Nerdpod: Quarterbacks, part 2

(Found some free time to squeeze in Part 2, which includes the two-headed Quarterback Monsters at Farrington and Punahou, Mililani’s super sophomore, and the nation’s finest QB. May the kind folks in Tuscaloosa learn to pronounce his full name properly someday.)

READ PART 1 HERE

Farrington QB Justin Uahinui ran for a big gain in a scrimmage against Kamehameha. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.
Farrington QB Justin Uahinui ran for a big gain in a scrimmage against Kamehameha. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Justin Uahinui, Farrington
Measurables: 6-3, 179, Sr.
Crunch this: 23-48-1, 255 yards, 3 TD
Completion rate: .479
Yards per attempt: 5.31
Passer rating: 109.00
The skinny: The Governors are 3-1. They’re running the ball. They’re passing the ball. They’re playing pretty good defense. So why does it feel like the Govs aren’t in full-throttle mode yet? It’s early September, a time when football season was barely kicking off not so many years ago. Time is on their side, and it’s on Uahinui’s side. He was outstanding at the GPA Showcase last May and though he’s had some inconsistency, he has still thrown three touchdowns with just one pick in 48 attempts. Last week, in a game that his counterpart, Bishop Rapoza didn’t play in, Uahinui had some trouble holding on to the snap. It’s easy to forget that this is Uahinui’s first sustained stretch as a starter. The Govs are likely through just one third of the season so far.
X factor: If Uahinui remains as the sole starting QB, Farrington is in good shape as long as he holds on to the ball. As he gets more comfortable, he has the physical tools to lift this offense to another level.
W-L: 3-1 (3-1)
Top 10 wins: Kailua
Top 10 losses: Mililani
Next: @ Castle 9/10


Farrington's Bishop Rapoza looks for an open receiver against Waianae. (Oct. 31, 2015) Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Farrington’s Bishop Rapoza looks for an open receiver against Waianae. (Oct. 31, 2015) Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Bishop Rapoza
Measurables: 5-11, 161, Sr.
Crunch this: 26-44-0, 362 yards, 6 TD
Completion rate: .591
Yards per attempt: 8.23
Passer rating: 173.20
The skinny: There’s no word about what happened last week when Rapoza didn’t play against Leilehua. No speculation here. Just this: he performed so well against Mililani the week before that he played the entire second half, throwing two TD passes. The numbers show that he’s been close to elite, if not efficient. His passer rating is among the highest in the OIA.
X factor: If Rapoza is injured, the Govs have the luxury of easing him back while Uahinui runs the offense.
W-L: 3-1 (3-1)
Top 10 wins: Kailua
Top 10 losses: Mililani
Next: @ Castle 9/10

Punahou quarterback Nick Kapule unleashed a pass while under pressure from Kamehameha's Nakoa Pauole on Thursday at Aloha Stadium. 2016 September 1 SPT - HSA photo by George F. Lee / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM
Punahou quarterback Nick Kapule unleashed a pass while under pressure from Kamehameha’s Nakoa Pauole on Thursday at Aloha Stadium.
2016 September 1 SPT – HSA photo by George F. Lee / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

Nick Kapule, Punahou
Measurables: 6-2, 190, Sr.
Crunch this: 22-36-0, 485 yards, 8 TD
Completion rate: .611
Yards per attempt: 13.47
Passer rating: 247.61
The skinny: 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: 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.
W-L: 2-0 (1-0)
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha
Top 10 losses: None
Next: Saint Louis 9/9

Punahou quarterback Stephen Barber was offered a scholarship by Hawaii last year. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.
Punahou quarterback Stephen Barber was offered a scholarship by Hawaii last year. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Stephen Barber, Punahou
Measurables: 6-3, 215, Jr.
Crunch this: 14-24-0, 288 yards, 4 TD
Completion rate: .583
Yards per attempt: 12.00
Passer rating: 214.13
The skinny: 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: 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.
W-L: 2-0 (1-0)
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha
Top 10 losses: None
Next: Saint Louis 9/9

Mililani QB Dillon Gabriel threw three touchdown passes in his first full game of the 2016 season. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Mililani QB Dillon Gabriel threw three touchdown passes in his first full game of the 2016 season. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Dillon Gabriel, Mililani
Measurables: 5-11, 180, So.
Crunch this: 53-89-6, 683 yards, 6 TD
Completion rate: .596
Yards per attempt: 7.67
Passer rating: 132.78
The skinny: 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: 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.
W-L: 3-1 (3-1)
Top 10 wins: Farrington
Top 10 losses: None
Next: @ Nanakuli 9/9

