It doesn’t look like Aiea football coach Wendell Say has to worry too much about the quarterback position. He has two players who showed they are capable of leading the offense in Saturday’s 25-14 victory over Kailua at the Surfriders’ newly named Alex Kane Stadium.
Senior Jordan Liilii is considered the team’s No. 1 quarterback, but he did not start against Kailua. Kobe Kato, a sophomore, got the start and both players split time.
“Jordan has been hurt,” Aiea coach Wendell Say, the dean of OIA football coaches, said. “He’s our starter, but he injured his ankle in a scrimmage. Kobe is a good learner and he is our future quarterback.”
They both threw for 103 yards with one touchdown pass against Kailua in a game that was a field-position struggle all night long.
At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Liilii made his presence felt in the win by standing in the pocket and with his field generalship.
His 6-yard scoring strike was a fade to 6-foot-1 senior receiver Derreyl Ogawa-Staples in the left, front corner of the end zone.
Liilii’s decision to throw to the sturdy Ogawa-Staples at that point was a sound one, since a much smaller defensive back was playing one-on-one coverage.
Liilii completed 10 of his 23 passes.
Kato, who stands in at 5-7, 180 pounds, was highly accurate in Aiea’s typical short passing game. He went 13-for-18 and also had two interceptions to Liilii’s one.
Kato went over the middle to find Austin Hartbarger crossing from right to left for an 11-yard score.
Senior Lincoln Tappe was another bright spot for Aiea, with six catches for 45 yards. He was one of seven players to catch passes for Na Alii in the game.
Aiea also had numerous defensive standouts, including four players with fumble recoveries — Avei Laulemana, Cory Walton, Chazdyn Quebral-Acosta and Bradley Padama-Kinere.
Walton’s recovery was for a touchdown, and Padama-Kinere’s helped hold off a late Kailua drive.
In addition, Gabe Igafo made life miserable, chasing Surfriders quarterback Martin Tigilau all night long, and Gage Asing showed his prowess patrolling the defensive backfield.
Ariq Vergado-Duclayan and Ian Fonsca had interceptions for Na Alii, and Solomona Agasiva had a sack.
Aiea struggled with its place-kicking, missing three extra-point attempts and a 27-yard field goal.
Due to a blowout loss at Kaiser in its opener, Aiea is 1-1 overall and 1-1 in the OIA Blue.
“It was nice to finally get a look at our full team in action,” Say said. “It was our first game since the Kaiser fiasco, when we had all those academically ineligible players.”