It’s been two weeks since we nerdpodded QBs. Let’s take a look as we enter Week 8 of the prep football season.

QUARTERBACKS

Saint Louis QB Tua Tagovailoa took off running against Kamehameha in Saturday's 35-3 win. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Saint Louis QB Tua Tagovailoa took off running against Kamehameha in Saturday’s 35-3 win. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Tua Tagovailoa, Saint Louis
Measurables: 6-1, 210, Sr.
Crunch this: 4 games — 78-for-117; 1,198 yards, 13 TD, 0 INT; Rush 36-234, 5 TD
Completion rate: .667
Yards per attempt: 10.2
Passer rating: 189.34


The skinny: (Sept 22) 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) 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) In the past two weeks, we have learned that 1) Tua can slide, and when he did (against Punahou), it was a major-league quality 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) 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: 4-0 (3-0 ILH)
Top 10 wins: ‘Iolani, Punahou, Kamehameha
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
@ Mililani 8/6: cancelled-lights malfunction
@ Hilo 8/20: 10-14-0-231, 3 TD (70, 6, 15; Rush 5-34, TD (12). ¥37.9
vs. #10 ‘Iolani (Aloha) 9/2: 17-26-0-260, 2 TD (7, 58); Rush 7-77, TD (19). ¥38.7 + $5.0 = ¥$43.7
vs. #3 Punahou (Aloha) 9/9: 31-42-0-447, 6 TD (37, 63, 6, 10, 20, 14), 2-pt pass; Rush 15-104, 3 TD (1, 1, 25). ¥96.4 + $5.0 = ¥$101.4
vs. #6 Kamehameha (Aloha) 9/17: 20-35-0-258, 2 TD (15, 6); Rush 9-19. ¥26.2 + $5.0 = ¥$31.2
@ ‘Iolani 9/23:
vs. Punahou (Aloha) 9/29:
vs. Kamehameha (Aloha) 10/7:
To date: ¥$214.2 total / ¥$53.6 pg

taulia5

Taulia Tagovailoa, Kapolei
Measurables: 6-0, 190, So.
Crunch this: 6 games — 150-for-250; 1,894 yards, 20 TD, 3 INT; Rush 22-(-84), 0 TD
Completion rate: .600
Yards per attempt: 7.6
Passer rating: 147.64

The skinny: (Sept 22) 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.

(Sept 7) 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: (Sept 22) 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) 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.

W-L: 5-1 (4-1 OIA Red)
Top 10 wins: @ Mililani
Top 10 losses: Waianae
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
@ Campbell 8/5: 22-31-0-263, 5 TD (26, 20, 6, 28, 14); Rush 3-(-25). ¥41.8
vs. #4 Waianae 8/13: 22-47-0-234, 2 TD (8, 26); Rush 5-(-23). ¥18.0 + $5.0 = ¥$24.0
@ Leilehua 8/20: 19-34-0-227, 4 TD; Rush 4-(-9). ¥34.1
@ Castle 8/26: 30-44-1-403, 2 TD (10, 10); Rush 1-5. ¥35.5
@ #4 Mililani 9/5: 31-54-0-379, 4 TD (19, 35, 10, 8); Rush 8-(-17). ¥39.3 + $5.0 = ¥$47.3
vs. Kailua 9/16: 26-40-1-388, 3 TD (5, 6, 7); Rush 1-(-13). ¥34.7
vs. #6 Farrington 9/23:
vs. Nanakuli 9/30:
To date: ¥$217.4 total / ¥$36.2 pg

Austin Ewing, Konawaena
Measurables:
Crunch this: 4 games — 77-for-141; 1,062 yards, 13 TD, 6 INT; Rush 19-72, 2 TD
Completion rate: .546
Yards per attempt: 7.5
Passer rating: 139.79

The skinny: (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.

W-L: 3-1 (2-1 BIIF)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. St. Francis (Leilehua/Yoshida Stadium) 8/19: 30-54-4-330, 2 TD; Rush 3-(-9). ¥18.6
@ Hilo (Wong Stadium) 8/27: 17-38-2-235, 2 TD; Rush 11-12. ¥17.2
@ Keaau 9/2: cancelled-Hurricane Lester
vs. Hawaii Prep 9/9: 12-22-0-191, 5 TD; Rush 4-52, TD. ¥48.7
vs. Waiakea 9/17: 18-27-0-306, 4 TD; Rush 1-17, TD. ¥49.0
vs. Kealakehe 9/23:
@ Honokaa 9/30:
vs. Kamehameha-Hawaii 10/8:
@ Honokaa 10/6:
(Note: Ewing’s statistics courtesy of ScoringLive.com)
To date: ¥$133.5 total / ¥$33.4 pg

Kurt Napoleon, Kapaa
Measurables: 6-2, 190, Sr.
Crunch this: 5 games — 38-for-64, 495 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT; Rush 36-84, 3 TD; Rec 1-11, 1 TD
Completion rate: .594
Yards per attempt: 7.7
Passer rating: 145.91

The skinny: (Sept 23) Current Kauai AD Kelii Morgado brought the run-and-shoot philosophy from Kauai to Kapaa when he became coach there many years ago. Then he adapted to his personnel, and the Warriors became more of a ground-and-pound team. That hasn’t changed since, though the elements of what Morgado brought over remain.

