Sophomore Blaine Hipa’s progression leads Campbell to 7v7 title

Campbell sophomore quarterback Blaine Hipa threw five touchdown passes in the final of a 7v7 eight-team tournament at 'Iolani on Saturday. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Blaine Hipa is better today than he was yesterday, that’s for sure.

Hipa showed flashes of brilliance as a freshman last fall at Campbell. In the eight months since, the lanky southpaw has filled out his frame with some muscle. More so, he has become efficient with his progression from the pocket. It showed on Saturday when he tossed five touchdown passes in a 30-20 win over talented Mililani in the final of the Los Angeles Rams 7v7 tournament at Eddie Hamada Field.

“I’m really happy with what our coaches are doing, how they’ve turned the program forward. They kids are working hard and they’re competing,” Sabers coach Darren Johnson said. “We’ve got good guys running around, and Blaze (Soares) and his defensive staff work the kids hard. I want the kids to catch on and continue that.”

Campbell finished the day 5-0 overall, handing Mililani it’s lone defeat. In semifinal play, it was Mililani that ousted a resilient Waipahu squad. Waipahu had upset Saint Louis in the quarterfinals.

“We’ve been practicing since April, three times a week, and it showed on the field today,” running back Sky Lactaoen said. “We’re cleaning up stuff, our mistakes, and getting better every week. We want to be the best offense in the state and we do have a good line. We’re bonding together as a team.”

The Sabers, however, were humming. Hipa found speedy Titus Mokiao-Atimalala for the first two TD strikes of the game. Then Hipa connected with Poki‘i Adkins-Kupukaa and Peter Manuma before finishing the battle with another scoring strike to Adkins-Kupukaa.

Hipa’s work with assistant coach Keli‘i Tilton has boosted confidence.

“Reading defenses, it’s easier to pick apart defenses now,” Hipa said.

It won’t be easy to gauge Campbell’s offense until the real game is in play, 11-on-11, come August. For now, however, Campbell’s offense appears to be a juggernaut.

“It’s all about teamwork,” said Adkins-Kupukaa, who caught seven touchdown passes last year in split time on offense.

Last season, his focus was on defense as a safety with incredible range. He sacrificed his offensive production.

“We’re going at against each other it every day,” Titus Mokiao-Atimalala said.

Campbell’s Titus Mokiao-Atimalala caught a pass over a Hilo defender during Saturday’s 7v7 tournament. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

“We always come out to work and compete,” added Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala, who has committed to Hawaii. “That’s who we are as Campbell. We just want to get better. We feel thankful and blessed.”

Saint Louis’ offense should be unparalleled — Jayden de Laura and some of his standout receivers did not play in the 7v7 — but the day belonged to the Sabers.

“It’s the culture in Ewa Beach,” Lactaoen said. “We’re blessed with DJ, who always keeps us accountable, and we do it for our brothers.”

The Sabers haven’t missed a beat, though Coach Johnson’s health was a concern in April. Johnson suffered a stroke and has recovered significantly. The coaching staff, which includes former Castle standout Jaymason Lee (offensive coordinator), has stepped up.

“We just wanted him to get better,” Titus Mokiao-Atimalala said. “We’re here to make sure that happens.”

“He’s still the same guy that he was last year,” Lactaoen added. “We still respect him the same. Nothing changes.”

Johnson has been on leave from work since the stroke. He has dropped 25 pounds and walks every morning in his Hauula neighborhood, singing along to country and Hawaiian music. He’s in physical therapy and has changed his diet. No fast food. No processed sugar. He has even cut out rice.

“I’m hoping to go back to work, so I’m just working on that right now,” said Johnson, who hopes to get under 200 pounds. “We have a good boss and I work with good people, so it’s good. The kids understand it. The coaches understand it.”

The plan is to keep pushing forward.

“Sky’s the captain and he’s good with keeping guys accountable and getting better,” Johnson said. “That’s why we work out three days (per week). They have time to still enjoy summer.”

Videos from the tournament coming shortly.

Mililani’s Rod York instructed his quarterback during a 7-on-7 football camp put on by the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams on Saturday. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Saint Louis coach Cal Lee looked on during Saturday’s 7v7 football camp at ‘Iolani. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.


