Nerdpod: A look back at 2016’s top QBs

Former Saint Louis quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will likely see the playing field as a freshman at Alabama this season. Star-Advertiser photo.

NERDPOD: Quarterbacks v4.0 (2016)

The new season is here. The curtain has just risen and there’s no point in drawing much of a conclusion out of any individual statistics. Then again, keeping tabs week by week will always help somewhat when it comes to postseason (All-State) ballots, at least for mine. Nerdpod isn’t about valuing individual numbers ahead of team success, absolutely not. It’s about a point of view, a perspective from the statistical base, and this applies to the numbers we have available. That means numbers of quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Ideally, we’d have numbers for all positions. In the end, numbers don’t always equate to talent or potential, but for the most part, they do show us what a skill-position player has done due to his own effort and those around him.

The best players often generate production across the board: rushing, receiving, returns. Often enough, they are non-QBs. Very good players may be singular in their skill sets, but do these one or two things extremely well. It takes more than one kind of player to make a team, and that’s part of the fascination I’ve had in looking at production and seeing how it reflects a team’s overall success.


Sometimes the best QBs are simply great at operating complex systems, and without him (or her), the system folds even though his/her numbers are middling. Others can be volume stat-builders, and for that, I’m sure we see the difference (in person) between a player who helps a team build a lead versus one who pads stats against prevent defenses while trailing by three TDs.

It’s all relative. It’s all fun. It’s all, almost all, intriguing and worth a little debate. Or not, which is fine, too. I never quite finished last year’s Nerdpods, and didn’t feel the need to in most cases. Here’s a look at the top QBs of 2016, some who have graduated, others who are in prominent roles this fall.

QUARTERBACKS
Tua Tagovailoa, Saint Louis
Measurables: 6-1, 210, Sr.
Crunch this: 11 games — Pass 190-284-7-2,655, 26 TD; Rush 103-677, 8 TD
Passing yards per game: 241.4
Completion rate: .669
Yards per attempt: 9.3
Passer rating: 170.71
Rushing yards per carry: 6.6
Rushing yards per game: 61.5
W-L: 10-1 (5-1 ILH)
Top 10 wins: ‘Iolani (3x), Punahou (2x), Kamehameha (2x), Waianae, Kahuku.
Top 10 losses: Punahou
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
@ Mililani 8/6: Cancelled (power outage)
@ Hilo 8/20: Pass 10-13-0-231, 3 TD; Rush 5-34, TD = ¥ 39.15
vs. #9 ‘Iolani 9/2: Pass 17-26-0-260, 2 TD (7, 58); Rush 7-77, TD (19). ¥38.7 + $5.0 = ¥$ 43.70
vs. #3 Punahou 9/9: Pass 31-42-0-447, 6 TD (37,63,6,10,20,14), 2-pt; Rush 15-104, 3 TD (1,1,25). ¥92.4 + $5.0 = ¥$ 97.40
vs. #6 Kamehameha 9/17: Pass 20-35-0-258, 2 TD (15, 6); Rush 8-12. ¥24.45 + $5.0 = ¥$ 29.45
@ ‘Iolani 9/23: Pass 41-47-1-493, 5 TD (9,18,6,10,23); Rush 4-44. ¥59.15 + $5.0 = ¥$ 64.15
vs. #3 Punahou 9/29: Pass 12-26-2-118; Rush 4-(-8). ¥-3.3 + $5.0 = ¥$ 01.70
vs. #10 Kamehameha 10/7: Pass 10-18-1-138, TD (32); Rush 13-96, TD (9). ¥15.6 + $5.0 = ¥$ 21.60
vs. ‘Iolani 10/14: Pass 10-17-1-113, TD (10); Rush 3-17. ¥9.45 + $5.0 = ¥$ 14.45
vs. #2 Punahou 10/21: Pass 10-19-1-192, 2 TD (52, 31); Rush 16-98. ¥26.05 + $5.0 = ¥$ 31.05
vs. #4 Waianae# 11/11: Pass 13-16-0-162, 3 TD (5, 4, 9); Rush 4-67, TD (80). ¥39.2 + $5.0 = ¥$ 44.20
vs. #1 Kahuku# 11/19: Pass 16-25-1-243, TD (52); Rush 18-136, TD (30). ¥34.35 + $5.0 = ¥$ 39.35
To date: ¥$424.20 / ¥$38.56 pg
Home games at Aloha Stadium
# Aloha Stadium (HHSAA Open Division games)

The skinny: (July 31, 2017) Enormous as the numbers are, they don’t tell us how good his field vision really was and is. They don’t explain that his footwork in and out of the pocket were at a 99 percentile (or higher). There are so many intangibles that the end result statistically will miss. The intangibles are rarely measurable, but on top of all the efficiency and volume in these statistics, Tua evaporated all opposition. Punahou provided the most difficult challenge just weeks after he posted the most productive stat line against a Top 5 team in recent memory. When the teams met for the ILH title, he was especially patient and efficient. He adapted. Instead of forcing the tempo, he slowed the game down, and the Crusaders advanced. Immeasurable. Valuable. Most valuable.

(Oct 28, 2016) The last time I nerdpodded QBs, it was Sept. 22 and the nation’s top prospect at the position had played just four games. That was almost an eternity ago. At that point, these were Tua’s statistics.

> 4 games — Pass 78-for-117; 1,198 yards, 13 TD, 0 INT; Rush 36-234, 5 TD

He was averaging 10.2 yards per pass attempt and had a passer rating of 189.34. His completion rate was .667. Thirteen TD passes, no picks. Typical Tua, just shredding all opposition. Since then, the typical happened in the ILH, too. The pendulum swung. Momentum went to Punahou. Then back to Saint Louis. Teams evolved. Adaptation took place. The stronger became stronger through crisis and defeat. So ILH. At this point, Tua has been forced to learn how to win in more than one way, and is comfortable enough with any means necessary. That’s what great QBs do. They give their teams a chance no matter how dire things may seem.

He’s accounting for more than 304 yards per game from scrimmage. In Nerdpod language, his numbers add up to more than ¥$56 points per game, a total of more than ¥$505. I would have to nerdpod a lot of players going back to the beginning, but I seriously doubt more than 10 players have ever piled up 500-plus ever in Hawaii, and his season is not over yet. Who would be on that list? My guesses: Tim Chang (Saint Louis), McKenzie Milton (Mililani), Aaron Sumida (Konawaena), Mosi Tatupu (Punahou), John Kamana (Punahou), Boyd Yap (Kaiser), Kenan Sadanaga (Leilehua), Joe Igber (‘Iolani). I’m sure a few more will pop into my cranium later.

(Sept 22, 2016) Numbers are not required to explain anything about the nation’s No. 1 quarterback. He can rack ’em up like the smoothest of the smooth and make every scoreboard and pinball machine go TILT. Or he can manage a comfortable lead and pilot a jumbo jet into a soft landing. He didn’t try to do too much against a fierce Kamehameha front seven last week, and went home with his Crusader brothers victorious (35-3). His stats said he was 20-for-35 and rushed for a mere 39 yards, but he had purpose behind every completion and incompletion, never forced a play, and converted first downs with his legs, including a fourth-and-26 snap. Numbers never make the player. But anyone who can go an entire season without throwing a pick is probably not 100-percent human.

(Sept 7, 2016) Let’s be honest. Tua’s sophomore statistics were off the freaking charts: 33 TD passes with just 3 picks. (I may be a little fuzzy remembering all his stats, but those two still stand out.) He was unbelievable. He had experienced teammates and from the get-go, the kid I liken to Kenny Stabler with Wheels was a joy to watch. Junior year? Tua was in patient mentor mode as his talented, but young receivers gradually matured in the system. Injuries didn’t help. But the Crusaders still reached the state final. This season, his numbers are looking like the 2014 campaign.

I don’t care how many times I’ve mentioned this before, and no, I haven’t played video games regularly in almost two decades. But because of Tua and Milton and so many talented c/o 2016 players, in ’14 I dusted off the old PS3 and started typing in dozens of Hawaii high school players, giving them ratings that I felt were very conservative. Guess who ended up signing with a huge program beyond the West Coast? Yup. It was Tua Tagovailoa signing with… Oklahoma.

Why blabber on about a video game’s artificial intelligence? Well, not long after that he received a real-life offer from SEC and national powerhouse Alabama. It was never a surprise. It was simply a matter of time before even Nick Saban had to take notice of the kid from Leeward Oahu.

