Kahuku coach Vavae Tata is counting more than wins.
Shortly after dismantling Mililani in the OIA championship game, Tata’s first response to Paul Honda was ‘That is seven, right? Seven shutouts?’
Sure, the Red Raiders defense blanked the Mililani machine, but the Trojans scored six on a fumble return. Whether it is truly a shutout is a matter of debate, but with those points or without them Tata has his defense on a historic run.
Kahuku has to hold Saint Louis under six points if it wants to pass 1975 Leilehua for the fewest points against per game in modern football history (Since the OIA-ILH split). The Red Raiders sit at 3.25 and Hugh Yoshida‘s mighty Mules surrendered only 3.4 points per game. Those Mules pitched seven shutouts but gave up 21 points in a loss to Radford to miss a shot at the Prep Bowl in the days when a single loss meant no chance at playoffs.
Without that fumble return Kahuku would have been at 2.7 points against per game and would have given the Red Raiders the luxury of giving up a touchdown and still topping the historic chart.
The Red Raiders have never given up a touchdown run with Tata in charge of the defense. NEVER.
You have to go back to last year’s OIA championship, a 20-7 loss to Mililani under Lee Leslie, to find the last time someone broke the plane on a run against Kahuku, when Vavae Malepeai hit the end zone untouched on his sixth carry. Since then, through two head coaches and three state tournament games, nothing.
Saint Louis hasn’t been held below six points since Punahou shut it out to end their season in 2012 and a Cal Lee-coached Crusader squad hasn’t been held below six since a 40-0 loss to Canyon in 1990. Leilehua is the last Hawaii team to shut Lee down, beating him 10-0 in the 1984 Prep Bowl.
Whether Tata and the Red Raiders can hold Tua Tagovailoa and the Crusaders down, just being on this list with one game remaining is an accomplishment. While the offensive list is littered with modern teams like Mililani, Saint Louis and Punahou, the defensive list hasn’t had an addition since 1986 and is polluted with teams from the late 1970s and early 1980s.
For Tata’s team to channel Larry Ginoza‘s brilliance from another time is impressive. Kahuku will have to hold Lee’s modern marvels under 25 points to stay on the list.
Points against per game
2015 KAHUKU, 3.25 (Vavae Tata)
1. 1975 Leilehua, 3.4 (Hugh Yoshida)
2. 1979 Waianae, 3.8 (Larry Ginoza)
2. 1974 Kailua, 3.8 (Joe Kahahawai)
4. 1975 Radford, 3.9 (John Velasco)
5. 1980 Farrington, 4.1 (Al Espinda)
6. 1978 Waipahu, 4.3 (Keith Morioka)
7. 1982 Radford, 4.4 (Bobby Stevens)
8. 1973 Waianae, 4.5 (Larry Ginoza)
8. 1984 Waianae, 4.5 (Larry Ginoza)
10. 1986 Pearl City, 4.8 (Ben Ronquillio)
10. 1981 Waianae, 4.8 (Larry Ginoza)
Kahuku’s dismantling of Mililani dropped the Trojans to third on the chart of most points per game, behind Lee’s oustanding 1998-99 teams. Mililani was on top of the list all season before McKenzie Milton got hurt. Still, Rod York has two of the top six teams ever by this metric and is one of just two coaches to preside over a team that averaged more than 50 points per game.
points per game
1. 1998 Saint Louis, 52.7 (Cal Lee)
2. 1999 Saint Louis, 51.50 (Cal Lee)
3. 2015 Mililani, 51.08 (Rod York)
4. 2000 Saint Louis, 48.5 (Cal Lee)
5. 2014 Punahou, 47.8 (Kale Ane)
6. 2014 MIlilani, 45.5 (Rod York)
7. 2013 Kaiser, 44.4 (Rich Miano)
8. 1990 Kahuku, 43.3 (Doug Semones)
9. 1998 Kahuku, 42.9 (Siuaki Livai)
10. 2013 Saint Louis, 42.5 (Matt Wright)
10. 2014 Saint Louis, 42.5 (Cal Lee)