Tua Tagovailoa suits up tonight when Saint Louis meets Punahou. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Tua Tagovailoa suits up tonight when Saint Louis meets Punahou. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Tua Tagovailoa, Saint Louis
Measurables: 6-1, 210, Sr.
Crunch this: 27-40-0, 491 yards, 5 TD
Completion rate: .675
Yards per attempt: 12.28
Passer rating: 211.86
The skinny: 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: 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.
W-L: 2-0 (1-0)
Top 10 wins: ‘Iolani
Top 10 losses: None
Next: Punahou 9/9

(Part 3: Because we have 45 minutes before kickoff here at Aloha Stadium.)

PART 3

Ryan Johnson, Pac-Five
Measurables: 6-2, 155, Sr.
Crunch this: 19-for-30, 341 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT
Completion rate: .633
Yards per attempt: 11.36
Passer rating: 224.81
The skinny: Granted, doing any close-up look at numbers based on one measly game isn’t quite ideal. But Johnson was so sharp in that early nonconference game against McKinley, I can’t forget. Now if we can just get those stats from the Wolfpack’s road game at Kamehameha-Maui…
X factor: The move, THE MOVE, in my book is how Coach Kip Botelho managed to move Kainoa Ferreira — record-breaking Kainoa Ferreira — from QB to wide receiver. He is fluid, fast, long and physical enough for a 6-foot target. And he’s a potential game breaker as a returner. This automatically gives Johnson a huge asset to throw to, and not just a speedster, but a potentially great route runner.
W-L: 2-0
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Next: Damien 9/9


Sol-Jay Maiava, Kahuku
Measurables: 6-1, 160, Fr.
Crunch this: 21-for-49, 263 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Completion rate: .429
Yards per attempt: 5.37
Passer rating: 97.33
The skinny: 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: 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.
W-L: 4-0 (4-0)
Top 10 wins: Waianae
Top 10 losses: None
Next: @ Radford 9/9

Jaren Ulu, Waianae
Measurables: 6-0, 180, Sr.
Crunch this: 35-for-66, 511 yards, 7 TD, 4 INT
Completion rate: .530
Yards per attempt: 7.74
Passer rating: 140.95
The skinny: At just 13.2 pass attempts for game, we can safely say that Ulu’s role is more of a game manager than playmaker, and that’s the right fit in the larger scheme for Waianae. They have playmakers surrounding Ulu, and a sturdy run-blocking offensive line. My take is that if Ulu were in a pass-first offense, his completion rate might increase with shorter routes. Not a given, though, and his 53-percent rate right now gives me pause. They’re not asking Ulu to do too much, but they take their shots downfield just enough to keep defense honest. My guess is that in a four-wide offense he’d almost double his passing yardage and TD count, but the INTs would double as well. That’s pretty good, but pass attempts and victories don’t always mesh.
X factor: The Seariders haven’t consistently established a tight-end target for Ulu, and haven’t really needed to. It sure wouldn’t hurt to have a big target over the middle when defenses stack nine in the box on fourth-and-3.
W-L: 4-1 (3-1)
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha, Kapolei
Top 10 losses: Kahuku
Next: @ Aiea 9/9

Seth Tina-Sobarano, Kalani
Measurables: 5-10, 150, Jr.
Crunch this: 39-for-80, 644 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Completion rate: .488
Yards per attempt: 8.05
Passer rating: 123.75
The skinny: 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-Sobarano 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: Aside from Jaemi Harris (10 carries, 116 yards), the Falcons haven’t run the ball consistently well, so Tina-Sobarano stays in the pocket. His top four receivers are averaging at least 13 yards per grab.
W-L: 1-2 (1-2)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Next: Roosevelt 9/10

Kona Andres, Leilehua
Measurables:: 5-11, 180, Jr.
Crunch this:: 76-for-135, 691 yards, 5 TD, 10 INT
Completion rate:: .563
Yards per attempt:: 5.12
Passer rating:: 96.70
The skinny:: 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:: 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.
W-L:: 1-4 (1-3)
Top 10 wins:: None
Top 10 losses:: Punahou, Kahuku, Kapolei, Farrington
Next:: @ Kailua 9/10