X factor: (Sept 23) The Warriors have gone to states and knocked on the door quite a few times. They’ve beaten non-KIF teams at home (Maui) and on the road (Lahainaluna). The last time I saw them in the postseason was a close loss at ‘Iolani in the D-II tourney a few years back. The Warriors had a balanced attack early on, had the lead, got conservative and never really opened up as the Raiders drew closer and closer to the line of scrimmage. Will Kapaa let Napoleon loose a bit come postseason time? Hmm…

W-L: 5-0 (3-0 KIF)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. Maui 8/6: 7-13-1-98, 0 TD; Rush 9-12, 1 TD. ¥7.5
@ Lahainaluna 8/13: 4-8-1-50, 1 TD; Rush 8-19, 1 TD. ¥12.9
vs. Kauai 8/26: 9-16-0-184, 2 TD; Rush 9-29, 0 TD; Rec 1-11. ¥24.5
vs. Waimea* 9/2: 8-9-0-54, 2 TD; 10-24, 1 TD. ¥24.2
vs. Kauai* 9/17: 10-18-1-109, 1 TD; Rush 0-0. ¥7.5
vs. Waimea* 9/24:
@ Kauai* 10/8:
vs. Waimea 10/15:
*Vidinha Stadium, Lihue
(Note: Napoleon’s statistics courtesy of ScoringLive.com)
To date: ¥$76.6 total / ¥$15.3 pg

Campbell quarterback Kawika Ulufale threw a pass in the first quarter against Kapolei on Friday. The Sabers are happy to have their home field back this season.  Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Campbell quarterback Kawika Ulufale threw a pass in the first quarter against Kapolei on Friday. The Sabers are happy to have their home field back this season. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Kawika Ulufale, Campbell
Measurables: 5-11, 175, Sr.
Crunch this: 6 games — 80-171-16-710, 3 TD; Rush 66-75, 3 TD
Completion rate: .468
Yards per attempt: 4.2
Passer rating: 68.74

The skinny: (Sept 23) The statistics of Kawika Ulufale prove one thing: resilience matters. Despite the turnovers, the low completion percentage, the below-average YPA, the Sabers keep battling and have a winning record in the OIA Blue. Grit. Mental toughness. Unity. All empirically unmeasurable. And coach Amosa Amosa’s commitment to Ulufale, who has taken just about every snap, is remarkable.

X factor: (Sept 23) The Sabers struggled in 2015, mainly because of injuries. Then came the playoffs and a resounding upset win over Kaiser on the road. This year’s Sabers are doing better on paper, and the depth that they have at WR gives them a chance to develop and improve as the regular season enters its final two weeks. Ulufale could ultimately steer the Sabers deep enough into the OIA playoffs to earn a state-tourney berth.

W-L: 3-3 (3-2 OIA Blue)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: Farrington, Kahuku
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
@ #6 Kapolei 8/5: 22-35-3-149, 0 TD; Rush 9-(-33). ¥-5.1 + $5.0 = ¥$0.1
vs. #8 Farrington (Ticky) 8/13: 7-37-3-71, 0 TD; Rush 11-23, 2 TD (3, 6). ¥-0.2 + $5.0 = ¥$4.8
@ Kaiser 8/19: 23-32-1-180, 2 TD (10, 56); Rush 13-58, TD (20), 2-pt run. ¥33.3
@ Aiea 8/27: 12-26-2-171, 1 TD; Rush 16-121. ¥12.6
@ #1 Kahuku 9/2: 7-15-3-42, 0 TD; Rush 7-(-10). ¥-3.3 + $5.0 = ¥$1.7
vs. Moanalua 9/16: 9-26-4-97, 0 TD; Rush 10-8. ¥-10.2
vs. #4 Waianae 9/23:
vs. Radford 9/30:
To date: ¥$42.3 total / ¥$7.1 pg

Tevesi Toia, Waialua
Measurables:
Crunch this: 4 games — 47-87-8-631, 7 TD; Rush 54-189, 2 TD
Completion rate: .540
Yards per attempt: 7.3
Passer rating: 123.11

The skinny: (Sept 23) For now, it’s hard not to hold all Bulldog quarterbacks to the standard that Caleb Fore set, at least within the past decade or so. Toia hasn’t been quite as productive, but he gets the job done. The Bulldogs are in position to qualify for the playoffs and the ability of Toia and the Bulldogs to win close games is a major reason why. Toia has 54 rushing attempts (two TDs), a sum that is among the highest in the state.

