Magic number is 5 for Kahuku’s defense

Kahuku's Aaron Tapusoa (17) and Pesa Lefau are parts of the best defense Hawaii has ever seen on the prep level. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser
Kahuku’s Aaron Tapusoa (17) and Pesa Lefau are parts of the best defense Hawaii has ever seen on the prep level. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

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)


  1. Manley November 18, 2015 10:36 am

    To be fair, back in 1975, high school teams didn’t score alot. Now even Waianae throws the ball. Most teams relied on the run which was easier to defend.

  2. SimpleSimon November 18, 2015 12:04 pm

    To be fair some of these teams ran up the score on weaker teams.

  3. FBfan November 18, 2015 1:13 pm

    To be fair some of these teams leave their first string in the whole game….lol

  4. 808polytics November 18, 2015 1:27 pm

    to be fair i see alotta waianae defense on that list

  5. realistic November 18, 2015 1:49 pm

    88 was in the marching band. He wanted to play the tuba but it was too heavy. So he was with the girls waiving their flags and kicking their legs. He was the first TG in modern day history.

  6. Aalona November 18, 2015 2:55 pm

    Les get dis shutout boiz!! Bring it back to da North Shore paayypeee.. #bloodlinerunsdeep #homegrown

  7. GoBigRed November 18, 2015 3:24 pm

    This year’s defense will end up on that list…but five points??

    I don’t know about that. Probably more like 14 points.

  8. 88 November 18, 2015 4:38 pm

    And you know this because….. Oh thats right you were under the Band Teacher’s desk…. Keep setting yourself up. This is too easy…

  9. Paper Crane November 18, 2015 5:12 pm

    must be getting closer and closer to game day like Red Friday and it’s noticeable like hoggy Realastic is running out of words and sentences but that’s OK not going to “Translate” for him like waste of time for anyone who couldn’t remember his high school drama line in tap dancing and so anyway like what all took place for or against, wins or loses, like them numbers come out of Hawaii’s pigskin dynasties yet for this Friday it’s all about the numbers on the scoreboard and maybe the referees depending of the otherside needing band aid or rubber band from the officials? Bet you that Realastic is going to need translation or he may just punt?

  10. Gobigred's friend November 18, 2015 11:41 pm

    Practicing at Castle cause you need lights??? What happened to all the NFL players from Kahuku? Continue to drink Kava and dont worry about the football field lights. Lmao

  11. 88 November 19, 2015 5:24 am

    Don’t worry about all the NFL players from Kahuku. They have their own family and bills they need to worry about. What I wonder is where does all the money from go? Shouldn’t the money from that go to take care of the feild, uniforms(for every sport), equipment etc……….

  12. Tanoai Reed November 19, 2015 7:59 am

    @Gobigredsfriend, They practiced at Castle because they have field turf (what they’ll be playing on in the stadium) Io, LYAO all you like but don’t talk about people and things that you don’t even know..

  13. GoBigRed November 19, 2015 3:08 pm


    Do you feel stupid now?

    No, really…do you feel stupid now?

    No, really… And just so you know the DOE and OIA have made it very clear that any donations made to the school have to be forwarded to DOE to be dispersed evenly amongst all public schools. And yet somehow Kahuku has some of the crappiest facilities in the state with multiple OIA and State titles in multiple extra-curricular organizations while other schools who can’t win a pissing contest get brand spanking new facilities and upgrades. So why in the world would those actual NFL players donate just to watch the vast majority of that money go to other schools?? KNOW B4 U OPEN YO MOUF!

    88 From what I understand those funds are spread out amongst majority of extra-curricular activities

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