Mark Lagazo, Kailua
Measurables:: 5-8, 160, Sr.
Crunch this:: 8-for-19, 132 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Completion rate:: .421
Yards per attempt:: 6.95
Passer rating:: 136.78
The skinny:: OK, it’s not like he’s never played QB before. He was the backup and when Keoni Serikawa Jr. went down against Farrington, Lagazo did then what he does now. He takes care of the ball and by sheer force of his will, keeps his team in games. His stats are basically irrelevant because all Kailua wants to do is move the chains, eat the clock and let its defense take over. Lagazo was already a solid RB before moving into this wildcat role. The two stats that are reason for optimism: YPA and Passer rating:. At nearly 7 Yards per attempt:, that’s very good for a guy who was not a starter at QB. The respectable QBR (136) is a direct correlation to having only one pick in 19 attempts. Lagazo is an example of why statistics are meaningless sometimes. There are pure passers who rack up statistics at the pro or college level, but just don’t have the gumption to do what it takes to keep his team in every game.
X factor:: Until another QB surfaces, either a current reserve or a JV player, Lagazo will carry the weight on his shoulders. Serikawa wasn’t being asked to produce huge numbers, but his injury could have sacked the Surfriders’ season. To their credit, they’re plugging along as expected.
W-L:: 2-1 (2-1)
Top 10 wins:: None
Top 10 losses:: Farrington
Next:: Leilehua (9/10)

Kekainalu Simon, Pearl City
Measurables:: 6-0, 175, Sr.
Crunch this:: 24-for-61, 414 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT
Completion rate:: .393
Yards per attempt:: 6.79
Passer rating:: 130.94
The skinny:: Take a closer look and Simon’s numbers have a lot in common with Lagazo’s. Not the picture-perfect Completion rate:, but takes care of the ball and is a low-risk, high-reward winner.
X factor:: The durability of Charles Freitas (73 carries, 255 yards, three TDs) takes much of the pressure off Simon.
W-L:: 3-1 (3-0)
Top 10 wins:: None
Top 10 losses:: None
Next:: Waipahu 9/10

Zelius Maae-Liupaono, Aiea
Measurables:: 5-8, 180, Sr.
Crunch this:: 42-for-69, 355 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Completion rate:: .609
Yards per attempt:: 5.14
Passer rating:: 104.96
The skinny:: Last season’s starter, Kobe Kato, was on a baseball during preseason and Maae-Liupaono has taken most of the snaps since. He doesn’t have a strong arm, but his accuracy is excellent on the short and intermediate routes. Aiea has no running game to speak of. Nobody has rushed for more than 27 yards for the season, so Na Alii look to Maae-Liupaono to run through the air. After all, at more than 5 Yards per attempt:, if there’s no running game, that’s not a bad way to go at it, especially with only three picks in 69 attempts. Kato hasn’t fared better (9-for-25, 36 yards, one TD, three INT).
X factor:: A young corps of receivers like this tends to start gelling in the second half of the season.
W-L:: 1-3 (1-2)
Top 10 wins:: None
Top 10 losses:: Kahuku
Next:: Waianae 9/9


Mark Lerhner, Kalaheo
Measurables:: 5-10, 190, Sr.
Crunch this:: 30-for-72, 445 yards, 5 TD, 7 INT
Completion rate:: .417
Yards per attempt:: 6.18
Passer rating:: 97.06
The skinny:: The stats aren’t overly impressive, but the fact that Lerhner leads the team in rushing and passing says a lot. Lerhner is also a standout baseball player.
X factor:: It’s been some time since then-RB Jesse Carney broke a single-game rushing mark. Lerhner leads his team with 146 rushing yards and two TDs.
W-L:: 1-3 (1-2)
Top 10 wins:: None
Top 10 losses:: None
Next:: @ Waialua 9/10

Braden Amorozo, Waipahu
Measurables:: 5-10, 175, Jr.
Crunch this:: 56-for-88, 897 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT
Completion rate:: .636
Yards per attempt:: 10.19
Passer rating:: 167.21
The skinny:: 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:: 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.
W-L:: 3-0 (2-0)
Top 10 wins:: None
Top 10 losses:: None
Next:: Pearl City 9/10

COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.

*