X factor: (Sept 22, 2016) In the past two weeks, we have learned that 1) Tua can slide, and when he did (against Punahou), it was a pop-up slide. And he still says he’s never practiced it, and 2) he can run with just one shoe on when necessary.

(Sept 7, 2016) He still doesn’t know how to slide, last I heard. Tua, if you’re out there reading this, please. For the love of God. Learn to slide.

###

Taulia Tagovailoa, Kapolei
Measurables: 6-0, 190, So.
Crunch this: 13 games — Pass 320-526-9-3,919, 42 TD; Rush 35-(-126)
Passing yards per game: 301.5
Completion rate: .608
Yards per attempt: 7.4
Passer rating: 146.35
Rushing yards per carry: -3.6
Rushing yards per game: -13.3
W-L: 10-3 (6-1 OIA Red)
Top 10 wins: Campbell, @ Mililani, Farrington, Waianae, Punahou
Top 10 losses: Waianae, Farrington, Kahuku
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
@ Campbell 8/5: Pass 22-31-0-263, 5 TD (25,20,6,28,14); Rush 3-(-25). ¥42.75 + $5.0 = ¥$ 47.75
vs. #4 Waianae 8/13: Pass 22-47-0-234, 2 TD (8, 26); Rush 5-(-23). ¥18.95 + $5.0 = ¥$ 23.95
@ Leilehua 8/20: Pass 19-34-1-227, 3 TD (7, 7, 6); Rush 4-(-1). = ¥ 25.90
@ Castle 8/26: Pass 30-44-1-403, 3 TD (10, 10, 38); Rush 1-5. = ¥ 39.50
@ #4 Mililani 9/5: Pass 31-54-0-379, 4 TD (19,35,10,8), 2-pt; Rush 8-(-17). ¥43.3 + $5.0 = ¥$ 48.30
vs. Kailua 9/16: Pass 26-40-1-388, 3 TD (5, 6, 7); Rush 1-(-13). = ¥ 33.70
vs. #6 Farrington 9/24: Pass 18-33-1-264, 2 TD (21, 9); Rush 0-0. ¥20.75 + $5.0 = ¥$ 25.75
vs. Nanakuli 9/30: Pass 15-26-0-235, 4 TD (10, 9, 46, 34); Rush 0-0. = ¥ 35.00
vs. Moanalua 10/14: Pass 28-40-0-324, 4 TD (10, 20, 7, 5); Rush 0-0. = ¥ 42.00
vs. #6 Farrington* 10/22: Pass 23-37-1-321, 3 TD (63, 33, 7); Rush 2-(-10). ¥30.25 + $5.0 = ¥$ 35.25
vs. #6 Waianae** 10/29: Pass 27-50-1-254, 3 TD (16, 28, 11); Rush 2-(-10). ¥26.00 + $5.0 = ¥$ 31.00
vs. #3 Punahou# 11/5: Pass 28-37-0-367, 5 TD (22,19,7,3,5); Rush 5-(-17). ¥49.05 + $5.0 = ¥$ 54.05
vs. #2 Kahuku# 11/11: Pass 31-53-3-260, TD (3); Rush 4-(-15). ¥07.75 + $5.0 = ¥$ 12.75
To date: ¥$454.90 / ¥$34.99 pg
*Aloha Stadium
**John Kauinana Stadium (Mililani)
# Aloha Stadium (HHSAA D-I State Championships)

The skinny: (July 31, 2017) Even nearly a year removed from a magical 2016 performance, Taulia’s efficiency in an offense that was predictably pass-first was astonishing. The fact that he was just a sophomore is even more food for thought. There are so many ifs in the equation. What if June Jones had stayed as OC? What if Taulia had stayed instead of moving to Alabama? The question about his career totals would have been more about how big a margin he would have built in touchdowns and yardage, attempts and completions, than whether he would have surpassed brother Tua. I would not completely rule out the possibility of a Tua return for his senior year. I wouldn’t expect it, but if there’s a 5-percent chance, why wouldn’t it possibly happen? The chances are against it. His family is settled in Alabama. But as long as June Jones is at Saint Louis, as long as the Lee brothers are are steering the ship, Taulia in Crusader blue and red is possible. And just for the record, two brothers averaging more than ¥$50 points per game for an entire season — it is unlikely to happen again. You know and I know that was an historic performance by each QB. But brothers? It might be another quarter century before we see that.

(Nov 3, 2016) Tua’s younger brother is surpassing all sorts of milestones, including Tua’s. Taulia is now in range of a 4,000-yard season. I type his stats into the passer-rating calculator and I have to pause and almost laugh. This is not of mere mortals. IS NOT. But it is. Wowowowowoww… and on a Nerdpod note, he is now at more than ¥$668 points. I would have never imagined this to be possible. I remember when Tim Chang passed for 60-plus TDs — in his prep career. Freshmen still can’t play varsity ball in the ILH today. I wonder if Tua is just a little bit jealous. Probably not at all. Maybe just a tiny bit. One day I’m going to turn on the dust-covered PS3, pop in my old NCAA14 game and create Taulia the way I did Tua some time back.

(Nov 3, 2016) At this point, even long before this actually, fans of the run-and-shoot — especially the June Jones version of the four-wide — could not have possibly missed a single Kapolei game this season. Each game, up or down (mostly up) is a living, breathing lab experiment that would have a time-travel visitor from the 1930s aghast and astonished. Sure, Taulia is only a sophomore, and there’s a lot of football left in the next two seasons after this one. But nothing is guaranteed, so enjoy this rare treat while you can if you have not been already. As a side note, Taulia is about to break the ¥$600 point mark. Even though he has negative rushing yardage. And Kapolei doesn’t really go hurry-up mode. Long live the four-wide. I mentioned this in this week’s weekend preview story (it may get cut or not), but Taulia’s sophomore statistics compared to brother Tua’s sophomore stats have some remarkable similarities, including this: Tua had 33 TD passes with 3 INT; Taulia has 36 TD with 6 INT.

(Oct 28, 2016) After six games, Taulia’s numbers looked like this:

> 6 games — Pass 150-for-250; 1,894 yards, 20 TD, 3 INT; Rush 22-(-84), 0 TD

The fact that right now, as a sophomore, Taulia has thrown for 33 TDs and just five INTs, is intriguing. His older brother, Tua, during his sophomore season: 33 TDs, 3 INT. In his last four games, his passer rating has increased, and his passing production is surpassed only by his brother statewide. He is the first QB to reach the 3,000-yard mark this season. One of the remarkable footnotes about his season is that his performance against Top 10 teams has been superb.

(Sept 22, 2016) It’s fairly common. When QBs are utterly dependent on moving the ball through the air due to a lack of running game, QBR can be slightly below elite level. That’s normally because the offense relies on his arm to make the offense “run” via the pass. A quick pass by Taulia is just about as secure as a handoff in this offense, which makes his 7.4 YPA remarkable. With more depth at RB, plus the continued development of John Kansana, I expect his QBR to rise and Kapolei’s already potent offense to become more efficient.

Unlike older brother Tua Tagovailoa of Saint Louis, Taulia has never endeavored to be a dual-threat type of QB. He knows his lane and stays in it. What the numbers don’t reflect is that he is nimble in the pocket, good footwork and knows how to stay out of trouble when the pass rush is on. He has minus-71 yards rushing on 21 attempts, but there is rarely a pre-snap call for him to run, as was the case early in the second half against Mililani. Instead, Taulia relies on his protection, his receivers and their relationship through the air. He and WR Jaymin Sarono have incredible chemistry and they almost never miscommunicate on a key down. Their work together is somewhat reminiscent of the chemistry that former Punahou QB Cayman Shutter had with WR Robby Toma not so many years ago.

X factor: This is an offense that still huddles, doesn’t rely on the hurry-up to generate progress. That could change at any moment, to be sure. Then we’d see a stat line like 49-for-72, 579 yards, fill in the TD count as you please. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. When offensive coordinator June Jones was head coach at UH, Timmy Chang had first halves of 35 to 40 pass attempts, all in the game flow, no rushing, nothing unusual. Then they’d hand out the stat sheet and, for several seconds, my mind would be blown.

(Sept 7, 2016) What the numbers don’t tell us is that the entire offense is built around his IQ and accuracy. Kapolei called passing plays more than 82 percent of the time against Mililani on Monday night. In that sense, Taulia “runs” the ball through the air.

