went in. That’s all that matters.”
Kaiser’s Kyler Halvorsen got that CVS receipt length 🧾 🗣53 YARDS – @HawaiiPrepWorld says 4 yards shy of #Hawaii FG record @KaiserHigh #Cover2 @dmccrackenKHON // https://t.co/9oZimTtTXJ 🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/WDk7QwQhcw
— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) August 16, 2019
Halvorsen, who hit a kickoff for a touchback into the wind at Kaiser Stadium last week against Pearl City — no small feat — had missed a 37-yard field goal earlier in the game.
With the Cougars ahead 23-0 in the third quarter and the wind at their back, it was an easy choice for Kaiser coach Tim Seaman to send his kicker back out there.
“Kyler has got a really good leg and we wanted to give him an opportunity,” Seaman said. “We’re trying to get all the pieces put together on that because it’s not just the kicker. It’s the snap, the placement, the protection up front, and then you need the boot coming through. To Kyler’s credit he got it up there and did a really nice job with that.”
The Cougars have scored on three interception returns for touchdowns and a safety on defense and a blocked punt in the end zone, a safety on a punt in the end zone and two Halvorsen field goals on special teams. All totaled up, Kaiser’s defense and special teams have outscored its three opponents 34-21.
“We try to make (special teams) an emphasis,” Seaman said. “We work on some aspect of special teams every day. That’s an area that for us, we need to be good in that. We need field position, we need to be able to generate points and that’s something we hope to continue to emphasize as we move through the year.”
Halvorsen, a soccer player, has been kicking a football since he was 10. He competed at the All-Poly camp in Las Vegas and earned a top-50 ranking in the nation for the junior class. He now has his eye on potentially earning a scholarship to play Division I football as a kicker.
“Hopefully one day,” Halvorsen said.
Kaiser’s defense added a safety in the second quarter when defensive lineman Joseph Chin, who had six tackles for loss in last week’s win over Pearl City, got his second of the first half when he cleaned up a tackle of running back Bryson Ho in the end zone.
The Cougars held Pac-Five to 80 total yards with most coming when the second stringer came in midway through the second half.
“Everything is about foundation so what we need is the O-line and the D-line,” Chin said. “Every day we’re going at it against each other and our foundation starts with the D-line and spreads back to the others. On defense the D-line and the linebackers have really set the tone.”