X factor: (Sept 23) If he can get the turnover rate down, the Bulldogs may have enough to reach the division finals, which would also mean they’d qualify for the state tourney.

W-L: 3-1 (3-1 OIA D-II)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. Honokaa 8/5: cancelled
@ Kaimuki (Kaiser Stadium) 8/13: 13-33-5-147, 3 TD (9, 16, 20); Rush 14-3. ¥6.6
vs. Kalani 8/27: 15-23-1-160, TD (5); Rush 12-44. ¥9.2
vs. Kalaheo 9/10: 10-17-2-207, 2 TD (6, 27); Rush 16-66, TD (1). ¥27.4
@ Roosevelt 9/16: 9-14-0-118, TD (20); Rush 12-76, TD (11). ¥24.6
vs. Waipahu 9/23:
@ McKinley (Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium) 10/8:
vs. Pearl City 10/14:
To date: ¥$67.8 total / ¥$17.0 pg

Nanakuli's Nainoa Banks rushed for 79 yards on 20 carries and caught a touchdown pass while also playing defense against Aiea. Nanakuli coach Keala Watson would like to decrease his workload  to keep him fresher. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Nanakuli’s Nainoa Banks rushed for 79 yards on 20 carries and caught a touchdown pass while also playing defense against Aiea. Nanakuli coach Keala Watson would like to decrease his workload to keep him fresher. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Nainoa Banks, Nanakuli
Measurables: 5-11, 175, Sr.
Crunch this: 6 games — 32-79-5-495, 7 TD; Rush 62-168, 1 TD
Completion rate: .405
Yards per attempt: 6.3
Passer rating: 109.72

The skinny: (Sept 23) The cupboard isn’t exactly bare, but the across-the-board talent that graduated from Nanakuli in the past two years was substantial. Banks has been Mr. Reliable in spite of inexperience on the offensive unit. A big part of his game now is tucking the ball and racing to the first-down marker. He’s made the best of the situation with the Golden Hawks mercilessly “promoted” to Division I.

X factor: (Sept 23) A win over Castle tonight would give Nanakuli a shot to make the playoffs. That would be quite a reward in what has been a tough season. Banks is the right man for the job.

W-L: 0-6 (0-5 OIA Red)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. Waipahu 8/5: 7-11-0-107, 2 TD (27, 14); Rush 10-46. ¥21.4
vs. Aiea 8/12: 4-15-2-27, TD (2); Rush 20-79, TD (3). ¥13.2
vs. Leilehua 8/27: 5-11-0-87, TD (30); Rush 16-6. ¥9.4
vs. Kailua 9/2: 6-20-2-152, 2 TD (15, 79); Rush 10-39. ¥13.9
@ Farrington (Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium) 9/17: 7-11-0-109, 2 TD (54, 76); Rush 2-5. ¥17.3
@ Castle 9/23:
@ Kapolei 9/30:
To date: ¥$75.2 total / ¥$12.5 pg

2015 September 11 SPT - HSA PHOTO BY BRUCE ASATO  - Punahou’s Miki Suguturaga rushes Iolani’s quarterback Tai-John Mizutani and deflects a pass in the third quarter of the Punahou vs Iolani football game at Iolani's Eddie Hamada Track and Field, Friday, September 11, 2015.
2015 September 11 SPT – HSA PHOTO BY BRUCE ASATO – Punahou’s Miki Suguturaga rushes Iolani’s quarterback Tai-John Mizutani and deflects a pass in the third quarter of the Punahou vs Iolani football game at Iolani’s Eddie Hamada Track and Field, Friday, September 11, 2015.

Tai-John Mizutani, ‘Iolani
Measurables:
6-2, 180, Jr.
Crunch this: 6 games — 100-199-4-1,266, 9 TD; Rush 18-28
Completion rate: .503
Yards per attempt: 6.3
Passer rating: 114.59

The skinny: (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.

W-L: 3-3 (0-3 ILH)
Top 10 wins: La Jolla Country Day (Calif.)*
Top 10 losses: Saint Louis
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. Radford (Aiea HS field) 8/6: 17-23-0-240, 3 TD (12, 24, 12); Rush 2-(-4). ¥30.4
vs. Waimea 8/20: 13-24-1-236. TD (55); Rush 1-(-3). ¥13.2
vs. La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) 8/27: 16-33-0-217, 2 TD (24, 8); Rush 3-(-1). ¥20.7
vs. #2 Saint Louis (Aloha) 9/2: 19-43-1-141, 0 TD; Rush 1-(-1). ¥-0.7 + $5.0 = ¥$4.3
@ #5 Kamehameha 9/10: 18-38-1-192, 2 TD (2, 3); Rush 7-33. ¥18.8 + $5.0 = ¥$23.8
vs. #3 Punahou 9/17: 16-37-1-239, TD (73); Rush 1-3. ¥11.1 + $5.0 = ¥$17.1
vs. #2 Saint Louis 9/23:
vs. Kamehameha (Aloha) 9/30:
@ Punahou 10/7:
To date: ¥$109.5 total / ¥$18.3 pg

2015 November 4 SPT - HSA Photo by Jamm Aquino.   Damien quarterback Marcus Faufata-Pedrina throws during afternoon football practice on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at Damien Memorial High School in Honolulu.
2015 November 4 SPT – HSA Photo by Jamm Aquino.
Damien quarterback Marcus Faufata-Pedrina throws during afternoon football practice on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at Damien Memorial High School in Honolulu.