###

Austin Ewing, Konawaena
Measurables:
Crunch this: 10 games — Pass 195-353-13-2,688, 33 TD; Rush 33-142, 4 TD
Passing yards per game: 268.8
Completion rate: .552
Yards per attempt: 7.6
Passer rating: 142.69
Rushing yards per carry: 4.3
Rushing yards per game: 14.2
W-L: 8-2 (7-1 BIIF)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
vs. St. Francis* 8/19: Pass 30-54-4-330, 2 TD; Rush 3-(-9). = ¥15.60
@ Hilo (Wong Stadium) 8/27: Pass 17-38-2-235, 2 TD; Rush 11-12. = ¥16.20
@ Keaau 9/2: cancelled-Hurricane Lester
vs. Hawaii Prep 9/9: Pass 12-22-0-191, 5 TD; Rush 4-52, TD. = ¥48.70
vs. Waiakea 9/17: Pass 18-27-0-306, 4 TD; Rush 1-17, TD. = ¥47.95
vs. Kealakehe 9/23: Pass 17-22-0-245, 4 TD; Rush 3-28. = ¥39.80
@ Honokaa 9/30: Pass 14-24-1-196, 4 TD; Rush n/a, TD. = ¥29.00
vs. Kamehameha-Hawaii 10/8: Pass 23-45-1-443, 4 TD; Rush n/a. = ¥41.25
@ Keaau 10/14: Pass 25-36-1-261, 4 TD; Rush 4-33. = ¥37.80
vs. Kamehameha-Hawaii 10/22: Pass 16-43-1-205, 2 TD; Rush n/a, TD. = ¥15.25
vs. Lahainaluna# 11/12: Pass 23-42-3-276, 2 TD (4, 1); Rush 7-9. = ¥16.90
(Note: Some statistics courtesy of ScoringLive.com)
To date: ¥$308.45 / ¥$30.85 pg
*Leilehua/Yoshida Stadium
#HHSAA D-II State Championships

The skinny: (July 31, 2017) Thirty-three TD passes with only 13 picks is the stuff of a monster season. The game-by-game numbers do reveal, though, that Ewing’s progress is probably being limited by the lack of elite competition in a league where there are few dynasty-level teams. It’s no fault of Ewing or his team or the league. It’s just the reality of football in 2016 (and ’17), when many smaller schools across the state simply struggle to field teams with full rosters. The BIIF is mostly smaller schools, and the three-tier state tourney created last year should — on paper — benefit these smaller programs greatly. For Ewing, Facing the likes of St. Francis, Hilo, KS-Hawaii and Lahainaluna every week would’ve sped up his development. This is not, of course, the world we live in. The new season has new challenges. How does the new WR corps fare, and how quickly can they get up to speed with one of the top QBs in D-II?

(Oct 28) Two seasons as a starting QB, both under Coach Brad Uemoto, has worked out pretty well for Ewing and the Wildcats. His rushing numbers in recent games have been scant, but he has been slightly more efficient and enormously productive. There hasn’t been a pure gasher at RB in awhile; Konawaena has employed a lot of quick, scatback type runners. (It’s been awhile since the days of Roman “Rocket” Hao and Matt “Missile” Kaili.) That means the ‘Cats fully trust Ewing with the ball. Ten picks in 311 pass attempts (31.1) is very good. By comparison, Tua Tagovailoa throws a pick once every 40.7 attempts and Taulia Tagovailoa’s INT-ATT rate is 77.2. Is there anyone else with rates as good as those? Ewing is relatively close. The argument against comparison is solid, of course. The BIIF doesn’t have a Top 10 team, but it is a mix of D-I and D-II teams, and everyone plays everyone in a single round-robin before the playoffs. Ewing is probably the best sophomore QB the state has rarely seen.

(Sept 23) The Division-II Wildcats have already done something that very few BIIF programs have done: win an off-island preseason game against a state-title contender. They did it in early August, edging St. Francis on Oahu. Ewing, in his second year as starting QB, is getting more and more comfortable with pressure situations. He doesn’t have to look far for inspiration. His aunt is Bobbie Awa, seven-time girls basketball state champion at Konawaena. Cousin Jessica Hanato was a multiple all-state hoopster. His dad, Peter, was good enough as a WR for the long-defunct Kona Ikaika semi-pro team that he was invited to try out for an NFL team. He was a Wes Welker type of receiver who could’ve thrived in today’s NFL. Instead, he stayed home on the Big Island to get married and start a family.

X factor: (Sept 23) The BIIF plays a combined schedule, which means Konawaena plays all D-I programs. That should always help the D-II powerhouses like Konawaena and KS-Hawaii — and their QBs — in the long run.

###

Tai-John Mizutani, ‘Iolani
Measurables:
6-2, 180, Jr.
Crunch this: 12 games — 207-402-9-2,521, 19 TD; Rush 61-33
Passing yards per game: 210.1
Completion rate: .515
Yards per attempt: 6.27
Passer rating: 115.29
Rushing yards per carry: 0.5
Rushing yards per game: 2.8
W-L: 4-7 (0-6 ILH)
Top 10 wins: La Jolla Country Day (Calif.)*, Campbell
Top 10 losses: Saint Louis (3x), Kamehameha (2x), Punahou (2x), Mililani
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
vs. Radford (Aiea HS field) 8/6: Pass 17-23-0-240, 3 TD (12, 24, 12); Rush 2-(-4). = ¥ 30.35
vs. Waimea 8/20: Pass 13-24-1-236, 2 TD (55, 25); Rush 1-(-3). = ¥ 19.20
vs. La Jolla Country Day (CA) 8/27: Pass 16-33-0-217, 2 TD (24, 8); Rush 3-(-1). ¥20.65 + $5.0 = ¥$ 25.65
vs. #2 Saint Louis* 9/2: Pass 19-43-1-141; Rush 1-(-1). ¥00.65 + $5.0 = ¥$ 05.65
@ #5 Kamehameha 9/10: Pass 18-38-1-192, 2 TD (2, 3); Rush 7-33. ¥18.80 + $5.0 = ¥$ 23.80
vs. #3 Punahou 9/17: Pass 16-37-1-239, TD (73); Rush 1-3. ¥12.05 + $5.0 = ¥$ 17.05
vs. #2 Saint Louis 9/23: Pass 25-45-1-266; Rush 6-9. ¥10.15 + $5.0 = ¥$ 15.15
vs. #10 Kamehameha* 9/30: Pass 19-34-1-240, 2 TD (8, 25); Rush 20-39. ¥23.90 + $5.0 = ¥$ 28.90
@ #3 Punahou 10/7: Pass 5-13-1-57; Rush 1-(-3). ¥-2.05 + $5.0 = ¥$ 02.95
vs. #3 Saint Louis 10/14: DNP
vs. Moanalua# 11/4: Pass 12-27-0-234, TD (62); Rush 11-34. = ¥ 18.65
vs. #8 Campbell#* 11/11: Pass 25-37-0-197, 3 TD; Rush 1-5. ¥29.75 + $5.0 = ¥$ 34.75
vs. # Mililani** 11/18: Pass 22-48-2-262, 2 TD; Rush 7-(-78) ¥08.20 + $5.0 = ¥$ 13.20
*Aloha Stadium
**Aloha Stadium, HHSAA D-I State Championships
#Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium (Roosevelt), HHSAA D-I State Championships
#*John Kauinana Stadium (Mililani), HHSAA D-I State Championships
To date: ¥$235.30 / ¥$19.61 pg

The skinny: (Nov 10) With Kapolei’s win over Punahou in Open Division and ‘Iolani’s narrow victory over an unranked Moanalua team — one of the two lowest qualifiers out of the OIA — it’s safe to say that the ILH wasn’t quite as powerful as voters thought, and conversely the OIA was better than expected. But Mizutani was healthy enough to make a big difference, putting up Jim Plunkett-type numbers once again: middling completion rate, big-play TD pass, no picks and some smart plays with his feet. That’s what it takes to have an edge — the crucial, underappreciated advantage — in close games. Playoff games. State-tournament games. It’s the difference between a Super Bowl champion like Plunkett and a stat-friendly, less successful QB like, say, Blake Bortles.

(Nov 3) I wasn’t there when he played his most recent game against Punahou. Checking to see what his status is. He’s had a month to heal up from whatever potential injury it is/was, and the time off is a blessing, really. He really developed last season, and looked very sharp early on. Then he suddenly struggled to hit half his targets, so it was definitely possible something wasn’t working properly. If he’s back to his old sharp self, Mizutani and this Raiders offense might be the best and most balanced in the D-I tourney.

