'Iolani coach Wendell Look instructed his team in a practice. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Dom Ahuna won’t call plays from the ‘Iolani sideline, but his coaching efforts could be a key to the Raiders’ season.

Ahuna oversees the Raiders’ strength and conditioning program, which figures to prove vital in maximizing a shallow depth chart.

“Coach Dom does a great job with us in the weight room and conditioning wise. It’s tough but it’s going to be worth it,” senior quarterback Tai-John Mizutani said.

Mizutani said much of the emphasis of the training program is on injury prevention which takes on added significance with a 36-player roster and a sizable percentage slated to contribute on both sides of the ball, particularly on the line of scrimmage.

“We have to focus more on perfection and just because our numbers are so small we just can’t get hurt,” said senior defensive lineman Jake Angelo. “That’s a big thing for us. We don’t have as may backups, we have 10 less players than last year and last year was still kind of rough.”

‘Iolani annually relied on quickness and precision to offset smaller numbers and voters ranked the Raiders 10th in the Star-Advertiser’s preseason poll. Wendell Look said that emphasis is “times a hundred because of the numbers situation” as he enters his 27th season as head coach.

Mizutani returns for his third year as a starter with an experienced receiver unit headlined by senior Justin Genovia, a second-team All-State selection last year. Junior defensive backs Kaua Nishigaya and Kyler Mento are among the most experienced members of the defense after breaking into the lineup as sophomores.

While the Raiders may be short on numbers — in depth and stature — those who committed to the preparing for the season have already earned the admiration of the veteran coach.

“I give these kids so much credit and respect these guys so much,” Look said.

For ‘Iolani’s complete season preview in today’s newspaper, click here.

2017 ‘Iolani Home
‘Iolani all-time scores and statistics


  1. Mahatma Gandhi July 25, 2017 1:33 am

    Iolani is ranked 10th in the state, but will be playing in the lowest division? No make sense. Iolani was the school always mentioned for the need to create a middle tier: not good enough to hang with Kahuku or St Louis, but too good for Waialua and Kalani. I seen them destroy Waianae in the 1980 Prep Bowl.

  2. HS Football Fan July 25, 2017 1:41 am

    I doubt that this team will be better than the 1993 Iolani team, which was much better than the 1980 squad. The 1993 team tied St. Louis, Punahou, and Kamehameha for first and had the best scoring margin in the ILH (with double-digit wins over Punahou and Kamehameha). Which begs the question–did Coach Look think THAT team was too small and weak to play the three teams it tied for FIRST?

  3. OIA July 25, 2017 7:51 am

    Wait,They rated the #10 best in the State? Yet they opt for the 3rd tier championship? No wonder the OIA has been rejecting HHSAA format. Most likely their opponent in the championship will not be in the top 20. Anyway, good luck to ALL players and stay safe.

  4. Kode July 25, 2017 9:18 am

    @Mahatma Gandhi
    The 1980 Prep Bowl was a Tie
    Waianae: 7
    Iolani: 7

  5. anywaaaays!! July 25, 2017 1:11 pm

    These schools like Iolani and Kaiser are wasting every bodys time and they are playing the victim. They should start their own flag football league where there is no emphasis on needing big linemen. Let the few linemen that they do have gravitate to neighboring schools that want to play real football.

  6. Education First July 25, 2017 1:16 pm

    Sandbagger Red Raiders ranked 10th in State? LOL, unless Damien and St Francis are ranked ahead of them in this poll (SPOILER ALERT – they WON’T be) Iolani has no business in Tier 3. Damien and StF are tier 2.

  7. Education First July 25, 2017 2:33 pm

    Kode July 25, 2017 9:18 am
    @Mahatma Gandhi
    The 1980 Prep Bowl was a Tie
    Waianae: 7
    Iolani: 7
    @ Kode, Mahatma has no credibility.

    And look, my wanna be is back again. Hi wannabe! Let me guess? I am stalking you for the 1,453rd time? Yeah, yeah, we know.

