Kahuku is ready to roll to a third straight state title game in 2017. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

The keys to the Big Red machine are jangling, and the driver is grinning from ear to ear.

It wasn’t hard at all for now-sophomore quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava to see what life on the other side of the playbook could be like. A year ago, the spotlight was bright, maybe occasionally blinding after he received a scholarship offer from Michigan before his high school career had even begun.

Then came a run to the OIA title, and a loss to Saint Louis in the state final. Through it all, Kahuku’s then-offensive coordinator was supposedly relieved on his duties, but retained on staff. Kahuku’s offense showed a willingness to open up, but wasn’t quite committed to it. It just wasn’t time.

First-year head coach Makoa Freitas is all about allowing his team to test the limits. Freitas wants a balanced offensive attack, but is also a stickler for the a sound ground attack that sets up the pass. The football equivalent, maybe, of an inside-out approach on the basketball court. It makes perfect sense. Yet, a change in offensive philosophy this fall is in no way the cure-all for all of Kahuku’s state-championship-loss woes. Gone are a half-busload of immense talent, so many leaders like all-state performers Kesi Ah-Hoy, Stokes Botelho and Kekaula Kaniho, the latter being the Star-Advertiser all-state defensive player of the year.

Unlike most public-school football programs that suffer severe drop-offs when large senior classes graduate, Kahuku has always benefited from the aura around its name, the bling that comes with arguably the finest gridiron tradition near and far. Once again, transfers from out-of-state — many who grew up on the North Shore – will play a role in Big Red’s run to the mountain top.

The two-time defending OIA champions are ranked No. 2 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser preseason top 10.

In their scrimmage against Kamehameha at Kunuiakea Stadium, Maiava was in command of Kahuku’s wide-open attack. He wasn’t perfect, not in the first scrimmage of the season, but was dangerous, absolutely willing to air the ball out and give his athletic receivers a chance to make plays.

It was running back Wes Maiava, cousin of Sol-Jay, who came up with the most big plays. The former JV standout, who returned from Utah after one year, showed the kind of toughness inside and breakaway speed that could fill the void left by last year’s senior rushers, Elvis Vakapuna and Harmon Brown.

Wes Maiava wasn’t limited to ground duty. He hauled in a 65-yard touchdown pass from Sol the slinger on a perfectly executed deep post route. In fact, Maiava, the QB, aired out as many deep passes as the ’15 Red Raiders did for a whole season — or it just felt that way, at least.

The dozen returning starters from last year’s 11-2 team include junior linebacker Miki Ah You, defensive end Samson Reed and linebacker/punter Sekope Latu. Offensive linemen Enokk Vimahi and Cire Loo return to bolster the offensive front, while the defense has seasoned contributors in Cedric Iafeta, Samson Kapule-Siilata and Siaosi Lauhingoa on the line, Toalei Lefau at LB and Kaonohi Kaniho in the secondary.

The scholarship offer count is immense: Reed, with eight offers, has committed to Virginia; Sol-Jay Maiava (Fresno State, Hawaii, Michigan, Utah); Ah You (BYU, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah State); Vimahi (BYU, Fresno State, Hawaii); Iafeta (Hawaii, Navy); Lauhingoa (New Mexico, Utah State); Latu (BYU); sophmore OL Izaya Vimahi (BYU); LB/S Nalu Emerson (Hawaii); Kaniho (Hawaii); LB J.L. Lava (BYU).

For the record, that is a total of 28 offers, and August has only just begun, and a number of the prospects, like Ah You and Maiava, are still underclassmen.

Kahuku championship football has rarely orbited around a star quarterback. The chapters to be written this season will, no doubt, shift from every aspect of the offense, defense and special teams. They will feature standout returnees and, possibly, some spectacular first-year starters.

But at some point, the onus will be on the offense to score. There will be a close game sooner or later. And this reliance on balanced offense will be put to the test. Maiava is ready for it. This pistol set has two backs, no tight end — at least from what the Red Raiders showed in the Kamehameha scrimmage last Thursday.

“I’ve got to get the ball out quick,” Maiava said. “The playbook is still pretty much the same. We have our bread and butter, bur we’re adding on little by little.”

Hey, it wouldn’t take a whole lot of arm-twisting, really, for Big Red to go pure smashmouth at any point for a half or even a full game. There’s no reason to completely junk the kind of wooly-mammoth destruction that worked so well in recent seasons. The threat and deployment of 2,000-plus pounds of stampeding rhinos and elephants brought and wrought havoc to opponents during Tata’s reign.