  1. HI HS FAN June 15, 2019 8:16 pm

    Campbell will be the team to beat in the OIA OPEN DIVISION. They have a lot of skilled offensive players. If their O-line can prove themselves, they could be the best offensive team in their division. Defensively, they might also have the best backfield and linebackers in their division. DJ has brought in some coaches that could elevate their program, in Soares and Lee. The season is still two months away but I think this is how the OIA OPEN DIVISION will look like.
    1. Campbell
    2. Mililani
    3. Kahuku
    4. Waianae
    5. Kapolei
    6. Farrington
    Mililani will still be tough, but need to groom a quarterback. Kahuku has a lot to prove after last season’s uncharacteristic finish. Defense must keep them in games until their young offense improves. Waianae is the dark horse. New coaches will bring back the pride and the passion to the west side. Kapolei and Farrington could be the spoilers once they get more game experience.

  2. Nalo96795 June 15, 2019 11:38 pm

    Kailua’s QB Cameron, Campbells Hipa and St Louis DeLaura are being educated/developed by QB Coach Keli’i Tilton. Watch these 3 QBs shoot it out this year. Watched a video of them training together in Kailua. Big things that will be coming out of Hawaii the next few years. All very talented Quarterbacks.

  3. Coach C June 16, 2019 12:12 pm

    HI HS FAN. I guess that picture of York talking to his qb might be that transfer from Punahou. Waianae will not get out of the cellar. Campbell plays at Kahuku this year. The OIA will not be determined in the first half of the season.

  4. Brotherhood4L June 16, 2019 3:00 pm

    Hipa got a steal in having Lee and Tilton as his quarterback coach and offensive coordinator. If I am not mistaken, Lee was the OC at St.francis last year where they were undefeated before forfeiting their season. But you add in the footwork from Kawe into the equation and you’ll sum up with a good team.
    DJ knows how to recruit coaches as he got coaches from the East to coach on the West. Especially with Soares coming from Kalaheo last year. Not the best record to show, but the knowledge and experience is there.
    I find it intriguing that Castle or even Kailua wouldn’t take a shot at having any of these coaches at their programs. But like I said DJ know how to recruit coaches.
    With all these additions I still believe St. Louis is the #1 team in the state and Punahou #2. Vince Passas got DeLaura playing at a very high level and Brady of Punahou was the closest to beat St. Louis. This year should be interesting!

    Go Crusaders!

  5. palolo2 June 16, 2019 10:32 pm

    Good luck to DJ getting his health back in order. I cannot wait for football this August. St. Louis will be the champs but it will be a dog fight with the other open teams every week.

  6. Team808 June 17, 2019 9:52 am

    Kobe Muasau Former Punahou QB is at Eastside Catholic in Washington

  7. Nalo96795 June 17, 2019 12:30 pm

    Actually DeLaura has been training along with Hipa by QB Coach Keli’i Tilton. Even up and coming, John Sagapolutele at Punahou. We also seen former Moanalua QB Yuen out there. Go to Hawaii Youth Athletics on IG and you will see all those QBs with Tilton. DeLaura been with Tilton working with Hipa on the off season every wk in and out. We seen a handful of young QBs putting in work with that QB Coach Tilton. Tilton is the QB Coach working all of those boys. I believe Cameron the new QB for Kailua left the Crusaders but trains with the same group of QB’s. That QB Stable is no joke. They grinding out there. Some hard working QBs that are hungry being mentored by one of the best QB Coaches out. The game productivity will speak volumes for the next generation of Hawaii Quarterbacks.

  8. Nalo96795 June 17, 2019 12:33 pm

    Crazy! Tilton was training Kobe before he left too. Its fascinating to know all those QBs coming out

  9. Nalo96795 June 17, 2019 1:42 pm

    Correction the QB training videos are on Aloha Youth Athletics on IG

  10. BIG EGO June 17, 2019 2:19 pm

    Lol, Mililani will smash Sabers in pads. Mililani’s D will pressure that qb, no matter how much skills you get, the qb still got to get the ball to them. In Fact Mililani will run the table in the OIA. The ILH obviously will win it all hands down. But dont forget about Punahou and Kamehameha, those two schools probably will dominate the OIA as a whole with the exception of maybe Mililani.

  11. Saber Nation June 17, 2019 4:48 pm

    @Big Ego What defense? The same defense that played this past weekend? 🤣. Oh but when get pads everybody going come out of the superman phone booth and all of sudden know how to keep coverage 🤣. What they going throw pads in the air for stop the ball? Oh maybe you mean Milz DLine going be hamma and smash? Lol You seen that young QB run? Campbell got the best offense and best secondary in the OIA hands down. Pads or not, Sabers receivers was eating this weekend. Smh! How Mililani with pads going change the game lol 🤣. Pads mean nothing when the receivers stay burning everyone by 10yrds 🤣🤣🤣! How they going be smashing? Kahuku going eat too. Mililani not going dominate anything. Nobody seen anything this weekend that shows Trojans dominating. This might be the weakest Mililnai squad in the past years if anything. Sabers all day!!