Marcus Faufata-Pedrina, Damien
Measurables:
5-8, 185, Jr.
Crunch this: 5 games — 57-108-4-768, 15 TD; Rush 65-365, 4 TD
Completion rate: .528
Yards per attempt: 7.11
Passer rating: 150.94

The skinny: (Sept 23) MFP keeps rolling along. His passing stats alone are good, not quite great — even though that 15-touchdowns-in-108-attempts ratio is ridiculously rare. It’s his running ability combined with the passing efficiency — just four picks — that makes him a formidable dual-threat weapon.

(Sept 7) Year 2 of MFP at QB is turning into quite a spectacle. It’s also becoming a number-cruncher eye popper of rare quality. And it’s not like Damien has played a string of Division II contemporaries. After four games against three D-I foes (Moanalua, Maui, Kealakehe) and a strong D-II foe (St. Francis), MFP has developed into a force on ground and in air. In addition to the sterling numbers as a passer, he has rushed for 314 yards and four TDs, averaging 6 yards per carry. That’s 961 total yards from scrimmage: 240.3 per game. His 52 rushing attempts leads all QBs statewide. The results that matter most to all QBs: Damien is 3-1, including three wins in a row.

X factor: (Sept 23) It’s rare enough these days to see a QB with the green light to run the ball, but when it happens, it’s more likely in D-II. Is there a D-II defense statewide that can truly shut MFP down? He takes a beating, but keeps on ticking…

(Sept 7) The Monarchs systematically rely on MFP, not a surprise for a smaller school and program. At some point, the weekly pounding could take a toll. At some point, defenses in ILH D-II will go all-in against MFP and test the clutchability* of his teammates. Until then, MFP has the benefit of a short schedule — only three regular-season games remain — to heal up from all the hits he takes. Otherwise, a 240-yards-per-game effort over a 13-game season — the norm for an OIA D-I team that reaches the state final — would produce incredible totals.

W-L: 4-1 (2-0 ILH D-II)
Top 10 wins: None.
Top 10 losses: None.
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
@ Moanalua 8/5: TD (42), 2-pt pass; Rush 2 TD (1, 10). ¥
@ Maui (War Memorial) 8/12:
vs. Kealakehe (Aiea HS field) 8/20:
vs. St. Francis (Aloha) 9/2: 6-14-0-73, TD (17); Rush 15-22, TD (1). ¥15.7
vs. Pac-Five (Aloha) 9/9: 11-19-1-121, 5 TD (5, 10, 7, 36, 7); Rush 13-51. ¥36.9
vs. St. Francis (Aloha) 9/23:
vs. Pac-Five (Aloha) 9/30:
To date: ¥$ total / ¥$ pg

Kaimuki sophomore Jordan Solomon took over the OIA D-II lead in passing yards. Photo by Kaylee Noborikawa/Star-Advertiser.
Kaimuki sophomore Jordan Solomon took over the OIA D-II lead in passing yards. Photo by Kaylee Noborikawa/Star-Advertiser.

Jordan Solomon, Kaimuki
Measurables:
So.
Crunch this: 5 games — 83-175-10-1,105, 13 TD; Rush 33-24, 0 TD
Completion rate: .474
Yards per attempt: 6.3
Passer rating: 113.55

The skinny: (Sept 23) The best thing about Solomon’s development, aside from his poise, is that he’s only a sophomore. Is he ready to spark a run into the playoffs? The midseason exhibition loss to Faith Lutheran, a Top 20 team from Nevada, could serve as a crucial pivot point for the Bulldogs and their QB.

(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) One of Solomon’s most effective targets is Daniel Nguyen, who starts at CB and also plays on offense. That’s a lot to ask for, but many of the Bulldogs play both sides of the ball.

(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.

