Hawaii Prep World got its first glimpse of freshman Sol-Jay Maiava in a Kahuku uniform on Wednesday.
During the summer, the quarterback was given a scholarship offer by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. That’s the same Harbaugh who coached the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl a few years back. The same Harbaugh who played for Michigan and piloted the Indianapolis Colts’ offense as an NFL quarterback.
So, what gives? Why now? Is Maiava that good?
Well, one practice doesn’t show everything, but it does show some things. For instance, Maiava looked super comfortable in the position. He could roll right or left with ease. He never looked flustered. He was accurate at times. At other times, the Kahuku defense got in the way.
At one point, Maiava scrambled and got veteran Kesi Ah-Hoy, now playing safety, to come in for a pass that went over Ah-Hoy’s head and into the arms of a receiver. The young Maiava’s throwing mechanics and footwork look excellent.
It helps to have an offensive line that, in the words of head coach Vavae Tata, is the strength of this 2016 team that will defend the Division I state championship.
“They (the O-line) do a great job of protecting Sol-Jay,” senior defensive lineman Aliki Vimahi said. “That’s one of the reasons why he’s comfortable, one of the reasons why he’s doing well. It starts up front.”
Maiava is honored to get that offer from Michigan, and he’s just as honored to be part of the Kahuku football family.
“For me to be on this team is a privilege,” he said. “I feel real honored making it on this varsity team. A lot of these guys have worked so hard since they were little and everyone dreams about playing varsity for Kahuku. Everything we do is to make it here on this varsity team.
“I just gotta give it up to all the seniors pushing us every day, telling the underclassmen to keep stepping up to the plate no matter what and follow in the seniors’ footsteps and that we will be the ones setting foundation for next year.”
At one point during Wednesday’s practice, offensive coordinator John Hao let a few blockers know what’s expected. After the running back and tight end missed a block when Maiava was rolling right, Hao asked in a loud voice, “Do you like this quarterback? Do you like him? If you do, then do your job.”
Maiva said playing against the Kahuku defense every day will make the offense better.
“They’re stacked on defense,” he said. “It’s hard (for receivers) to make cuts when there’s guys flying around everywhere at all angles. That defense can really do damage against the run and you’ve got that great secondary in the back.”
Don’t expect Kahuku to be throwing the ball all over the field.
“We’re smashmouth, always,” Maiava said. “I don’t see us passing a lot. I see us more running — run, run, run and pass once in a while. You never know with coach John. He’s kind of unpredictable. Sometimes he might want to pass more than run.
“They’re looking for a leader in me because I’m just a freshman. They tell me to speak up and that I’m the leader of the offense, that we’ve got four downs and it’s my job to settle them down, talk to them, make sure everyone is on the same page. We will eventually build up from there. Right now, I’m trying to improve my game. At the beginning, I wasn’t vocal. Now, I’m more into it. Something goes wrong, then it’s next play, next play. I’ve got to trust in the O-line and make the right reads.”
The Red Raiders don’t have an official game in this, the opening weekend of Hawaii high school football. They’ll be scrimmaging against Farrington at home Friday. Kahuku’s season opener is Aug. 12 at Leilehua.