  12. 44Eastside June 17, 2019 8:24 pm

    How does Castle not hire their own? Blaze Soares and Jaymason Lee both played for Castle and are the right fit for their program. They wonder why they dont have as many athletes as they should. I agree with you 100% @Brotherhood4L
    Lee has his own Kaneohe-based clinics that he runs and seems to be training the top up and coming Quarterbacks. Check his Champions Academy Page on Instagram. He does a lot for our community. But you let guys like that get hired elsewhere.
    Soares was one of the top linebackers from Castle and UH. How can you not recruit a coach like that? I bet he won’t make those kids run 30 yard hitting drills!
    In my eyes the D1 will be a repeat of last year and the open will be St. Louis and Campbell. I’m cheering for our Kaneohe coaches way out in Ewa. Prayers out to the Johnson Family.

  13. OIA June 17, 2019 11:29 pm

    It make me laugh eef St Lulu start losing playaz to da mainland. It be karma! LOL

  14. Castle48 June 18, 2019 2:07 am

    44Eastside I agree that not hiring Blaze Soares was a definite loss for Castle. But I also feel, Castle is very lucky to have a coach like John Hao running their program.
    Nalo96795, I went to both Champions Academy and Aloha Youth Athletics to watch some of those videos and hands down, Coach Tilton is on another level with training the top QB’s out there in his stable.
    Can’t wait for this season to start, and good luck to all the teams and schools!!

  15. For the clowns June 18, 2019 6:54 am

    I can tell you why. Easy to teach talent that’s already there. I really don’t see Soares and lee as great coaches. They are great athletes no doubt. Castle has good coaches there. Did you not see the moanalua game last year? That was pure coaching at its best. How they came back from adversity speaks volumes of what was needed. Don’t sleep on castle again. They will open a lot of peoples eyes this year again. Campbell will do great this year. 7 vs 7 doesn’t show everything and not all the top athletes where there this weekend at iolani. Doubt Campbell would have gonna that far. When its time to strap it up. We’ll see who is game ready

  16. HLI June 18, 2019 9:30 am

    Saber Nation-

    You must not have played football with a perspective like that. Stick to 7v7 tournaments.


    Maybe, Castle has coaches already? Maybe there are some other reasons we arent aware of? I dont know the Soares person very well but do know that there is some HISTORY with Castle and the Lee Ohana. That could be a factor.

  17. Coach C June 18, 2019 2:09 pm

    Lol, 7 x 7 is no pass rush! It’s a hands off, let the qb throw. When you got a swarming D like Kahuku, all deals off. Like Mike Tysons says ” Everybody’s got a plan, till you get punched in the face”.

  18. Coach C June 18, 2019 2:15 pm

    Another thing. John Hao is under rated. Castle should be happy to have him. Let’s see, ex Stl
    coach, ex OC for Kahuku State champs. Upset heavy favored #1:Moanalua last yea by utilizing key atheletes.

  19. Saber Nation June 18, 2019 2:57 pm

    The world knows with 7 on 7 there is no rush invloved. Got it. Yada yada! But what 7 and 7 does prove and will expose, is how good your DBs can cover. Which the results from this past weekend can answer that. Say the QB is pressured which he isnt you right. But how come no DBs could lock down any receivers? Oh maybe they did lock down the receivers? but the QB was so good he lead the team to victory. Oh maybe the QB has easy work because the DBs could handle the receivers so he was cruising, passing TDs all game? I dont think we are confused about any of that. Horrible coverage and a QB that throws accurate= easy win= Sabers taking the W this weekend. Maybe you trying to say that is Milz weakest link is the DBs? Cant cover but only can cover when they get pads? 🤣 Maybe you saying they dont know how to cover good but they decent with pads on and the front line pressuring the QB will make up for weak coverage? 🤣 How come no DBs
    could shut down Sabers receiving core? How come no DB could make it impossible for Campbell QB to make a completion? Ill help you with that answer 1. Campbell QB picked apart the defense 2. DBs couldnt handle the receivers. Now you say put on the super man pads and that going change the game. Okay good point and understandable. I can agree with you on that. What makes you think Campbell cant handle Millilanis defense “with their pads on”? Explain how that works. Still havent heard an explanation. What makes anyone think the QB is not elusive and cant handle pressure? What makes anyone think Campbell OLine wont protect their QB? Say the QB took a lick, that young boy will bounce up and deliver again. No big dill. You know what? Campbell like pads on too. Its true Mike tyson did say “everyone got a plan until they get punched in the face”! But dont forget Tyson said that before he fought Holyfield. Now Tyson doesnt say that anymore. He story now goes more like this “Everyone has a plan punching someones face, but what’s your plan when you punch someone in the face, eat it up, smile back at you like it wasnt a thing and light you up”! What now? Holyfield ate Tysons punches up and big Mike never won a fight after that. He got worked! So with all this Mike Tyson put your pads on talk, what you going do when you punch Campbell in the face and the smile at you while lighting up the score board? What you going do now? Everyone think they Mike Tyson but they forgot about the Mike Tyson that got lit up by “The Real Deal”! Gotta go back to the superman booth and figure that one out. Lets see how a defense will react when they come out swarming only to realize its not disrupting the Sabers offense one bit. So put the pads on but make sure the pads fasten tight. Im telling you those Campbell boys will take and give a punch right back! With all this put the pads on talk, I agree with you! But dont think putting pads on will joly the Sabers. Trust, them Sabers want the pads on too hamma! Bring the Tyson quote and Sabers will bring the Holyfield Victory!