(Sept 23) Mizutani has come a long way since the start of his sophomore year. Now a junior, I’ve seen him look very sharp, though it was Week 1. One of our reporters, Jeremy Nitta, saw ‘Iolani play Punahou last week. He noted that Mizutani missed open receivers at times, the ball sailing high. The Raiders have some supreme minds on their coaching staff. If anyone can nail down any passing-mechanics issues, it would be QBs coach Joel Lane.

(Sept 7) If you haven’t seen the Raiders lately, they’re as functional, practical and efficient as they’ve been over the past two-plus seasons. Truly, for a long stretch, the program churned out one elite QB after another. But again, over time, it’s become much more about the system, analyzing efficiencies and the skill set of the 16-year-old operating heavy equipment, that sets everything in place. Mizutani has matured in this sense immensely during the past 18 months. Having solid go-to playmakers in RB K.J. Pascua and WR Justin Genovia is a gift, but the reliability of the receiving corps as a whole is a Raider Nation staple. From 2013-15, even an uber-talent like Keoni-Kordell Makekau was merely a cog in the machine. A darn good one, but whatever a defense committed to Makekau’s side of the field opened windows for his teammates. And the beat goes on…

X factor: (Sept 23) Every QB has a best friend in the route tree, and Mizutani’s favorite receiver, Justin Genovia, was a DNP last weekend. Will he return this weekend?

(Sept 7) The 53-percent completion rate is startling at first, but ‘Iolani is not the kind of program that sheds a tear when it sends the punt team onto the field. They’d rather see Mizutani test the mine field, stay safe and live to see another day than take a single unnecessary risk. So he’s thrown just two picks in 124 attempts. Come on, one pick every 62 attempts is a rate most high school coaches dream of. Especially with Pascua grinding out more than 4 yards per carry in the wicked ILH.
QBs like Taulia Tagovailoa and Mizutani aren’t necessarily programmed for the big, explosive play. They are generally conservative, low-risk, medium-reward operators, hence the modest passer rating. We may think of Marcus Mariota as a big-play monster during his senior year at Saint Louis, and though he was, his passer rating was a shade below 200. Much of that was almost by design; the Crusaders rarely put him in position to take unnecessary risk, so his resume wasn’t loaded with 400-yard passing games. But he was extremely accurate and efficient, with the ability to launch the ball deeper than anyone I can recall at the prep level. He was also a threat to break off a big run at any time, just as he is now with the Tennessee Titans — something that is not typically scripted for pocket passers like Taulia and Mizutani.

###

Marcus Faufata-Pedrina, Damien
Measurables:
5-8, 185, Jr.
Crunch this: 10 games — Pass 115-211-9-1,598, 23 TD; Rush 129-574, 6 TD
Passing yards per game: 159.8
Completion rate: .545
Yards per attempt: 7.57
Passer rating: 145.56
Rushing yards per carry: 4.4
Rushing yards per game: 57.4
W-L: 7-3 (3-1 ILH D-II)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
@ Moanalua 8/5: Pass 11-24-3-135, TD; Rush 14-93, TD. = ¥ 16.80
@ Maui* 8/12: Pass 20-29-0-220, 3 TD; Rush 13-132. = ¥ 43.95
vs. Kealakehe** 8/20: Pass 13-20-0-232, 3 TD (4, 5, 13); Rush 10-114, TD (60). = ¥ 47.90
vs. St. Francis 9/2: Pass 6-14-0-73, TD (17); Rush 15-22, TD (1). = ¥ 15.70
vs. Pac-Five 9/9: Pass 11-19-1-121, 5 TD (10,5,7,36,7); Rush 13-51. = ¥ 36.85
vs. St. Francis 9/23: Pass 14-29-2-189; Rush 13-5. = ¥ 01.25
vs. Pac-Five 9/30: Pass 14-34-0-244, 3 TD (18,15,20); Rush 17-124, 2 TD (1,6), 2-pt. = ¥ 53.90
vs. St. Francis 10/21: Pass 3-7-1-58, 3 TD (27, 18, 13); Rush 13-13. = ¥ 24.05
vs. Waialua# 11/4: Pass 8-9-0-125, 2 TD (22, 32); Rush 8-(-10), TD (1). = ¥ 23.75
@ Kapaa#* 11/12: Pass 15-26-2-201, 2 TD (25, 13); Rush 13-30. = ¥ 19.00
*War Memorial Stadium
**Aiea HS field
#Campbell HS field, HHSAA D-II State Championships
#*Vidinha Stadium, Lihue, HHSAA D-II State Championships
ILH games at Aloha Stadium
To date: ¥$280.15 / ¥$28.02 pg

Jordan Solomon, Kaimuki
Measurables:
So.
Crunch this: 9 games — Pass 147-285-14-1,879, 21 TD; Rush 54-68, TD
Passing yards per game: 208.8
Completion rate: .516
Yards per attempt: 6.6
Passer rating: 121.45
Rushing yards per carry: 1.3
Rushing yards per game: 7.6
W-L: 5-4 (5-2 OIA D-II)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: Faith Lutheran (Nev.)*
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
vs. Waialua* 8/13: Pass 27-55-4-331, 3 TD (9,14,15), 2-pt; Rush 9-(-22). = ¥ 20.55
vs. Kalani 8/20: Pass 11-30-2-172, TD (50); Rush 10-(-5). = ¥ 03.50
vs. Roosevelt 8/27: Pass 9-19-0-106, 2 TD (15, 24); Rush 5-16. = ¥ 17.35
vs. Faith Lutheran** (Nev) 9/4: Pass 15-34-2-241, 3 TD (12,23,5); Rush 7-18. ¥ 22.80 + $5.0 = ¥$ 27.80
@ Kalaheo*** 9/17 : Pass 21-36-2-258, 4 TD (4,19,20,21), 2-pt; Rush 3-19. = ¥ 34.40
vs. McKinley* 9/23: Pass 15-15-0-138, 4 TD (5,44,14,9); Rush 3-17. = ¥ 34.45
vs. Waipahu# 10/1: Pass 21-35-1-311, 3 TD (67,25,21); Rush 6-(-21), TD. = ¥ 28.65
@ Pearl City## 10/7: Pass 11-20-0-155; Rush 7-19, TD (1). = ¥ 14.40
vs. Waialua* 10/21: Pass 17-40-3-175, TD (54); Rush 5-29. = ¥ 05.40
* Home games at Kaiser Stadium
** Aloha Stadium
*** Kailua HS field
# Mililani HS field
## Aiea HS field
To date: ¥$186.50 / ¥$20.72 pg

The skinny: (Nov 3) Forget that Maiava is a talented young passer who arrived from Las Vegas with some fanfare and a certain level of expectations. Just look at the numbers, particularly since around the halfway point of the season, and you can’t deny that this sophomore is maturing on the field. His passer rating went substantially higher. Every category, all improvements, most notably completion rate and passer rating UNTIL the playoff game against a rugged Waialua defense that led that team to the league championship. Not exactly an outlier, but that string of three games with just one interception: very efficient, and two of those games were against Waipahu (league runner-up) and Pearl City (semifinalist). This is a fairly young Bulldog team, and though filling in the loss of some hugely valuable seniors — a lot of two-way Ironmen on this team — the future is very bright.

(Sept 7) Only a 10th grader, in a new environment, learning a new system. Most of all, he is fully trusted, which means the Bulldogs will ride the ups and downs as he learns on the job. Plenty of potential here and he’s just getting started.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) The absence of man-child, two-way standout Johnny Masina has forced everyone on the roster to upgrade in every way. At this point, Kaimuki is averaging 53.3 rushing yards per game, and Solomon at times has looked like a traffic cop facing 90 mph pass rushers. When he’s got time, it’s a different world. His top four receivers are all averaging at least 11 yards per catch.