But the concept of a committed Red Raid by air is something no defense has needed to prepare for in more than a decade. Winter, at least in the OIA, is certainly coming.

To read our Kahuku preview that ran in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, click here.
2017 Kahuku Football
Kahuku all-time scores and statistics


  1. rrforlifebaby August 2, 2017 11:10 am

    Red Raid!!!
    Winter is Coming…love the GOT reference!


    P.s. Just wanting to wish the Govs and Seariders good luck this weekend. Give the ILH some hell boyz!!! It’s pre-season, but go and HIT somebody!!!

  2. TooMeke August 2, 2017 12:19 pm

    right on right on right on…

  3. anywaaaays!! August 2, 2017 12:46 pm

    Missing two more players with offers but all in all this is what its all about, keeping the homegrown talent in the Big Red system from birth to graduation so that opportunities will open up for them in this game. United we stand divided we fall.

  4. anywaaaays!! August 2, 2017 2:15 pm

    OMG all these Kahuku articles from the man PH! Fair balanced and informative and not one idiot comment from edufirst. Must be heaven in here.

    Wheres JP Kefu is he not coming back, Didnt see the JV fullback Liua either.

  5. Stacey August 2, 2017 2:56 pm

    work on that passing game!!! for the games like the St. Louis and BG one maybe

  6. anywaaaays!! August 2, 2017 3:50 pm

    As stated in the Article Kahuku is an inside-out offense. Meaning they need to dominate the run game and then the passing game will open up and when it does the QB/WRs need to execute.

    The blue print for an unstoppable Kahuku team was the 2010 Kahuku team with Faga Wily controling the ground game and then QB Moe to 6’5″ WR Thompson in the air. If we can get back to that level Kahuku should go undefeated this year using a balanced offense, of course the run-only wild-cat offense is capable of going undefeated too as seen in 2016.

    You dont work on the passing game when the season starts, you work on it when the kids are 6,7,8 yr olds in little leagues, thats why we know our current varsity team is capable because they were excecuting passing plays when they were in pop warner. STL and PUN have kids lined up 5 years in advance to step in and execute their passing offenses thats why they are always ranked top 3 in the state. Kahuku just gotta keep their talent to stay home and they will also be top 3 in the state every year.

  7. Mahatma Gandhi August 2, 2017 4:13 pm

    Any current Kahuku players that came back home after being recruited by the ILH? Why we gotta now go thru all this BS to post a message?!

  8. Hau´ulaBoy August 2, 2017 4:58 pm

    Let´s go Big Red!!!

  9. Toomeke August 2, 2017 5:41 pm

    anywaysss – no negative comments cuz ILH fans all happy St LuLu #1 preseason. Cuz we all know how much these rankings matter. 🙄

  10. anywaaaays!! August 2, 2017 6:05 pm

    Scoringlive put Kahuku #1 in their poll which is odd because we all know scoringlive is the biggest critics and haters of Kahuku. Scoringlive is only good for one thing…stats…cause they geeks and not real sports people.

    STL as the advertiser #1 sounds about right, they deserved it by winning the title so until someone beats them its all a big target on their back.

  11. Scoringlive Writer August 2, 2017 8:07 pm

    anywaaaays!! August 2, 2017 6:05 pm
    Scoringlive put Kahuku #1 in their poll which is odd because we all know scoringlive is the biggest critics and haters of Kahuku.
    Sir, my colleagues and I have gone out to Kahuku to cover stories over 15 times over the past 2 years. That is more coverage than any other school has got during that same time.

    If you think we are haters, can you please provide some evidence that will support your claim? Or do you just ramble on with no evidence whatsoever.

    I challenge you as a man to provide evidence if you are going to make that claim that we hate Kahuku or anyone for that matter.

    There are many fine writers who offer their free time with little or not time to provide overage so people like you can read the articles and look at scores without paying.

    I find it funny that you read our stories, do not pay for anything, and insult us. Yet you do not pay and you criticize.

    If you think you can do a better job, please start a website and write some articles. I would love to see what you can write. Based on your method of writing, I don’t think you will have much of an audience.

