Star-Advertiser Preseason Top 10 Countdown
Today: No. 2 Saint Louis
The 2015 season ended with Kahuku claiming its record eighth state championship since the first tournament held in 1999.
Despite giving up a season-high 14 points to the Crusaders, Kahuku finished the year allowing 53 points in 13 games. The 4.1 points allowed per game tied Al Espinda‘s 1980 Farrington team for the fewest points allowed per game in a season in 36 years. Dating back to the first Prep Bowl season of 1973, only four teams allowed fewer points per game and they all came in the 1970s.
PTS. PER GAME ALLOWED
1. 1975 Leilehua, 3.4 (Hugh Yoshida)
2. 1979 Waianae, 3.8 (Larry Ginoza)
2. 1974 Kailua, 3.8 (Joe Kahahawai)
4. 1975 Radford, 3.9 (John Velasco)
5. 2016 Kahuku, 4.1 (Vavae Tata)
5. 1980 Farrington, 4.1 (Al Espinda)
7. 1978 Waipahu, 4.3 (Keith Morioka)
8. 1982 Radford, 4.4 (Bobby Stevens)
10. 1973 Waianae, 4.5 (Larry Ginoza)
10. 1984 Waianae, 4.5 (Larry Ginoza)
To accomplish that number in an era so different from the ones every other team on that list comes from is truly remarkable and sets Kahuku’s 2015 team apart from everyone else as arguably the best defense Hawaii highs chool football has ever seen.
Not to be outdone, Mililani RB Vavae Malepeai became Hawaii’s all-time career rushing leader. Malepeai, who is a freshman at USC, finished his senior season with 1,930 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. He came 70 yards short of becoming the fifth player in history with a 2,000-yard season, but wound up as the all-time kingpin with 4,549 rushing yards and 71 touchdowns, breaking both marks held by ‘Iolani’s Joe Igber.
So what’s on tap for the 2016 season?
Saint Louis QB Tua Tagovailoa will be the player to watch every week he steps on the field for more reasons that one. The Alabama commit, who won the Elite 11 quarterback competition over the summer to establish himself as the top QB prospect in the country for 2017, enters the season with 5,503 passing yards and 57 touchdowns as well as 1,034 rushing yards and 19 more scores.
The Crusaders are assured of at least nine games this season but are likely headed for more as the No. 2-ranked team in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Preseason Top 10.
While Timmy Chang‘s career record of 113 touchdown passes looks likely out of reach, his mark of 8,001 career passing yards is in jeopardy. Tagovailoa needs 2,499 yards to break the number that has held for 17 years.
>> If Tagovailoa does indeed break that mark, it might not last for long. His younger brother, Taulia, is off to an incredible start to his career, throwing for 2,784 yards and 22 touchdowns as a freshman. With three more years of similar production, Taulia Tagovailoa is looking at potentially becoming the first player to surpass 10,000 career passing yards. But maybe we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here.
>> Tua’s coach at Saint Louis, Cal Lee, is already the all-time winningest coach in Hawaii history, surpassing 250 wins last season. But if you’re wondering about a national record, MaxPreps lists Summerville (S.C.) coach John McKissick, as the record holder. McKissick, who retired after the 2012 season, spent 61 seasons as head coach there and amassed a ridiculous 601-148-13 record.
Second behind Lee in Hawaii is Waianae’s Larry Ginoza, who amassed 189 wins in his 20 seasons with the Seariders. A total of 27 coaches have reached the century club in wins in Hawaii. ‘Iolani’s Wendell Look, second behind Lee among active coaches, ranks fourth all-time with 173 wins as he enters his 26th season with the Raiders.
>> Farrington senior Challen Faamatau was a workhorse in 2015, rushing for 1,289 yards and 13 touchdowns while also tallying 510 receiving yards and eight more touchdowns via the passing game. While it’d take a career year — 1,413 yards to be exact — Faamatau does have an outside shot and becoming the eighth player to finish with 3,500 rush yards in a career. If he wants an idea of what it might take, he should ask his coach, Randall Okimoto, who remains second on the single-season list after rushing for 2,149 yards as a senior with the Govs in 1990. That was the same year Kahuku’s Mark Atuaia set the single-season record with 2,377 yards, averaging 237.7 rush yards per game. Whew.
>> Anything can happen on any given week. Only five players have ever thrown for 500 yards in a game, but it’s happened four times over the previous two seasons. Pac-Five’s PJ Minaya held the record of 511 yards for six years until 2014, when Pac-Five’s Kainoa Ferreira (515 vs. King Kekaulike) and Moanalua’s Kawika Keama-Jacobe (574 vs. Farrington) went bonkers. Kapolei’s Taulia Tagovailoa (534 vs. Castle) and Mililani’s McKenzie Milton (515 vs. Kapolei) added their names to the list last year.
If QBs are going to throw for that many yards, someone has to be on the other side catching the ball. As a result, three of the six instances a player has had 300 yards receiving in a game happened in the past two seasons. Kailua’s David Kaihenui still holds the mark of 319 yards set back in 2002, but was threatened by Kapolei’s Ty-Noah Williams (313 vs. Castle) in 2015 and Karson Cruz (310 vs. Farrington) in 2014. Incredibly, Cruz’s teammate, Jason Sharsh, also had 300 in a game that same season (300 vs. Kaiser in OIA playoffs).
Most of the names listed aren’t necessarily the names you would expect on a list like this, which brings us to this season. Who do you expect to have the breakout games of 2016? It could happen as early as tomorrow night.