Thomas Yam, Kamehameha
Measurables:
6-1, 185, Jr.
Crunch this: 9 games — Pass 97-191-5-1,229, 7 TD; Rush 38-145, 6 TD
Passing yards per game: 136.6
Completion rate: .508
Yards per attempt: 6.4
Passer rating: 111.69
Rushing yards per carry: 3.8
Rushing yards per game: 16.11
W-L: 3-6 (2-4 ILH)
Top 10 wins: Baldwin, ‘Iolani (2x)
Top 10 losses: Waianae, Punahou (3x), Saint Louis (2x)
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
vs. #4 Waianae 8/5: Pass 10-20-1-143; Rush 7-17. ¥08.70 + $5.0 = ¥$ 13.70
@ Baldwin (War Memorial) 8/13: Pass n/a
vs. #2 Punahou (Aloha) 9/1: Pass 8-16-0-79; Rush 4-10, TD (5). ¥10.00 + $5.0 = ¥$ 15.00
vs. #10 ‘Iolani 9/10: Pass 12-19-0-227, 2 TD (14, 38); Rush 3-30, 2 TD (13, 13). ¥38.25 + $5.0 = ¥$ 43.25
vs. #2 Saint Louis (Aloha) 9/17: Pass 14-29-2-171; Rush 4-(-15). ¥-1.75 + $5.0 = ¥$ 03.25
vs. #3 Punahou (Aloha) 9/23: Pass 5-12-0-57; Rush 2-6. ¥02.10 + $5.0 = ¥$ 07.10
vs. ‘Iolani (Aloha) 9/30: Pass 17-23-0-234, 2 TD (27, 20); Rush 3-10. ¥26.75 + $5.0 = ¥$ 31.75
vs. #2 Saint Louis (Aloha) 10/7: Pass 17-30-2-167, TD (8); Rush 6-12. ¥08.20 + $5.0 = ¥$ 13.20
vs. #2 Punahou (Aloha) 10/14: Pass 12-37-0-93; Rush 7-75, 3 TD (33,15,5). ¥25.25 + $5.0 = ¥$ 30.25
To date: ¥$157.75 / ¥$19.69 pg

The skinny: (Nov 3) At some point, after the season when there’s a little, teeny bit more time (probably not with boys and girls basketball, etc.), I’d like to take a look back at Yam’s 2015 game-by-game stats. Different system, different philosophy. But just the sheer numbers comparison would probably be mind-blowing. Yam had his share of big production this fall, but I’m fairly certain he didn’t accumulate more than half of last year’s numbers. Even with last year’s midseason injury. And, of course, he split time for approximately half the season with another talented QB, Justice Young. I wouldn’t doubt that a lot of Boogie’s supporters are disappointed with the change in the offensive machinery, but the last time Kamehameha won a postseason championship was under David Stant in 2009, and that team employed a run-first philosophy with a lot of accurate short and intermediate passing by T.C. Campbell. Before that, it was roughly four decades ago when Coach Cal Chai’s team was run-first en route to an Oahu Prep Bowl title. Does it have to be a choice between a proven blueprint for success or highly entertaining, but volatile offensive schemes? No simple answer to this.


(Sept 7) This is almost too early to gauge with a brand-new system, new terminology and, it seems, a completely different world of angles and windows for Yam and his competitor at QB, Justice Young. For all the record-setting performances by the two in 2015, they weren’t enough to win the ILH. Historically, Kamehameha’s best teams relied on the ground attack and elite defense, and that’s precisely what new coach Abu Ma‘afala is committed to. .

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) Three games into the season, the Warriors have run the ball 114 times and thrown it 60 times.

Alaka‘i Yuen, Moanalua
Measurables:
Sr.
Crunch this: 11 games — Pass 208-371-16-2,391, 27 TD; Rush 81-150, 4 TD
Passing yards per game: 217.4
Completion rate: .561
Yards per attempt: 6.4
Passer rating: 125.59
Rushing yards per carry: 1.9
Rushing yards per game: 13.6
W-L: 5-7 (3-4 OIA Blue)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: Waianae, Campbell, Kahuku, Kapolei
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
vs. Damien 8/5: Pass 17-27-3-364, 6 TD (88,27,9,41,16,19); Rush 8-38; XP 4. = ¥ 52.55
@ Kailua 8/13: Pass 8-14-0-110, 2 TD (16, 1); Rush 5-(-9). = ¥ 15.60
@ #4 Waianae 8/19: Pass 26-51-2-218, 3 TD (3,4,25); Rush 10-23, TD (3); XP 2. ¥31.55 + $5.0 = ¥$ 36.55
@ Radford 9/2: Pass 18-27-1-299, 2 TD (21, 71), 2-pt; Rush 10-82. = ¥ 33.45
vs. Kaiser 9/9: Pass 19-29-1-284, 4 TD (15,74,44,13); Rush 6-1; XP 3. = ¥ 38.35
@ Campbell 9/16: Pass 18-33-4-139, TD (12); Rush 9-(-29). ¥-3.15 + $5.0 = ¥$ 01.85
vs. #1 Kahuku 9/24: Pass 11-35-1-81; Rush 5-8. ¥-2.45 + $5.0 = ¥$ 02.55
vs. Aiea 9/30: Pass 23-40-1-257, 2 TD (21, 11); Rush 4-11, 2 TD (5, 6); XP 1. = ¥ 35.60
vs. Castle 10/7: Pass 20-31-1-201, TD (24); Rush 9-5; XP 7. = ¥ 30.75
@ #4 Kapolei 10/14: Pass 23-50-1-226, TD (26); Rush 6-(-33). ¥17.70 + $5.0 = ¥$ 22.70
vs. #8 Campbell 10/22: Game forfeited by MOA
vs. ‘Iolani# 11/4: Pass 25-34-1-212, 2 TD (20, 6); Rush 9-53. ¥27.30 + $5.0 = ¥$ 32.30
#At Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium (HHSAA D-I State Championships)
To date: ¥$302.25 / ¥$27.48 pg

The skinny: (Nov 10) I’ve written this before, but this is the capper at the end of a gritty season for all of Moanalua’s Na Menehune. Not the biggest team. Or the deepest. Or the most balanced, of course. But they made the best with what they had in a very tough OIA Division I and competed. Yuen didn’t have a lot of monster-production games, but he was smart and efficient even without a go-to big target — no tight end in this offense — and without an enormous ballcarier/protector at running back. So, for better or worse, Yuen was his own Plan B and handled it with as much efficiency as he could. His worst game was against one of the top defenses in the state, Campbell, but many of his best games were against other solid defenses (Waianae, Kapolei, ‘Iolani and Damien). Dak Prescott was a 56-percent completion-rate guy at Mississippi State. Normally, a college QB at that level doesn’t prosper in the pros. I’m not saying Yuen is Dak. But I am saying that given more protection and a big safety valve, Prescott has flourished at the next level. Yuen has an interesting future, as well. The elusiveness and speed — scrambling for yardage would become a low-priority choice. Just the threat would make his overall package more valuable. We shall see.

(Nov 3) Through all the ups and downs, Yuen and his teammates have persevered. The senior punts, kicks PATs, and is at the wheel of this often rollicking offense. That system has remained a four-wide, bombs-away machine even with the arrival of first-year head coach Savaii Eselu. In that sense, Yuen was very fortunate. Changing systems in his senior year would’ve taken more time and energy to absorb for Yuen and his crew of talented receivers. And it might not have produced yardage and scores as well.

(Sept 7) The dependency factor is large in Moanalua’s system. Much like Mizutani at ‘Iolani and Taulia Tagovailoa at Kapolei, the keys this machine are with Yuen. Unlike Mizutani, Yuen doesn’t have a RB with a lot of touches, though Kea Rodrigues is averaging 4 yards per carry. Yuen produces, period. When he is on the field, Na Menehune average 37 points per game. He has made some adjustments with the graduation of outstanding playmakers. In other words, these first four games were a lab environment. The next four should bring some refinement, though the Sept. 24 matchup with Kahuku looms.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) As long as Yuen is the team’s leading rusher (134 yards, 33 carries, one TD), Na Menehune’s hopes are on yellow alert.

