Who knows how many times Mason Yoshino has caught a pass from his younger brother, Easton.
However many there have been, none can compare to the moment Friday night at Kaiser Stadium. With the Cougars ahead of Pearl City 17-0 in the second quarter, Easton’s first-ever completion to Mason went for 15 yards over the middle to put the ball inside the Pearl City 15. Two plays later, Easton lobbed a ball to the right corner of the end zone and Mason went up with a defender all over his back to haul in the 14-yard TD pass from his brother.
It’s the first of what Kaiser fans hope are many to come between the two.
“The first thing I wanted to do was just hug him, honestly,” said Mason, a junior. “He put it up there, he trusted me and the O-line was doing a heckuva job blocking, keeping him safe.”
Easton, who threw his first career TD pass in the first quarter to Dre Falls, said he trusted his older brother to go get it.
“I told him I loved him,” Easton said after the throw.
It was the sixth career touchdown reception for Mason, who was the Cougars’ leading receiver as a sophomore, catching 36 passes for 620 yards and five TD’s.
Easton, who is a freshman, split time at quarterback in Kaiser’s season-opening win over Aiea last week. It wasn’t until after practice on Thursday when he found out he was going to start and go the whole way against Pearl City.
“I was surprised,” Easton said. “I was happy. All of that hard work that I’ve done paid off.”
Kaiser led 26-0 at halftime and cruised to a 33-7 win to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2013, when it won the Division II state title.
Easton finished 14-for-30 for 126 yards and the two touchdowns with one interception.
“He’s been doing a good job in practice and he can keep the play alive,” Kaiser coach Tim Seaman said. “He does a good job with his feet. There’s a lot of areas he can improve upon but for his first time as a starter under the lights I thought it was a pretty solid performance.”
With a good win over Aiea, which beat Radford in its OIA Division I opener on Friday, and a convincing win over Pearl City, which has made the OIA D-II playoffs three years in a row, Kaiser has the look of a team that expects to be in the four-team OIA D-II playoffs come season’s end.
That’s a tough task with a freshman quarterback.
“It’s not the ideal situation but it is what it is and we’ve got to do the best we can to maximize what we have available to us,” Seaman said. “(Easton and Mason) both are football guys. They enjoy working in practice. They practice hard and I think that is a big deal.”
Easton does have weapons to work with. Falls is a shifty two-way player who has big-play capability with his speed and quickness. Six other receivers also caught at least one pass against the Chargers.
Defense and special teams have played a huge part in Kaiser’s first two wins. The Cougars’ first four touchdowns of the season came on three pick-6’s and a punt block in the end zone.
The Cougars’ defense has outscored their first two opponents by themselves.
“I think we can take this far as a team because our team is grinding it out every day,” Mason said. “We’re practicing hard and our coaches are working us every single day. Our coaches are good.”