McKinley is off to its best start in more than a decade, thanks in large part to the Tigers’ versatility.
Several of the Tigers’ playmakers do double (or triple) duty, and McKinley improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in OIA Red East play with a 35-0 win over Kaimuki on Saturday.
McKinley last went 3-1 to start a season in 2002, when quarterback Abel Werner led the Tigers to the state tournament semifinals. McKinley’s run that season finally ended in a triple-overtime loss to Castle.
The Tigers travel to Kaneohe to face the Knights (1-3, 0-2) on Friday, followed by matchups with Farrington (1-2, 1-0) on Sept. 14 and Kahuku (1-2, 1-0) on Sept. 20 at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.
At the moment, the Tigers are the only team in the Red East with more than one win overall.
Tigers quarterback Denzel Kalahiki-Gasper completed nine of his first 11 passes against Kaimuki and finished with 129 yards and a touchdown while also playing free safety for most of the game.
Marcus Aikau set up the Tigers’ second touchdown with an interception in the second quarter and later made an appearance at quarterback, completing both of his attempts.
Gerime Bradley played cornerback and had two carries in the first half. He took seven handoffs in the second half and averaged just under 11.6 yards per attempt while scoring two touchdowns. He broke several tackles on a 14-yard touchdown run and later got loose for gains of 22 and 28 yards.
Mathias Tuitele-Iafeta ran for two touchdowns and kicked two extra points and started at middle linebacker for a McKinley defense that held Kaimuki to 103 total yards and just 3 net yards rushing.