  12. WHIPEM August 2, 2017 8:17 pm


  13. Marky Mark August 2, 2017 8:48 pm

    Edumacation 1st posing as a scoringlive writer. 🙄🤥🤓😑🤣🤣🤣😃

  14. Nailz August 2, 2017 10:36 pm

    Scoringlive Writer aka Education 1st 🤓

  15. anywaaaays!! August 2, 2017 11:08 pm

    Oh Hi edufirst! Im glad you posed as a SL writer and so here is my proof of anti-Kahuku writing….go to their most recent article of Kahuku vs Kams scrimmage…(

    1. When talking about Kams QB they make excuses
    – It didn’t feel like the receivers were in sync with Boogie as they missed a couple routes and throws.

    2. While SL praises Kahukus D, they also find a way to make excuse for Kams QB
    – Defensively, they (Kahuku) are tough and aggressive up front and made it very difficult for the Warriors to get any sort of ground game going. They were able to pressure and hurry Yam into missed throws.

    3. When talking about Kahukus QB they emphasis the negative
    – Sol-Jay Maiava started at QB and his “first two passes were incomplete”. He was able to convert a 22-yard pass on a fourth-and-9 on a “broken down” play..

    4. They continue to emphasis negativity and anything positive they make it sound like he got lucky.
    – On their second offensive series, the Red Raiders gave some passing reps to Maiava, who “overthrew” his receivers. However, he was able to throw a 70-yard score to a “wide open” receiver running down the seam.

    so when the Kam QB missed a throw its because he was pressured, his WR ran bad routes or the sun was shining in his eyes. When Maiava misses a throw its a terrible throw. This style of writing has been going of for years from all media in Hawaii, at least in regards to Kahukus attempts at developing a passing offense.

    In these pass happy offenses in the ILH they throw so much that we tend to forget about the bad throws and focus on the perfect pass. I guarantee you for every perfect throw Tua threw last year there were 4 bad throws, but in the media they will tell you he was pressured or the WR ran a bad route.

  16. Hman! August 3, 2017 3:51 am

    Anywaays! Shut the hell up! You making us real fans of Raider Nation look like cry babies, which some of us are…hahaha! These writers are doing a great job! Kahuku United Strong…..!

  17. August 3, 2017 6:42 am

    hman u educatonfirts idiot

  18. Nailz August 3, 2017 6:58 am

    Hman! aka Scoringlive Writer aka Education First 😂

  19. TooMeke August 3, 2017 9:09 am

    schizo… HAHAHAHAHA!!!


  20. Hawaii August 3, 2017 10:38 am

    Kahuku going be kahuku. No Scheme. Its Simple, we this big and we going run over the smaller schools. No strategy. The truth is they have natural athletes that makes them who they are. Again all they are doing is out muscle the small schools. If Kahuku was to change there identity as far as offense, damn they would be unbeatable. That offense that they have is so mickey mouse like pop warner. Been to the mainland when Kahuku won the state championship, they was like, is that your state high school championship representive? Criticizing the offense that they run, its pop warner action. And the reason why kahuku gets away with it is because like what i said big bodies running people over.

  21. rrfl August 3, 2017 11:06 am

    does anyone know if kefu is coming back.

  22. TeamHawaii August 3, 2017 11:29 am

    JP Kefu has been in the Bay Area (San Bruno) since Spring Semester. He’s finishing school in California

  23. Coach_B August 3, 2017 4:28 pm

    Great player to watch out for is Enoch Nawahine. Back after 2 years at Punahou. Great athlete that can run and catch the ball as well as return. Might turn out being a big weapon for Maiava after developing into a productive passing game weapon for Punahou.

  24. Education First August 4, 2017 8:03 am

    anywaaaays!! August 2, 2017 11:08 pm
    Oh Hi edufirst! Im glad you posed as a SL writer and so here is my proof of anti-Kahuku writing….go to their most recent article of Kahuku vs Kams scrimmage…(

    Like I have mentioned numerous times, please have the moderator to authenticate that I am only one person. I understand that others will use my screen name since they want to be like me. But as you can tell, none of your elementary level writing compares, so it’s quite easy to fingerprint who I am and who I am not.

    First of all, if I was another writer, the first thing I would mention is your horrible attempt to write. Next, I would put the focus on the atrocious academics out there. Next, I have no issue with your conspiracy theories.

    What bothers me if how you live through football and care little about how unintelligent many kids are out there.

    But I guess you have to tell yourself that whenever someone disagrees with you, it must be myself using another screenname. If that is what you need to do in order to fall asleep, then please continue to do so.

    I am going to give you a reality check. If I had to make an inference, there are probably many that disagree with you because you are not very smart.

    I like that effort you put in. And you are pretty resilient. But that thing that you type are just hurtful to human beings’ brains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email