One player does not make a football team, but one player can make a huge difference.
It was extremely noticeable Sunday at Aloha Stadium that Billy Masima was not in Kaimuki’s lineup.
Where was the bull-like running back/defensive lineman from last season’s Bulldogs?
The word in the press box was that he injured his knee in a rugby match in the the spring, and that fact was confirmed by Kaimuki head coach David Tautofi.
The Bulldogs could have used Masima, the unquestioned best player on the team a year ago and a leader, against Faith Lutheran of Las Vegas in a 49-18 loss Sunday. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday at Roosevelt, but was moved to Sunday at Aloha Stadium due to the close passing by of Hurricane Lester.
“Billy Masima is still recovering from an injury he sustained back in April,” Tautofi said while walking to the team bus. “We’re hoping to get him back by the end of the season, the last game of the season.”
Asked if Masima was injured while playing rugby, Tautofi said. “Some kind of goofing off. It’s a good lesson. It IS a big loss. We’d be a different team with him. The pressure off the quarterback. You can watch the highlights on YouTube of Billy Masima and you’ll now right off the bat that this kid was an animal.”
Watch Masima’s junior year highlights here: http://bit.ly/2c7NMEK.
“He was injured in rugby,” wide receiver Andriess Toussaint said. “During the summer offseason, we learned he couldn’t play this year. It’s disappointing because he was one of our workhorses, one of our team leaders. Now it’s time for new people to step up this year.”
Masima rushed for 1,079 yards and seven touchdowns and he also had a receiving TD last season in leading Kaimuki to a 6-2 record and a second-place finish in Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II. The Bulldogs went 7-5 overall and lost in the first round of the D-II state tournament.
The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Masima was the OIA D-II player of the year and was a Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State third-team selection as a utility player.
The hopes were super high this year and all is not lost. Kaimuki (2-2, 2-1) remains very much in contention for one of the league’s four playoff spots. After a bye next weekend, the Bulldogs meet Kalaheo (1-3, 1-2) at the Kailua High field on Sept. 17.
Kaimuki is still eyeing the OIA D-II title or another second-place finish that would give them another berth in the D-II state tournament.
After getting dominated in the first half Sunday, the Bulldogs came to life against Faith Lutheran. Jordan Solomon, the starting quarterback, passed for 238 yards and Toussaint made three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Daniel Nguyen had an interception, and Mana Mahiai and Mano O Hawaii Manukeu contributed with tackles for loss.