PREPPING for 2018: St. Francis Saints

St. Francis offensive linebacker Fa'aope Laloulu, left, and running back Jonan Aina-Chaves will play a big role in the Saints' offense in 2018. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.


So close.

Those two words describe the St. Francis Saints in football. They are always battling right to the end of the season but have yet to reach the promised land.

The 2017 season ended with a devastating 13-12 loss to Damien in the ILH Division II championship game. A berth in the D-I state tournament was on the line. It was the second year in a row St. Francis was a whisker away from advancing to states.

It’s a new year and the Saints are off to a 1-0 start, thanks to a nonleague 28-21 victory over Radford on Saturday night. Jonan Aina-Chaves set a school record with 263 yards rushing in that game, the junior’s fourth 200-plus performance of his career.

“It was a very successful season in 2017, yet bittersweet,” coach Kip Akana said. “We definitely have unfinished business. With moderate numbers again, the team’s focus is conditioning. Many of our players will play on two of the three teams (offense, defense, special teams. A couple will be on all three.

“Our plan will be to take one snap, one play, one game at a time. If we keep our focus on the very next play and give our all every down, we should be fine. We cannot afford mental lapses, and can’t be giving up too many series on offense or too many big plays on defense. I like the team’s focus thus far.”

Here are some of Akana’s thoughts on a few of the Saints’ leaders:

>> Faaope Laloulu, left tackle: “He will anchor the offensive line again this season. Laloulu was the first Saint Francis football player to receive a Division I college offer and currently holds offers from Oregon and BYU.”

>> Siotame Haunga, left guard: “Alongside Ope, the left side of our line will be formidable again.”

>> Jonan Aina-Chaves, running back: “Aina-Chaves was one of the top rushers in the state last season and a Gatorade player of the year finalist.”

>> Shepherd Kekahuna, defensive back: “Was an ILH D-II first-team DB. He’s a physical and aggressive defensive player and will also see some time on offense.”

>> Chase Akana, defensive back, wide receiver: “Chase will be asked to play two ways this season as well.”

Akana pointed to Sione Lolohea and Tapena Tupou, two defensive linemen, as difference-makers.

“They are both tenacious, high motor players and are going to be relied upon again this season to anchor our front seven,” Akana said.

The Saints open the new Division II OIA-ILH alliance season Saturday against McKinley at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.


Next in series: St. Louis Crusaders.

• Aiea Na Alii
Campbell Sabers
• Castle Knights
• Farrington Governors
• Kahuku Red Raiders
• Kaimuki Bulldogs
• Kaiser Cougars
• Leilehua Mules
• McKinley Tigers
Mililani Trojans
Moanalua Na Menehune
• Nanakuli Golden Hawks
Pearl City Chargers


  1. Coach C August 8, 2018 11:38 am

    So is StF. the new Iolani? They have D1 prospects and huge players, but yet plays in the lowest tier. Kalani is in their bracket. They will be mopping up the OIA 2. Much like basketball where they need to move up.

  2. johnny B. good August 8, 2018 1:56 pm

    WOT ???

    Eh, COACH C does ‘Iolani have HUGH players?
    read their rosters da last 6 years!

  3. tokotoko August 8, 2018 4:59 pm

    Lol…Coach C, Iolani doen’t even compare to the impressive size of the mammoth St. Francis line. I wonder why the Saints are in Div. II this yr. I think they have the talent and size to compete at the Div. I level, but not sure if they have the discipline or coaching to match up w/ the top Div.I teams.

  4. RealTalkHawaii August 9, 2018 10:42 pm

    On borrowed time till the “Saints” concert back to being the “Troubadours”. Budgeting scholarships gone wrong. Coming soon, wait for it.

  5. One for the gipper August 27, 2018 10:18 pm

    Tokotoko are you saying coaching at St Francis is not D1 caliber they probably could beat and out coach alot of D1 teams this year

  6. Straight Facts August 28, 2018 7:15 pm

    @one for the gipper they did beat Radford in preseason. I seen that they didn’t match any scrimmages before that? Not bad if that’s true. Where exactly is St.francis’s field located? And are their facilities anywhere near Iolanis? I heard St.Francis has size but not numbers

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