W-L: 3-2 (3-1 OIA D-II)
Top 10 wins: None.
Top 10 losses: Faith Lutheran (Nev.)*
vs. Waialua* 8/13: 27-55-4-331, 3 TD (9, 14, 15), 2-pt pass; Rush 9-(-22). ¥20.6
vs. Kalani* 8/20: 11-30-2-172, 2 TD; Rush 10-53. ¥15.3
vs. Roosevelt* 8/27: 9-19-0-106, 2 TD (15, 24); Rush 5-16. ¥17.4
vs, Faith Lutheran (Nev) (Aloha) 9/4: 15-35-2-238, 2 TD (12, 23); Rush 6-17. ¥15.5 + $5.0 = ¥$21.5
vs. Kalaheo (Kailua HS) 9/17: 21-36-2-258, 4 TD (4, 19, 20, 21), 2-pt pass; Rush 3-18. ¥34.3
vs. McKinley* 9/23:
@ Waipahu (Mililani HS) 10/1:
@ Pearl City 10/7:
*Kaiser Stadium
To date: ¥$109.1 total / ¥$21.8 pg

Kamehameha quarterback Boogie Yam threw a swing pass to Kanoa Shannon during the Warriors' 50-20 win over ‘Iolani at Kunuiakea Stadium on Saturday night. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Kamehameha quarterback Boogie Yam threw a swing pass to Kanoa Shannon during the Warriors’ 50-20 win over ‘Iolani at Kunuiakea Stadium on Saturday night. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Thomas Yam, Kamehameha
Measurables:
6-1, 185, Jr.
Crunch this: 5 games — 46-89-3-678, 4 TD; Rush 20-42, 3 TD
Completion rate: .517
Yards per attempt: 7.6
Passer rating: 123.77

The skinny: (Sept 23) The return of two lethal weapons — RB Kanoa Shannon and WR Jaykob Cabunoc — in recent weeks bolsters the offense and gives Yam two more sure-handed targets.

(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) The Warriors moved the ball on Saint Louis last week between the 20s and failed to score a touchdown. But the pieces are starting to fit.

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

W-L: 2-3 (1-2 ILH)
Top 10 wins: Baldwin, ‘Iolani
Top 10 losses: Punahou, Saint Louis
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. #4 Waianae 8/5: 10-20-1-143, 0 TD; Rush 7-17. ¥3.7 + $5.0 = ¥$8.7
@ Baldwin (War Memorial) 8/13: 2-5-0-58, 2 TD; Rush 2-0. ¥13.8 + $5.0 = ¥$18.8
vs. #2 Punahou (Aloha) 9/1: 8-16-0-79, 0 TD; Rush 4-10, TD (5). ¥10.0 + $5.0 = ¥$15.0
vs. #10 ‘Iolani 9/10: 12-19-0-227, 2 TD (14, 38); Rush 3-30, 2 TD (13, 13). ¥37.3 + $5.0 = ¥$42.3
vs. #2 Saint Louis (Aloha) 9/17: 14-29-2-171, 0 TD; Rush 4-(-15). ¥-1.8 + $5.0 = ¥$-3.25
vs. #3 Punahou (Aloha) 9/23:
vs. ‘Iolani (Aloha) 9/30:
vs. Saint Louis (Aloha) 10/7:
To date: ¥$81.6 total / ¥$16.3 pg

Justice Young, Kamehameha
Measurables:
5-9, 160, Sr.
Crunch this: 4 games — 10-23-1-184, 1 TD; Rush 7-3, 1 TD
Completion rate: .435
Yards per attempt: 8.0
Passer rating: 116.33

The skinny: (Sept 23) Young has been relegated to a backup role, biding his time. Every season there are some talented backups across the state. Young would certainly be among the top three or four.

(Sept 7) Kahuku’s 2015 team showed that championships can still be won without a semblance of a passing game. In a high-volume passing offense, Young and Yam would probably average 200-250 yards per game. The Warriors have time to figure this out; all four ILH D-I teams will have a shot in the playoffs regardless of regular-season results. The pieces are there to establish what they’re after.

X factor: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) The one benefit the OIA has over the ILH, at least in Division I, is that there are weekends when your team won’t face a Top 10 foe. You might be able to work on some things thanks to a two- or three-touchdown lead or deficit. That same approach could be taken in the brutal ILH, but the glut and gauntlet of playing Top 10 teams every week creates a pressure that is unknown to all other leagues. If something isn’t working, ILH D-I teams find out immediately. There is no better evidence than hard evidence.

Moanalua's Alakai Yuen leads the OIA Blue with 1,414 passing yards and 21 passing TDs. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.
Moanalua’s Alakai Yuen leads the OIA Blue with 1,414 passing yards and 21 passing TDs. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Alaka‘i Yuen, Moanalua
Measurables:
Sr.
Crunch this: 106-181-11-1,414, 21 TD; Rush 48-106, 1 TD
Completion rate: .586
Yards per attempt: 7.8
Passer rating: 150.32


The skinny: (Sept 23) When teams are basically passing the ball on more than 75 percent of their snaps, it’s almost better just to go with an empty backfield. The problem, though, is that it’s too easy to call QB draws, and the risk of injury spikes. Yuen will do whatever it takes, with or without a running game. In some ways, he is the running game, 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 in 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 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.