Nick Kapule, Punahou
Measurables: 6-2, 190, Sr.
Crunch this: 22-36-0, 485 yards, 8 TD
Passing yards per game: 10 games — 177-295-9-2,798, 31 TD; Rush 64-222
Completion rate: .600
Yards per attempt: 9.5
Passer rating: 168.2
W-L: 7-3 (5-1 ILH)
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha (3x), ‘Iolani (2x), Saint Louis
Top 10 losses: Saint Louis (2x), Kapolei
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
@ Leilehua 8/5: Pass 5-5-0-137, 3 TD (12, 21, 13); Rush 1-8. = ¥ 25.05
vs. #6 Kamehameha* 9/1: Pass 17-31-0-348, 5 TD (30,4,8,44,7); Rush 1-(-11). ¥44.65 + $5.0 = ¥$ 49.65
vs. #2 Saint Louis* 9/9: Pass 30-59-1-495, 5 TD (19,59,10,19,39), 2-pt; Rush 5-3. ¥48.55 + $5.0 = ¥$ 53.55
@ #10 ‘Iolani 9/17: Pass 19-25-1-287, 4 TD (42,18,15,60), 2-pt; Rush 7-42. ¥42.45 + $5.0 = ¥$ 47.45
vs. #8 Kamehameha* 9/23: Pass 14-25-0-298, 4 TD (14,42,30,25); Rush 4-54. ¥42.15 + $5.0 = ¥$ 47.15
vs. #2 Saint Louis* 9/29: Pass 29-46-1-308, 2 TD (24, 12); Rush 8-21. ¥28.10 + $5.0 = ¥$ 33.10
vs. ‘Iolani 10/7: Pass 9-16-0-134, TD (35); Rush 3-20. ¥13.50 + $5.0 = ¥$ 18.50
vs. #10 Kamehameha* 10/14: Pass 21-33-1-452, 5 TD (58,62,25,76,7); Rush 7-57. ¥55.95 + $5.0 = ¥$ 60.95
vs. #2 Saint Louis* 10/21: Pass 24-41-5-219, TD (6); Rush 15-24. ¥04.15 + $5.0 = ¥$ 09.15
vs. #5 Kapolei# 11/5: Pass 9-15-1-120, TD (27); Rush 0-0. ¥07.75 + $5.0 = ¥$ 12.75
* Aloha Stadium
#Aloha Stadium, HHSAA Open Division State Championships
To date: ¥$357.30 / ¥$35.73 pg

The skinny: (Nov 10) Two games into the season, Nick Kapule was insanely productive. Just two games, sure, but he had eight TDs, no picks, a passer rating of 224. Unsustainable, right? Wrong. Five TDs a week later against Saint Louis. Then four against ‘Iolani and four more against Kamehameha. He sustained a level that was at the upper crust of elite. Until the end. Saint Louis picked him off left and right in the ILH title game. He was 9-for-15 with one pick during the state tourney against Kapolei before suffering a head injury and leaving. And just like that, one of the most incredible passing seasons on record was over. I never tired of watching Kapule and the Buffanblu play, and really, it wasn’t enough for the fan in me. The offer from UH is on the table, and it would surprise me if he didn’t get more between now and signing day.

(Sept 7) Kamehameha, Farrington, Punahou. All with a surplus of quality QBs. It’s just not fair for other programs that could use a serviceable slinger. But here are. Punahou has Kapule and Barber, two outstanding passers. Kapule has been superb, and the Buffanblu haven’t spent a lot of time platooning the two. Kapule starts and Barber steps in when the lead is sizable, which was the case against Kamehameha. Sometime, we’ll start wondering who the best backup QB in the state is. What a nice problem for any coaching staff to have.
Kapule has command at the line of scrimmage and has been in sync with his talented, experienced group of receivers. He was very accurate from the beginning, his sophomore season two years ago.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) Intra-squad competition for starting spots and playing time work well in the right environment. Kapule and Barber battling every afternoon at practice — remember, there have only been two games so far — must be amazing to witness.

###

Stephen Barber, Punahou
Measurables: 6-3, 215, Jr.
Crunch this: 8 games — 46-87-4-707, 10 TD; Rush 34-71, TD
Passing yards per game: 88.4
Completion rate: .529
Yards per attempt: 8.1
Passer rating: 149.87
Rushing yards per carry: 2.1
Rushing yards per game: 8.9
W-L:
Top 10 wins:
Top 10 losses:
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
@ Leilehua 8/5: Pass 11-18-0-229, 3 TD (4,36,32); Rush 4-8. = ¥ 29,80
vs. #6 Kamehameha* 9/1: Pass 3-6-0-59, TD (10); Rush 3-12, TD (3). ¥15.20 + $5.0 = ¥$ 20.20
vs. #2 Saint Louis* 9/9: DNP
@ #10 ‘Iolani 9/17: Pass 7-13-1-95, TD (34); Rush 5-16. ¥07.85 + $5.0 = ¥$ 12.85
vs. #8 Kamehameha* 9/23: Pass 1-8-0-24, TD (24); Rush 5-36. ¥08.10 + $5.0 = ¥$ 13.10
vs. #2 Saint Louis* 9/29: Pass 0-0-0-0; Rush 2-3. ¥00.30 + $5.0 = ¥$ 05.30
vs. ‘Iolani 10/7: Pass 10-18-2-125, TD (8); Rush 7-31. ¥08.60 + $5.0 = ¥ 13.60
vs. #10 Kamehameha* 10/14: Pass 1-2-0-6, TD (6); Rush 3-2. ¥06.20 + $5.0 = ¥$ 11.20
vs. #2 Saint Louis* 10/21: DNP
vs. #5 Kapolei# 11/5: Pass 13-21-0-169, 2 TD (28,17); Rush 5-(-37); ¥15.55 + $5.0 = ¥$ 20.55
* Aloha Stadium
#Aloha Stadium, HHSAA Open Division State Championships
To date: ¥$126.60 / ¥$15.83 pg

The skinny: (Nov 10) Barber was in the mix at QB early on before Kapule became the full-time starter. That made Barber, arguably, the best backup QB in the state. It’s the surplus luxury of Punahou, where there is talent, depth, size, speed. A 6-3, 215-pound athlete like Barber might have ended up playing line at a smaller program. Defensive end. Linebacker. Plus QB or RB. He is a load to bring down; even in defeat, Barber wouldn’t let Kapolei’s tenacious defensive line bring him down. He looked like Big Ben out there, Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. Barber will be a senior next season. The offer from UH came during his sophomore year. How much more will he improve? It will be a reload more than a rebuild for the Buffanblu offense, which had a young and very talented offensive line. Saint Louis will be in similar mode. He already showed he is capable many times, including the state-tourney game against Kapolei. He filled in for Kapule (concussion) and threw a TD pass on his first snap of the night.

(Sept 7) Only at Punahou, and perhaps a very few other programs, can a QB have a YPA of 12 and a QBR of 214 and still be second string. As magnificent as Barber’s numbers are, Kapule’s are preposterously undeniable. It’s quite the problem to have for OC Teetai Ane. All that combined production and not a single interception.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) Punahou does have a young O-line, and regardless of whether it’s Barber or Kapule in the pocket, a stellar defensive unit like Saint Louis will provide a unique test.

###

Dillon Gabriel, Mililani
Measurables: 5-11, 180, So.
Crunch this: 12 games — Pass 192-338-14-2,655, 28 TD; Rush 70-265, 7 TD
Passing yards per game: 221.3
Completion rate: .568
Yards per attempt: 86
Passer rating: 141.84
Rushing yards per carry: 3.8
Rushing yards per game: 22.1
W-L: 9-3 (5-2 OIA Red)
Top 10 wins: Farrington, Baldwin, ‘Iolani
Top 10 losses: Kapolei, Waianae
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
vs. #2 Saint Louis 8/6: cancelled
vs. Kaiser 8/13: Pass 10-12-0-127, 3 TD (32, 11, 3); Rush 3-(-10), TD (5). = ¥ 30.00
vs. Castle 8/20: Pass 14-20-0-209, 2 TD (87, 11); Rush 4-6. = ¥ 23.60
vs. #7 Farrington 8/27: Pass 17-32-3-237, TD (11); Rush 5-40, 2 TD (3, 27). ¥32.5 + $5.0 = ¥$ 37.50
vs. #8 Kapolei 9/5: Pass 12-25-3-110; Rush 2-(-7). ¥-5.95 + $5.0 = ¥$ -0.95
@ Nanakuli 9/9: Pass 19-43-0-209, 3 TD (24,45,15); Rush 7-15. = ¥ 27.25
@ Kailua 9/23: Pass 13-27-2-168, TD (22); Rush 2-(-7). = ¥ 05.05
@ Leilehua 9/30: Pass 13-26-0-161, TD (19); Rush 11-81, 3 TD (1,3,1). = ¥ 38.10
vs. #5 Waianae 10/15: Pass 19-29-2-319, 4 TD (9,75,18,54); Rush 6-11. ¥35.35 + $5.0 = ¥$ 40.35
vs. Leilehua 10/21: Pass 17-32-0-302, 5 TD (29,13,53,48,10), 2-pt; Rush 6-17. = ¥ 48.20
@ #9 Baldwin* 11/4: Pass 22-35-1-397, 4 TD (65,57,17,28); Rush 8-57. ¥45.95 + $5.0 = ¥$ 50.95
vs. Leilehua 11/11: Pass 16-25-0-226, 4 TD; Rush 11-56, TD. = ¥ 47.35
vs. # ‘Iolani 11/18: Pass 20-32-3-190; Rush 5-6. ¥03.60 + $5.0 = ¥$ 05.60
To date: ¥$353.00 / ¥$29.42 pg
* War Memorial Stadium, Wailuku (HHSAA D-I state tournament)

The skinny: (Nov 10) There’s nothing like reps and game action for a talented, young player. Coach Rod York and his staff have put full trust into Gabriel and his young receivers, and behind a solid O-line and improving ground attack — maybe the best pair of power backs in the OIA — Gabriel has found room to breathe and grow. And flourish. Coming from behind against Baldwin on the road — on Maui — is a signature win for the young southpaw.

