There was a noticeable calm about No. 2 Punahou’s Hugh Brady as he took the field against Kailua on Saturday night.
Year 2 as a starter is bound to be much different for Brady, who will play his college ball at Pennsylvania after committing over the summer.
His senior season is off to an auspicious start. In a 40-0 win over the Surfriders, he completed 14 of his 25 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns, including a 90-yard touchdown to Rayden Kiaaina-Caires and an 82-yard score to Moku Dancil-Evans.
“We have a lot of heart and grit and determination to win. It was great to see that,” Brady said. “There were a few times where we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties or just mental errors. We didn’t let that affect us in the next series which was really nice to see. Our defense had a nice night, too, held them scoreless.”
Despite the gaudy yardage on two of his scores, the Punahou offense barely went deep and Brady didn’t force a throw all night. Both Kiaaina-Caires and Dancil-Evans gained separation on short passes.
“It definitely puts a big weight off my shoulders,” Brady said. “I can throw it short and my receivers can turn it into a bigger gain. Especially like a team against Kailua that was bringing the heat, it was nice to have guys that could get open quick and make my life easier.
“I wanna shout-out my O-line, of course, for keeping me clean. I think I only got sacked once which was actually my fault on that play.”
Brady found running back Vincent Terrell for a 20-yard score with 1:10 left in the second quarter, giving Punahou a 33-0 lead before halftime. Terrell also returned the opening kick 95 yards for a touchdown, the game’s only score that didn’t involve Brady.
When it comes to his backfield mate and fellow senior, Terrell knows the team is in good hands with Brady under center.
“Oh, very confident,” Terrell said of his belief in Brady. “We know senior year, he’s improved a lot. I trust him wholeheartedly with whatever he does, I’m right there with him. We’re gonna protect him and go for it.”
Despite Penn being his only non-FBS offer, Brady couldn’t turn down the opportunities that an Ivy League school presents.
“I think what stood out about them was that they have great academics and great athletics at the same time,” he said. “The Ivy League does send many players to the NFL each year which does mean they have elite athletics. At the same time, if that doesn’t work out, then you’ll always have a Penn degree which is amazing to have. Also the coaches, that was a big plus for me.”
Besides a trip to traditional California power Long Beach Poly on Aug. 31, the Buffanblu will now face Open Division teams exclusively for the remainder of the season.
The ILH only allows one team into the HHSAA Open Division tournament. The Buffanblu couldn’t get past Saint Louis for that spot in 2018, and will have to contend with the nationally-ranked Crusaders again at least once this season.
If this past year is any indication, Brady is up for the challenge.
“Of course, the main goal is to win a state championship, bring that trophy home and just be the best quarterback I can be, have a great year with my teammates and enjoy every moment of it because it’s my last year, so just ball out,” he said.