W-L: 3-3 (2-3 OIA Blue)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: Waianae
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. Damien 8/5: 17-27-3-364, 6 TD; Rush 8-38. ¥46.6
@ Kailua 8/13: 8-14-0-110, 2 TD (16, 1); Rush 5-(-9). ¥15.6
@ #4 Waianae 8/19: 26-51-2-218, 3 TD (3, 4, 25); Rush 10-23, TD (3). ¥29.6 + $5.0 = ¥$34.6
@ Radford 9/2: 18-27-1-299, 5 TD (21, 10, 71, 5, 10), 2-pt pass; Rush 10-82. ¥51.5
vs. Kaiser 9/9: 19-29-1-284, 4 TD (15, 74, 44, 13); Rush 6-1. ¥35.4
@ Campbell 9/16: 18-33-4-139, 1 TD (12); Rush 9-(-29). ¥ -3.2
vs. Kahuku 9/24:
vs. Aiea 9/30:
To date: ¥$180.5 total / ¥$30.1 pg

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: 6 games — 44-78-2-546, 6 TD; Rush 17-40
Completion rate: .564
Yards per attempt: 7.0
Passer rating: 135.47

The skinny: (Sept 23) Some marked improvement statistically in the past two games for Uahinui. Tonight’s battle at Kapolei will is Farrington’s first Top 10 foe since Mililani four weeks ago.

(Sept 7) 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: (Sept 7) 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: 5-1 (4-1)
Top 10 wins: Kailua
Top 10 losses: Mililani
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. Campbell 8/13: 6-11-0-106, 2 TD (5, 60); Rush 2-(-7). ¥15.6
vs. Kailua 8/20: 3-6-0-69, TD (46); Rush 2-(-9). ¥5.1
@ #4 Mililani 8/27: 6-12-0-26, 0 TD; Rush 2-(-9). ¥0.1 + $5.0 = ¥$5.1
vs. Leilehua 9/5: 8-19-1-54, 0 TD; Rush 6-49. ¥3.2
@ Castle 9/10: 14-20-0-141, 1 TD (46), 2-pt pass; Rush 4-1. ¥15.1
vs. Nanakuli 9/17: 7-10-1-150, 2 TD (47, 5); Rush 1-15. ¥17.5
@ #5 Kapolei 9/24:
* home games at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
To date: ¥$61.6 total / ¥$10.3 pg

Bishop Rapoza
Measurables: 5-11, 161, Sr.
Crunch this: 4 games — 32-54-0-510, 7 TD; Rush 8-10, TD
Completion rate: .593
Yards per attempt: 9.4
Passer rating: 181.37

The skinny: (Sept 7) 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: (Sept 7) If Rapoza is injured, the Govs have the luxury of easing him back while Uahinui runs the offense.

2016 September 9 SPT - HSA Photo by Jamm Aquino. Punahou quarterback Nick Kapule (14) looks to pass while under pressure from Saint Louis linebacker Isaiah Feary (9) during the first half of an ILH football game between the Punahou Buffanblu and the Saint Louis Crusaders on Friday, September 9, 2016 at Aloha Stadium in Halawa.
2016 September 9 SPT – HSA Photo by Jamm Aquino.
Punahou quarterback Nick Kapule (14) looks to pass while under pressure from Saint Louis linebacker Isaiah Feary (9) during the first half of an ILH football game between the Punahou Buffanblu and the Saint Louis Crusaders on Friday, September 9, 2016 at Aloha Stadium in Halawa.

Nick Kapule, Punahou
Measurables: 6-2, 190, Sr.
Crunch this: 71-120-2-1,267, 17 TD
Completion rate: .592
Yards per attempt: 10.6
Passer rating: 191.27

The skinny: (Sept 23) Kapule continues to play at an elite level. His completion rate has dipped recently, but the level of competition in the ILH will do that to all QBs. His vision and command remain impressive.

(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 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.

W-L: 3-1 (2-1)
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha, ‘Iolani
Top 10 losses: Saint Louis
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
@ Leilehua 8/5: 5-5-0-137, 3 TD (12, 21, 13); Rush 1-8. ¥25.1
vs. #6 Kamehameha* 9/1: 17-31-0-348, 5 TD (30, 4, 8, 44, 7); Rush 1-(-11). ¥45.7 + $5.0 = ¥$50.7
vs. #2 Saint Louis* 9/9: 30-59-1-495, 5 TD (19, 59, 10, 19, 39), 2-pt pass; Rush 5-3. ¥54.6 + $5.0 = ¥$59.6
@ #10 ‘Iolani 9/17: 19-25-1-287, 4 TD (42, 18, 15, 60), 2-pt pass; Rush 7-42. ¥42.5 + $5.0 = ¥$47.5
vs. Kamehameha* 9/23:
vs. Saint Louis* 9/29:
vs. ‘Iolani 10/7:
* Aloha Stadium
To date: ¥$182.9 total / ¥$45.8 pg

Stephen Barber, Punahou
Measurables: 6-3, 215, Jr.
Crunch this: 3 games — 21-37-1-383, 5 TD; Rush 12-36, TD
Completion rate: .568
Yards per attempt: 10.4
Passer rating: 182.90

The skinny: (Sept 23) Can’t help thinking this kid wants to play. Bad. He’s good enough; UH offered him a scholarship during his junior year. But Kapule is playing lights out. It’s a 1a and 1b situation, for now, at least. It’s one heck of a scenario. Are these two the best pair of QBs to ever play at the same time at one Hawaii high school? Possibly. I’m sure someone can suggest another duo.