(Sept 7) The sophomore class of quarterbacks has the potential to be astounding. Gabriel and his teammates are in transition mode, developing an identity of their own since the graduation of tremendous playmakers. Vavae Malepeai, McKenzie Milton, Kalakaua Timoteo. Even WR Bryson Ventura was outstanding, and now we see the emergence of new contributors. The bar is set extremely high for Mililani, but any other sophomore with Gabriel’s numbers — not named Taulia Tagovailoa — would have to be largely optimistic. Huge upside here.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) Gabriel is sneaky quick with the ball and Coach Rod York knows it. After seeing the talented southpaw suffer a season-ending injury last season, York is understandably cautious about the number of carries for Gabriel: 14 attempts, 29 yards and three TDs. Two of those running scores were huge in a recent win over Farrington.

###

Sol-Jay Maiava, Kahuku
Measurables: 6-1, 160, Fr.
Crunch this: 12 games — Pass 50-110-3-842, 8 TD; Rush 49-342, 5 TD
Passing yards per game: 70.2
Completion rate: .455
Yards per attempt: 7.7
Passer rating: 128.30
Rushing yards per carry: 7.0
Rushing yards per game: 28.5
W-L: 10-2 (7-0 OIA Blue)
Top 10 wins: Waianae (2x), Campbell, Farrington, Kapolei
Top 10 losses: Bishop Gorman (Nev)
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
@ Leilehua 8/12: Pass 8-20-0-108, TD (23); Rush 4-19. = ¥ 10.90
vs. Aiea 8/19: Pass 7-11-0-84, TD (10); Rush 1-3. = ¥ 11.05
vs. #4 Waianae 8/26: Pass 4-10-0-39; Rush 1-10. = ¥ 01.50
vs. Campbell 9/2: Pass 2-8-1-32; Rush 2-(-1). ¥ -3.10 + $5.0 = ¥$ 01.90
@ Radford 9/9: Pass 2-3-0-31, TD (26); Rush 1-0. = ¥ 07.25
@ #1* Bishop Gorman (Nev.) 9/17: Pass 3-9-0-33; Rush 6-23, TD (45). ¥08.55 + $5.0 = ¥$ 13.55
@ Moanalua 9/24: Pass 2-3-0-15; Rush 3-28. = ¥ 03.05
@ Kaiser 9/30: Pass 5-9-0-134, TD (47); Rush 2-25. = ¥ 13.75
vs. Leilehua 10/14: Pass 5-13-1-96, TD (18); Rush 3-54, TD (25). = ¥ 09.95
vs. #4 Waianae* 10/22: Pass 3-7-1-64; Rush 10-57, TD (16). ¥10.45 + $5.0 = ¥$ 15.45
vs. #4 Farrington* 10/28: Pass 6-10-0-128, 2 TD (8, 52); Rush 6-79, 2 TD (11, 65). ¥37.40 + $5.0 = ¥$ 42.40
vs. #3 Kapolei# 11/11: Pass 3-4-0-78, TD; Rush 3-46. ¥14.10 = $5.0 = ¥$ 19.10
vs. #1 Saint Louis# 11/18: Pass 0-3-0-0; Rush 7-(-1). ¥-0.85 + $5.0 = ¥$ 04.15
To date: ¥$154.00 / ¥$11.85 pg
*Aloha Stadium
#Aloha Stadium, HHSAA D-I state tournament

The skinny: (Nov 10) He is a key cog in a tightly welded offensive package that is at its best in triple-tight end, full-house backfield mode. Nobody in Hawaii stops that stampede. Nobody in his right mind. But out of the four-wide set and I-formation, this is still a work in progress for one of the only freshman QBs in the state playing varsity football. Detach yourself from the fact that Maiava has a scholarship offer from Michigan — which, like Kahuku, can employ tight-end passing schemes with effectiveness — and remember how young he is. There has been only one ninth-grader who had carte blanche to air the ball out 30 or more times per game, at least in recent memory: Taulia Tagovailoa of Kapolei. Most of this era’s aerial playmakers came out of the ILH, where freshmen are prohibited from playing varsity football, and the rest didn’t start as freshmen, like McKenzie Milton. Maiava in a pass-first offense would be a thrill-a-minute, no question. But he’s a dangerous dual threat for Hawaii’s only nationally-ranked team. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Here’s one difference between a previous Kahuku state-championship coach (Siuaki Livai) and a current Kahuku state-championship coach (Vavae Tata): Livai sought counsel on what to do with the development of Inoke Funaki (see below), and used wide margins to give the talented (future UH QB) a lot of passing reps during those games. Tata is almost solely concerned with great defense, controlling the trenches, running the ball and putting the game away physically and mentally. If Maiava throws the ball just three times — it has happened twice this season — so be it. That’s how championship coaches often think. That’s the price to be paid and I believe every player on a championship roster understands this. But it’s OK to wonder what Maiava would do in a consistently balanced, spread formation. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe by next season, he’s doing a reasonable impersonation of Milton, who also made his earliest mark as a sophomore.

(Sept 7) It’s much too early to get a real idea of what this talented young QB can do as a passer. After all, Kahuku is, has been — with the exception of the Inoke Funaki years — and likely will always be a run-first offense. Even if this were a balanced offense, Maiava’s youth would lead most coaches to protect him by running the ball more. Maybe in a month or so we’ll have a better notion of what he can do. Unless Kahuku turns more and more to the ground-and-pound that helped it win the state title last year.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) No indication whatsoever, but my gut feeling is that the more John Hao works with Maiava, the better. Hao played in the four-wide at Saint Louis, but also acquired a taste for a variety of formations over the years. If Kahuku isn’t willing to test the waters — or the air — then Hao’s role is significantly reduced, as it probably already has been with his demotion from offensive coordinator. Years ago, Siuaki Livai had Funaki in his program and decided to pick the brain of then-UH quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison. This was during the June Jones years. Livai’s thinking was that his team needed to expand and diversify for the state tournament down the road, so there was Kahuku, leading comfortably in games, and Funaki would start throwing the ball around the field. Some fans questioned why Livai wouldn’t just keep playing smashmouth football and win by a ton of points, but he made it a priority to get Funaki a lot of passing reps in games.
Yes, it worked.

Seth Tina-Soberano, Kalani
Measurables: 5-10, 150, Jr.
Crunch this: 7 games — Pass 78-158-2-1,342, 11 TD; Rush 77-260, 7 TD
Passing yards per game: 191.7
Completion rate: .494
Yards per attempt: 8.5
Passer rating: 141.16
Rushing yards per carry: 3.4
Rushing yards per game: 37.1
W-L: 4-3 (4-3 OIA D-II)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
vs. Pearl City 8/12: Pass 9-23-0-224, TD (55); Rush 9-27, 2 TD (3, 1). = ¥ 29.45
vs. Kaimuki 8/20: Pass 14-25-1-217, 2 TD (30, 26); Rush 11-3. = ¥ 19.05
@ Waialua 8/27: Pass 16-32-1-203; Rush 12-33, TD (11). = ¥ 15.30
vs. Roosevelt 9/10: Pass 8-14-0-209, 2 TD (68, 33); Rush 11-0, 2 TD (5, 12). = ¥ 33.50
vs. Kalaheo 9/30: Pass 8-22-0-100, TD (2); Rush 7-35. = ¥ 12.00
vs. Waipahu* 10/8: Pass 14-25-0-226, 2 TD (37, 11); Rush 20-133, TD (3); Rec 1-11. = ¥ 45.05
vs. McKinley 10/14: Pass 9-19-0-163, 3 TD (15,77,10); Rush 7-29, TD (42). = ¥ 32.65
To date: ¥$187.00 / ¥$26.71 pg

The skinny: (Nov 10) Quite a season for Tina-Soberano, mostly in quiet fashion. He passed for at least 200 yards five times in seven games while throwing only two picks. He’s another QB who doesn’t have a scintillating completion rate, but took care of the ball. The rushing yardage is a bonus for a Kalani team that was, once again, solid enough to contend for a playoff berth. At more than ¥$45 points per game, Tina-Soberano was both a game manager and solid producer. At least from what the numbers display.

