It has been some time since a Kaiser-Kaimuki showdown carried this much weight.
Or hunger. Kaimuki has enjoyed the fruit of its collective labor, succeeding in OIA Division II. It was enough that the OIA rules had the Bulldogs moving up to D-I after the 2018 season, but Kaimuki and its small enrollment/roster size remained in D-II.
Kaiser’s pendulum of success and struggle over the past four decades is on the upswing with Tim Seaman as head coach. Kaimuki (4-1, 3-0) and Kaiser (5-0, 3-0) meet on Friday.
Bulldogs coach David Tautofi chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Monday.
HPW: Kaiser is 5-0, though they haven’t truly been tested yet. What kind of affect does it have on your team, if any?
Tautofi: Kaiser is 5-0 for a reason and they’ve got momentum on their side, especially with all that that program has gone through in the last few years. Coach Tim Seaman has done an amazing job revamping and bringing that program to where it’s at today. I think our team understands that it’s not easy to go 5-0 yet Kaiser has done that. Kaiser is not only a good team, they are also well coached with plenty to work with. It’s a big game for us and another opportunity for us to put our best out there and get better.
HPW: Their QB/WR brothers Easton and Mason Yoshino are playing well. What is your take on them?
Tautofi: Those two are special players that obviously have a big influence on the offense. They’ve proven they can be a nightmare for defenses and both are very solid competitors. What makes them a threat is their ability to make plays and these guys can take a simple play that should be a 2-yard gain and make it into a 30-yard touchdown play instantly. They will make it challenging for us this Friday. With the Yoshino brothers, we’ve got our work cut out.
HPW: Kaiser’s offense is balanced with 148 pass attempts and 141 rushing attempts. Are they using a lot of guys two ways like Kaimuki?
Tautofi: Kaiser uses a few guys on both sides but they’ve got a quality players that bring depth in most of their key positions as well.
HPW: How is everyone’s health?
Tautofi: The health of our team is good as we are expecting to get back some key players were out for a few games due to injury. For the most part, we’re expecting to have everyone ready for Friday.
HPW: What did your team learn last week playing without Naomas Asuega-Fualaau? (Note: The Bulldogs’ RB sat with an illness.)
Tautofi: Well, there’s no replacing guys like Naomas. What we were able to learn from playing that game without him was we were still capable of running the ball effectively establishing our ground game. But like I said, there’s no replacing a guy like Naomas. Even though we missed him this last game, we’re ready to get him back this week. The team stepped up as a whole and stayed focus on making sure we did our jobs.
HPW: Where do you feel your offense, defense, and special teams are now on the learning curve of the season?
Tautofi: One thing’s for sure, we aren’t where we need to be. We’ve got a lot to clean up in all three phases of the game but every week there’s tweaks here and there to put us in a better position to succeed. There’s not much we measure our growth on except for how we practice every week in preparations for the game that week and what we see on game day.
HPW: Do you know coach Tim Seamen well? What is different/similar to previous Kaiser teams since he came back?
Tautofi: I got to meet coach Tim Seamen last season when he first took over. What I’ve known about him and everything he’s accomplished and done as a coach throughout his years, says a lot about the standards of excellence I know he demands of his team. He’s a life coach that truly cares for the well being of his players and staff and his resume is one of the more impressive ones of any in the state.
Unfortunately, last season was the only season I got to see Kaiser and play them. What happened in the seasons prior to Coach Tim we’ve all seen and heard about and where he’s got his team going is not surprising to me. They’re back and ready to make another run at the title.