(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 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.

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: 5 games — 72-133-6-892, 9 TD; Rush 21-44, 3 TD
Completion rate: .541
Yards per attempt: 6.7
Passer rating: 123.78

The skinny: (Sept 23) 4-1 in league play with a sophomore QB? His numbers are solid, but they don’t quite measure the maturation and growth he has made as a decision maker.

(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 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.

W-L: 4-1 (4-1)
Top 10 wins: Farrington
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. Saint Louis 8/6: cancelled-lights malfunction
vs. Kaiser 8/13: 10-12-0-127, 3 TD (32, 11, 3); Rush 3-(-10), TD (5). ¥30.0
vs. Castle 8/20: 14-21-0-209, TD; Rush 4-6. ¥15.6
vs. #7 Farrington 8/27: 17-32-3-237, TD (11); Rush 5-40, 2 TD (3, 27). ¥23.5 + $5.0 = ¥$28.5
vs. #8 Kapolei 9/5: 12-25-3-110, 0 TD; Rush 2-(-7). ¥ -6.0 + $5.0 = ¥$1.0
@ Nanakuli 9/9: 19-43-0-209, 3 TD (24, 45, 15); Rush 7-15. ¥40.8
@ Kailua 9/23:
@ Leilehua 9/30:
To date: ¥$115.9 total / ¥$23.2 pg

Pac-Five quarterback Ryan Johnson is the top passer in ILH Division II. Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser.
Pac-Five quarterback Ryan Johnson is the top passer in ILH Division II. Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser.

Ryan Johnson, Pac-Five
Measurables: 6-2, 155, Sr.
Crunch this: 58-103-2-867, 13 TD
Completion rate: .563
Yards per attempt: 8.4
Passer rating: 164.78
(Note: Stats for KS-Maui game not available.)

The skinny: (Sept 23) Inconsistency has been the bane of the Wolfpack offense, which otherwise seems fine with outputs of 49, 26, 27 and 27 points so far. Johnson misses QB-turned-WR Kainoa Ferreira, who looked so promising in preseason as a reliable pass catcher deep and shallow. Ferreira suffered an injury during practice a few weeks ago, a freak accident, coach Kip Botelho said, and his shoulder won’t be healed until, hopefully, he said, the playoffs.

(Sept 7) 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: (Sept 7) 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: 2-2 (0-2 ILH D-II)
Top 10 wins: None
Top 10 losses: None
Game by game / Passcode (statistical values):
vs. McKinley (Aiea HS) 8/6: 19-30-0-341, 6 TD (16, 6, 55, 15, 36, 26); Rush 1-(-1). ¥53.9
@ Kamehameha-Maui 8/12: N/A
vs. Damien (Aloha) 9/9: 23-41-0-352, 3 TD (13, 49, 58), 2-pt pass; Rush 5-(-15), TD (1). ¥42.8
vs. St. Francis (Aloha) 9/16: 16-32-2-183, 4 TD (21, 22, 45, 7); Rush 1-(-9). ¥24.1
vs. Damien (Aloha) 9/30:
vs. St. Francis (Aloha) 10/7:
To date: ¥$120.8 total / ¥$40.3 pg

2016 August  26 SPT- HSA PHOTO BY BRUCE ASATO  -  KahukuÕs Sol-Jay Maiava eyes a receiver in the first quarter against Waianae vs Kahuku football game at Kahuku, Friday, August 26, 2016.
2016 August 26 SPT- HSA PHOTO BY BRUCE ASATO – KahukuÕs Sol-Jay Maiava eyes a receiver in the first quarter against Waianae vs Kahuku football game at Kahuku, Friday, August 26, 2016.

Sol-Jay Maiava, Kahuku
Measurables: 6-1, 160, Fr.
Crunch this: 6 games — 26-61-1-327, 3 TD; Rush 15-54, TD
Completion rate: .426
Yards per attempt: 5.4
Passer rating: 100.60

The skinny: (Sept 23) The simplest solution to creating a balanced offense is to put the reps and work and routes and timing together in the offseason. Before, during and after pass league. If that doesn’t happen, so be it. Sol-Jay Maiava is in a very unique situation. On one hand, he is at the wheel of the offense for the state defending champion, the No. 1 team in Hawaii. On the other hand, he is just a freshman, and one of the very few to start in OIA Division I history. (The ILH does not permit freshmen to play varsity football.) There is wisdom in bringing the talented slinger along patiently. The balance between trusting the foundation of Kahuku football — ground-and-pound offense, rock-solid defense — and building a balanced offense for the future is a work in progress. Who will be patient enough to stick it through?