  8. What You Wish For July 25, 2017 2:37 pm

    Is this a ranking or just a countdown of teams that Prep World wants to preview? No ways Iolani is the 10th best team in the State. Now they are going to be getting a lot of hate mail because somebody chose to rank them 10 (or preview them). With 36 players and a lot of them being inexperienced and undersized, I think they are a legitimate Div 2 team this year, regardless of their past history.

  9. Mahatma Gandhi July 25, 2017 3:22 pm

    Iolani should be getting a lot of hate mail for declaring Div 3. They are clearly superior to the other teams in Div 3. It will be like how dominant St Louis was from 1986 to 2000. They destroyed the competitive balance of Hawaii state high school football. Wendell Look is just taking orders from the Iolani admin. The Iolani demands a state football championship, no matter the level. If they got to drop down to the lowest division, so be it.

  10. Mahatma Gandhi July 25, 2017 3:27 pm

    Kode, I never said Iolani beat Waianae in the 1980 Prep Bowl. I did said they destroyed Waianae, pushing them all over the field, all game long, both sides of the line of scrimmage. Final score easily could have been 24-0. Waianae was lucky there was no overtime back then, as Iolani had totally taken over the game. Iolani had two long length of the field drives in the 4th quarter, but no points to show for it. Their kicker missed a point blank field goal attempt the last minute of the game. Straight ahead kicker. Nobody kicks that way anymore.

  11. Education First July 25, 2017 4:55 pm

    Had to destroy a team when the final score shows a tie. The scoreboard is measurable. Everyone’s opinion on the game is subjective.

    What’s next? More insults about Fresno? Are insults about Coach Cal?

  12. Education First July 25, 2017 4:55 pm

    “HARD” sorry typo….

  13. RidgeRunnerE-5 July 25, 2017 5:39 pm

    ‘Iolani comes to my mind when I think of what a true ILH team is. Well coached, disciplined and mentally tough. But never the less, a team consisting of players from well-off backgrounds who tend to lack the size, power and physical toughness possessed by kids from the countryside and inner-city. A team than can make a run for the DI-state title every few seasons, but a team that would be hard pressed to remain a perennial powerhouse in HHSAAF.

  14. Imua94 July 25, 2017 10:58 pm

    HS Football Fan: In ’93, ILH had two rounds of football. St. Louis won the first round, and although Punahou and Kamehameha had 4-1 records in the second round, Punahou won the second round with the straight-up win against the Warriors. St. Louis killed Punahou to decide the overall ILH champion. All 4 teams had 7-3 records but Iolani was never 1st. They were a great team, probably the best they’ve every had with Brian Ah Yat slinging the ball all over the field to Raul Pacheco on offense and they had at least 3 all-state defense players in LB Brad Kitsu and DBs Sean Takamori, Troy Nakamura and Adam Wong. That was a very scrappy team and didn’t bow down to anyone back then. In my opinion, that year, it was a tougher game against them than St. Louis. Even though the Crusaders did win it all, they went through an identity crisis at QB (Darnell Arceneaux was a Soph WR at the time). Saints were fortunate to have Ornellas and Maafala in the back field that year and a very stout D anchored behind who I think was one of the all-time great LBs in Peter Salavea. To answer your question about Coach Look, no way in ’93 did he think his team was incapable of competing against the big boys. 2017’s team though, is no where near the talent OR numbers as ’93. Still, gotta play the game.

  15. The Great One July 27, 2017 8:34 am

    Just wait, Iolani will finish with an under .500 record and still be ranked in the top 10.

  16. Read between the hashmarks July 30, 2017 8:22 am

    After watching Iolani scrimmage Roosevelt, Wendell Look is the smartest guy in town when he dropped to D2 and chose Tier 3. He is keeping the safety and best interest of his players in mind.

  17. Jus Saying July 31, 2017 11:26 am

    @Read between the hashmarks
    If you look at his record (not including the last two seasons), Wendell Look has and I think always will be a fairly successful coach. I have also liked what Eddie Klaneski has done with Damien over the last several seasons. It will be an interesting game to see who comes out on top of the Damien vs Iolani game. These are my top 2 teams in div. 2.

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