Wesley Alo-Maiava had a spectacular first play Friday.
The Kahuku running back took it to the house — an 80-yard run — on the first play of the Red Raiders’ scrimmage against Waipahu.
After finding the end zone, he immediately lifted his hands toward the Waipahu bench and gave a wave.
“That was to all the Waipahu kids,” Alo-Maiava said. “Let them know we’re here.”
It was not a show of cockiness as much as it was a release of energy after the brilliant run.
“I had all the emotions going through me, being with my teammates and brothers,” he added. “I wanted to get one for them.”
When asked about what Kahuku has in mind this year, after making the top-tier state championship game and coming up short two years in a row, Alo-Maiava said, “I don’t want to say too much. But (pause) I think we’ve got what it takes to go all the way this year.”
Both sides had their moments in the scrimmage. Interestingly, Kahuku was pass happy.
First-year head coach Sterling Carvalho said that doesn’t mean Kahuku will do the same thing all year.
“We’re working on all aspects of our game,” he said. “We took this opportunity to see what we could do throwing the ball around sideline to sideline. It’s a long season, so every week we’re going to scheme according to plan.”
Carvalho was having almost as much fun as his players.
“We just finished our grueling camp,” he said, “so it was good to have our kids in high spirits. We did a team bonding activity and we’re all coming together.”
Two Red Raiders quarterbacks — Robbie Sauvao and Thorton Alapa — got most of the snaps and got a chance to sling it. Alapa had a few long runs, and Carvalho was sure to remind both of them to get out of bounds on runs whenever possible.
Kahuku receiver Ikaika Wells went up to steal a long pass out of a defensive back’s hands and he also caught a TD pass. Teammate Kamuela Miller, a big target, had two TD catches.
Some big plays were turned in by the Waipahu kids, too. Matt Fiesta had a diving TD catch of a Cody Marques pass. Titus Suan and Shayden Marienthal came up with interceptions, and Zeondre Benjamin was a force at safety.
“We scheduled scrimmages (Kapolei on Thursday and Kahuku on Friday) to see where we can measure up against the Open Division,” Waipahu coach Bryson Carvalho (no relation to Sterling) said. “I reminded our players that Kahuku lost to one team in the last two years. What I wanted to see was them compete, stick to their assignments and execute plays. It will build character. If we are down by a TD at the end of the season, I want to see players saying, ‘Look coach, we’re still in this game.’ ”
The Marauders are playing in Division I this year, up from D-II. Carvalho thought it was a nice experience for junior Alfred Failauga (one of the top running backs in the state the last two years) to go against Kahuku’s potent Open Division defense.
“It was a great opportunity for us to learn against a top team in the state,” Failauga said. “I wouldn’t say we did good or bad. It’s just another practice for us to get better. It will help us get through the season and see what’s coming for us in a new division.”
The Marauders host Damien (a D-I team) for a scrimmage Saturday.
Kahuku scrimmaged Farrington on Thursday and does not scrimmage Saturday.
Both the Red Raiders and Marauders are preparing for their upcoming season openers. Waipahu hosts Open Division opponent Waianae in a nonleague game Aug. 4.
Kahuku’s season opener is also at home Aug. 4 against Konawaena, the team that knocked Waipahu out of the Division II state tournament, 53-50, last year.