(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) I’d be surprised if Maiava hasn’t already heard from mainland schools interested in importing him to their programs. That’s the nature of many coaches on the continent in an era of multi-million dollar high school stadiums and (almost) year-round combines and showcase camps. Thing is, there are these three young men from another public school who played skill positions, graduated this past June, and signed with Division I universities without having to move away. McKenzie Milton, who started at QB for UCF last weekend; RB Vavae Malepeai, who went to USC; WR Kalakaua Timoteo, who is part of the rebuilding force at UH.

(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.

Jaren Ulu gets set to pass the ball against Kamehameha in a nonconference game at Raymond Torii Field.  Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Jaren Ulu gets set to pass the ball against Kamehameha in a nonconference game at Raymond Torii Field.
Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Jaren Ulu, Waianae
Measurables: 6-0, 180, Sr.
Crunch this: 7 games — 57-99-4-864, 11 TD; Rush 29-76, 3 TD
Completion rate: .576
Yards per attempt: 8.7
Passer rating: 159.47

The skinny: (Sept 23) Ulu has all the intangibles, all the physical tools. He would’ve been a 2,000-yard passer in a different system. None of it would’ve made sense, though. Waianae football is a different culture in itself, a place where the end game isn’t about statistics and championships, but about the way the game is played. Even the mentality about their team goes beyond the typical high school program. In all the years I’ve covered preps, there’s never been a Searider who talked about himself before the team, never been a single one boasting about anything past, present or future. It’s almost… Bellicheckian.

(Sept 7) 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: (Sept 7) 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: 6-1 (5-1)
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha, Kapolei
Top 10 losses: Kahuku

Seth Tina-Sobarano, Kalani
Measurables: 5-10, 150, Jr.
Crunch this: 4 games — 47-94-2-853, 5 TD; Rush 43-63, 5 TD
Completion rate: .500
Yards per attempt: 9.1
Passer rating: 139.52

The skinny: (Sept 23) No team has played as few games as the Falcons at this point, and they even have a bye this weekend before playing Kalaheo, Waipahu and McKinley to close out the OIA D-II regular season. Tina-Sobarano has accounted for 10 TDs in those four games. His team has scored 13 TDs total.

(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-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: (Sept 7) 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.

Kona Andres, Leilehua
Measurables:: 5-11, 180, Jr.
Crunch this:: 7 games — 95-168-11-1,067, 9 TD; Rush 22-26, 2 TD
Completion rate:: .565
Yards per attempt:: 6.4
Passer rating:: 114.48

The skinny: (Sept 23) Since facing Punahou, Kahuku and Kapolei to open the season — the toughest early schedule in the state — the Mules have found their footing with convincing wins over Nanakuli, Kailua and Castle. Even the loss to Farrington was a tight battle. Andres has settled in, as well, making better decisions with the ball.

(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 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.
W-L:: 3-4 (3-3)
Top 10 wins:: None
Top 10 losses:: Punahou, Kahuku, Kapolei, Farrington

Mark Lagazo, Kailua
Measurables:: 5-8, 160, Sr.
Crunch this:: 5 games — 25-51-2-329, 3 TD; Rush 89-332, 7 TD
Completion rate:: .490
Yards per attempt:: 6.3
Passer rating:: 114.78

The skinny: (Sept 23) Of everyone who has started at QB this season, few, if any, have endured the way Lagazo has. No word yet if Keoni Serikawa will return before the end of the season from his injury, but if he does, Lagazo can move back to RB and have some freedom again. For now, he and the offensive line have held down the fort the best they could and it is something to behold.

(Sept 7) 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 X factor:

(Sept 7) 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: (Sept 7) 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.

Mark Lerhner, Kalaheo
Measurables:: 5-10, 190, Sr.
Crunch this:: 6 games — 51-111-10-770, 11 TD; Rush 57-137, 2 TD
Completion rate: .459
Yards per attempt:: 6.9
Passer rating:: 118.90

The skinny: (Sept 23) Two games left for the gritty squad from Oneawa Hills. Lerhner’s numbers have improved despite facing two title contenders in Waialua and Kaimuki.

(Sept 7) 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: (Sept 23)

(Sept 7) 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.

Braden Amorozo, Waipahu
Measurables:: 5-10, 175, Jr.
Crunch this:: 5 games — 80-135-4-1,251, 9 TD; Rush 30-44, 3 TD
Completion rate:: .593
Yards per attempt:: 9.3
Passer rating:: 153.17

The skinny: (Sept 23) Amorozo faced Pearl City a few days after I posted the first Nerdpod on QBs. He did not have a good night. It’s OK, though. The Marauders are 3-1 in league play and control their own fate with three regular-season games left and playoff berths at stake. The good news is that neither Amorozo or his teammates have peaked yet.

(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 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.

W-L:: 4-1 (3-1)
Top 10 wins:: None
Top 10 losses:: None

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