Kawai Phifer went out with a bang.
The Leilehua senior, listed as an athlete on the team roster, hauled in a school-record 233 receiving yards in a 51-35 loss to Mililani on Friday in the Division I semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships.
The previous record was held by Darrien Shealy, who had 217 receving yards in 2010, also against Mililani.
“The coaches always taught us to push through and fight until the end,” Phifer said.
Despite being down as much as 41-14 and 48-21, the Mules didn’t give up and closed the gap multiple times.
“I’m just so proud of these guys. Hats off to Mililani. They’re such a good team. They’re an open division team that fell one game short,” Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. “For our guys to fight all the way through and not even look at the scoreboard … Just so proud of the staff we put together and how they got the guys to play.”
Phifer was a big part of the comeback effort. Among his seven receptions was a 78-yard touchdown pass from Kaleo Aloha Piceno.
“Kawai was a playmaker for us last year,” Tokuda said. “Coming into this season, it was no surprise for us that he was going to do some good things.”
Phifer finishes his senior season with 59 receptions for 993 yards, which currently ranks fourth in the state, and nine touchdowns.