ON THIS DATE IN 1988: Iolani’s John Stephens succeeds after switch

On this date in 1988, Iolani coach Eddie Hamada prioritized offense over defense and both units benefitted.

Hamada gave John Stephens his first start at quarterback and Iolani shocked Kamehameha 24-0. Stephens started at linebacker through the Raiders’ 0-5 start to the ILH season and sprinkled in some action at quarterback in relief of Kaala Shea.

He passed for a touchdown and ran for another in his first start, lofting a 25-yard pass to Michael Pila for a touchdown on Iolani’s second possession.

Stephens, a senior, was the starting quarterback the previous two years and led the ILH in total offense as a junior. He preferred playing defense, though, and was a leader no matter where he lined up. Stephens went on to be a standout quarterback at Oregon Tech.

“The kids listen to him because they know he can play,” equipment manager Haru Kuroda said.

The switch to quarterback only worked for one game, as Iolani was blitzed 42-12 by Damien and 49-17 by Saint Louis before Shea reclaimed his place under center.


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