  20. Saber Nation June 18, 2019 3:11 pm

    And just to clarify, the new Coaches this year are probably good Coaches. We yet to see. But alot of those Campbell athletes have been developed by solid personal Coaches like Tilton. Can’t take that away from the kids. Whatever reason the eastide schools didnt hire whatever coach is not on us and not our business. So let that be on a other thread. Campbell QB get one of the best QB Coaches and Coach DJ has proven himself. Not to discredit any other coach but we give props to where its do! Campbell been building and will build and will win.

  21. Saber Nation June 18, 2019 3:16 pm

    And just to clarify, the new Coaches this year are probably good Coaches. We yet to see. But alot of those Campbell athletes have been developed by solid personal Coaches like Tilton. Can’t take that away from the kids. No matter who OC, DC or ABC 🤣! Whatever reason the eastide schools didnt hire whatever coach is not on us and not our business. So let that be on a other thread. Campbell QB get one of the best QB Coaches and Coach DJ has proven himself. Not to discredit any other coach but we give props to where its do! Campbell been building and will build and will win. One more thing we not hating on the eastside.

  22. Trenchdawg04 June 18, 2019 3:54 pm

    Ain’t Campbell’s QB a transfer from Kahuku.?

  23. MrFabioLying June 18, 2019 4:53 pm

    @TrenchDawg04 No he transfered from Hilo High school I heard. I believe he moved same time the QB Coach Keli’i moved. Both originaly from H-Town. I heard Kahuku entire O-Line is transfers from Kalaheo too tho.

  24. HawaiiFootbalkGossip June 18, 2019 5:09 pm

    I think his dad is from Brazil. They just came here. I was talking to them at one game last year and he only spoke Portuguese. They are not from Kahuku.

  25. Trenchdawg04 June 18, 2019 5:41 pm

    @MrFabooLying man what awesome insight Hilo lost a great asset, and that Oline maybe they where tired of wearing orange and rather wear red, it must fit them better. Thanks for the info

  26. BigGeez June 18, 2019 6:11 pm

    MrFabioLying, your name serves u well cause yooz straight lying😂😂😂!! I grew up and played with brada Kelii Tilton and he’s born and raised Kailua boy went Kalaheo my friend. I blocked for Kolo (Kelii Tilton) in high school and our o-line averaged 170lbs, unless Kalaheo all of sudden got big local kids coming in now which I highly doubt, ain’t non of them transferring to kahuku, but that was a good one😂😂. Good to see my boy doing his thing cause brada was a stud athlete back in our day and probably still winging 70yrd bombs with his Qbs. Now bring back old Kailua so I can move back home🤙🤙

  27. Trenchdawg04 June 19, 2019 6:51 am

    @HawaiiFootbalkGossip wow so they originated from Brazil moved to Hilo then moved again to Oahu with his family wow and you spoke to him in Portuguese. I wounder how that would affect a child playing sports? What a great father he’s look out for his son.

  28. HLI June 19, 2019 10:32 am

    Saber Nation-

    Geez, no need your life story.

    Point is, it wont be the same when you incorporate pads, lineman, special teams, etc, etc………
    No matter how good you look during 7v7.

    I also heard that all the St. Francis kids have changed their mind and are going to RR Nation because they want an OPEN championship.

  29. HD June 20, 2019 11:55 am

    Saber Nation

    55-7 with pads!

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