(Sept 7) It’s been a few seasons since Noah Brum and his fleet of receivers wowed OIA Division II with the aerial prowess of Ron Lee’s four-wide blueprint. Brum and Lee are gone, and head coach Greg Taguchi retired in the offseason, but the Falcons continue to explore the jet stream. Tina-Soberano has kept turnovers down, which makes the notion of throwing the ball feasible. Their ability to connect for the occasional big play helps a lot; an 8-yard YPA is a measurement of justification in an era when more and more teams are apt to roll back the calendar and play ground-and-pound football.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) Aside from Jaemi Harris (10 carries, 116 yards), the Falcons haven’t run the ball consistently well, so Tina-Soberano stays in the pocket. His top four receivers are averaging at least 13 yards per grab.

###

Kona Andres, Leilehua
Measurables:: 5-11, 180, Jr.
Crunch this:: 13 games — Pass 178-324-18-2,242, 19 TD; Rush 52-66, 5 TD
Passing yards per game: 172.5
Completion rate:: .549
Yards per attempt:: 6.92
Passer rating:: 121.30
W-L:: 5-8 (3-4 OIA Red)
Top 10 wins:: Hilo
Top 10 losses:: Punahou, Kahuku, Kapolei, Farrington, Mililani (2x)
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
vs. #2 Punahou 8/5: Pass 25-43-3-203; Rush 3-12. ¥02.95 + $5.0 = ¥$ 07.95
vs. #1 Kahuku 8/12: Pass 26-38-1-208, TD (19), 2-pt; Rush 7-2, TD (5). ¥23.70 + $5.0 = ¥$ 28.70
vs. #10 Kapolei 8/20: Pass 13-34-4-133, 2 TD (51, 1); Rush 5-10. ¥04.00 + $5.0 = ¥$ 09.00
@ Nanakuli 8/27: Pass 6-8-0-74, 2 TD (24, 15); Rush 2-4. = ¥ 15.40
vs. #7 Farrington 9/5: Pass 6-12-2-73; Rush 0-0. ¥-4.00 + $5.0 = ¥$ 01.00
@ Kailua 9/10: Pass 6-12-0-148, 3 TD (41,80,8); Rush 2-4. = ¥ 23.40
vs. Castle 9/16: Pass 13-21-1-228, TD (80); Rush 3-(-6), TD (1). = ¥ 19.65
vs. #6 Mililani 9/30: Pass 22-42-2-301, 3 TD (67,9,56); Rush 3-(-14); Rec 1-9. ¥27.00 + $5.0 = ¥$ 32.00
vs. Aiea 10/8: Pass 10-17-1-252, 2 TD (43, 41); Rush 2-(-4); Rec 1-7. = ¥ 22.05
@ #1 Kahuku 10/14: Pass 8-17-3-66; Rush 6-(-3). ¥ -7.55 + $5.0 = ¥$ -2.55
@ #7 Mililani 10/21: Pass 21-33-0-270, 3 TD (34,20,45); Rush 7-9, TD (1). ¥38.15 + $5.0 = ¥$ 43.15
@ #10 Hilo* 11/4: Pass 15-24-0-167, 2 TD (10, 39); Rush 9-59, TD (7). ¥31.40 + $5.0 = ¥$ 36.40
@ #7 Mililani# 11/11: Pass 7-23-1-119; Rush 3-(-7), TD. ¥04.05 + $5.0 = ¥$ 09.05
To date: ¥$ 245.20 / ¥$ 18.86
*Keaau HS field, HHSAA D-I State Championships
#HHSAA D-I State Championships

The skinny: (Nov 10) Andres is a classic example of the growth a player, especially a quarterback, can make over the course of a 10- or 12-game schedule. If he had a short schedule of six or seven games, he may never have seen the kind of development that happened in the past month. Even with the struggle that everyone has against Kahuku, Andres has settled down significantly to become a viable and successful field general. His go-ahead fourth-quarter TD run against Hilo last week was a clutch play under duress (bruised shin two plays earlier), perhaps the signature act of his season.

(Sept 7) It’s a dilemma, to be sure, when an athletic QB is both dangerous as a playmaker and a turnover machine. Andres can make plays with his legs, but he has thrown a pick every 13.5 pass attempts. That probably factored in a move to Kaleo Aloha Piceno (28-for-53, 364 yards, five TDs, five INT) to QB, but it’s basically playing the guy who can make the Next: play without making a costly error. It hasn’t been easy to roll out the full Mules playbook; they have yet to establish a RB who has rushed for at least 100 yards total.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) Andres could turn out to be a solid QB if he turns his TD-INT ratio around in the second half of the season. There’s a lot to like with this roster, especially at WR. It’s not impossible; all four of Leilehua’s losses were to Top 10 teams, all with formidable defenses.

###

Braden Amorozo, Waipahu
Measurables:: 5-10, 175, Jr.
Crunch this:: 11 games — 175-286-13-2,440, 20 TD; Rush 55-31, 3 TD
Passing yards per game: 221.8
Completion rate:: .612
Yards per attempt:: 8.5
Passer rating:: 146.84
Rushing yards per carry: 0.6
Rushing yards per game: 2.7
W-L: 8-3 (6-1 OIA D-II)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game, Passcode (¥ statistical values, $ Top 10 opponent):
@ Nanakuli 8/5: Pass 22-33-0-316, TD (11); Rush 4-15, TD (3). = ¥ 30.25
vs. Kalaheo 8/13: Pass 19-28-0-353, 2 TD (18, 29); Rush 11-1, TD (2). = ¥ 36.60
vs. Roosevelt (Aloha) 9/5: Pass 15-27-2-228, 3 TD (82,19,34); Rush 5-15. = ¥ 24.25
vs. Pearl City 9/10: Pass 7-22-1-133, TD (25); Rush 6-1. = ¥ 12.10
vs. McKinley 9/17: Pass 17-25-1-221, 2 TD (7, 11); Rush 4-12, TD (4). = ¥ 27.45
@ Waialua 9/23: Pass 24-38-0-242, 2 TD (10, 61); Rush 2-0; XP: 3. = ¥ 27.50
vs. Kaimuki (Mililani) 10/1: Pass 22-31-2-183, 2 TD (39,17), 2-pt; Rush 7-(-7). = ¥ 17.55
vs. Kalani 10/8: Pass 13-20-1-172, TD (23); Rush 2-11. = ¥ 11.60
vs. Pearl City 10/21: Pass 6-17-1-65; Rush 6-18. = ¥ -0.45
vs. Waialua* 10/28: Pass 20-27-2-327, 4 TD (71,25,30,55); Rush 5-(-25). = ¥ 33.75
vs. Lahainaluna# 11/4: Pass 10-18-3-200, 2 TD (22, 18); Rush 3-(-10). = ¥ 11.50
(Home games at Aiea HS)
*Aloha Stadium
#War Memorial Stadium, Wailuku, HHSAA D-II State Championships
To date: ¥$232.10 / ¥$21.10 pg

The skinny: (Nov 10) All in all, a solid junior season for Amorozo. Yes, there were some growing pains, but he came through more often than not and brought Waipahu within a whisper of an OIA title. Most of the top teams in OIA D-II, as well as statewide, will be returning their starting QBs next season. The arms race is building up.

(Sept 7) Coach Bryson Carvalho is breathing some new life into the aerial game. Amorozo benefits from a healthy ground attack and a nice group of receivers, but that Completion rate: (nearly 64 percent) is a number that is rarely seen anywhere.

X factor: (Sept 23)


(Sept 7) Amorozo is second on the team in rushing attempts and backup Alika Ahsing has thrown just three passes in game action. The Marauders have a shot at reaching the playoffs in OIA D-II, and an outside chance of running the table until then. If Amorozo stays healthy.

¥ Completion +.25, Incompletion -.25, 25 passing yards = 1 pt, 200 yards = 1 bonus pt, 300 yards = 2 bonus pts, 400 yards = 3 bonus pts, TD pass = 6 pts, Int = -3 pts
(Note: Passing values corrected as of 9/15/17.)

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