SPRING-ing into fall FB: Nanakuli Golden Hawks

Nanakuli's Keliki Amaral-Palakiko was tripped up by a Radford defender in a game last season. Both the Golden Hawks and Rams will play in Division I instead of D-II this season. Jay Metzger / Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Nanakuli’s Keliki Amaral-Palakiko was tripped up by a Radford defender in a game last season. Both the Golden Hawks and Rams will play in Division I instead of D-II this season. Jay Metzger / Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.


Next: Pearl City Chargers


>> 2015 record and finish: 7-3 (7-1 OIA D-II); lost 27-22 to Kaimuki in OIA D-II semifinals
>> Number of returning starters: 11 (8 on offense, 3 on defense)
>> Number of returning seniors: 16
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 11
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 29
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: None
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: None
>> OIA D-II All-Stars lost to graduation: Keanu Momoa (first-team WR), Randy Manewa (first-team LB), Alexcio Meyers (first-team DB), Sunshine Anuenue (second-team RB), John Rellin (second-team DL)
>> OIA D-II All-Stars returning: Nainoa Banks (first-team QB), Isaac Pascua (first-team OL), Jacob Fiaai-Barrett (second-team OL),
>> Among 2016 key offensive returnees: Nainoa Banks (QB, Sr.), Isaac Pascua (OL, Sr.), Shandon Laa (SB, Sr.), Kris Noa (OL, Sr.), Chsyon Morgan (SB/WR, Sr.)
>> Among 2016 key defensive returnees: Chyson Hoopai (LB, Sr.), Miguel Malano (LB, Sr.), Brandon Tuiloma (DL, Sr.), Josh Afuola (DL, Sr.)
>> Golden Hawks with Division I FBS college offers: None
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: 2 (1983, D-I; 2014, D-II)
>> 2016 conference: OIA Red (D-I)

Head coach KEALA WATSON on the Golden Hawks’ outlook for 2016:

“I haven’t seen much of a difference in our kids’ attitude (with us going up to Division I). They’ve kind of been through a lot of experience and know that if they stick to whatever we’re doing, then things will be good and we’ll be well off.

“On the varsity, we have about 45, almost 50 players, and about 60 on the JV. I think the mission will stay the same. We’re going to try to develop young student-athletes who will go out and represent us every week and in the meantime pick up whatever wins we can.

“Oh yes, we learned from last year (losing in the OIA semifinals to Kaimuki on a late kickoff return). Every game is a learning experience. It reinforces that a game is never over until it’s over. It stresses the importance of every play. If you take a play off, the game could be gone right there. We do that same thing for training and the same with every matchup we have — (never take a play off). Taking anybody lightly won’t be a problem for us, going into this year. We will definitely be underdogs, and that is good enough motivation. We’ve been underdogs our whole life. It’s nothing new to us. So, we will be out there, as we always are, trying to pull out something spectacular.

“(Going into D-I) is definitely going to be a nice measuring stick to see how far the kids have come as well as setting the bar high. In order for us to do what we want to do, we have to really buckle down and pay attention. The small mistakes we’ve been getting away with are going to become really big. I’m excited, man. The higher competition, the higher bar of play we’ll need to have. I think from what the kids have shown in the years I’ve been here is that they rise up to any challenge. We have the challenge of D-I. I’m not worried at all, and I feel that they are definitely going to rise up to this challenge and I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.

“For us, we’ve been lucky on many occasions. We’ve been on the happy end of that specific type of play that we lost on last year. We’ve won more than six games that same way on spectacular finishes — a last-minute field goal or a late TD to seal the game. We’ve had our share of those plays go our way. It was just a matter of time for us to see what it’s like on the opposite end. It was a great play and part of a learning experience is to be on that opposite end. They pulled off a great one over us. It was good experience, a tough one. We’ve learned to give the shots and now it’s time to learn to take the shots.

“The (spring/summer) drills are going really well. Our focus has been on learning this whole offseason. We’ve got a bunch of new guys coming in, and we’re trying to communicate the offense and defense to them. We’re rying to implement a more balanced attack, to address our size differential in D-I on offense. We’re going to develop a ground game.

“The players have earned the right to be where they are. Some of these guys I’ve coached for six years, since they were playing on our intermediate football team. I consider myself a second father or an uncle to some of them. We have great kids here. The things that we do and communicate to them go well beyond the football field. It’s an opportunity to coach another season to help them develop them into young adults. They’re going to be make us proud. Wins or losses, it’s going to be an exciting year.”

2016 Nanakuli football schedule
Check here for the latest schedule updates: http://bit.ly/2958rWe
>> July 28: vs. Waianae and Damien (scrimmage only, at Nanakuli)
>> Aug. 5: Waipahu
>> Aug. 12: Aiea
>> Aug. 19/20: Bye
>> Aug. 27: Leilehua
>> Sept. 2: Kailua
>> Sept. 9: Mililani
>> Sept. 17: vs. Farrington, at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
>> Sept. 23: at Castle
>> Sept. 30: at Kapolei

2016 Nanakuli varsity football staff
>> Head coach: Keala Watson (21-9, fourth season)
>> Offensive coordinator: Kili Watson
>> Quarterbacks: Abe Nahulu
>> Offensive line: Keahi Watson
>> Offensive line: Aaron Kaapuni
>> Offensive line: Dallas Kaapuni
>> Running backs: Edmound Ybarra
>> Wide receivers: Trevis Kapua
>> Wide receivers: Wes Pacheco
>> Slotbacks: Boy Whitney
>> Defensive line: Devin Takahashi
>> Defensive line: Kalama Marfil
>> Middle linebackers: Nick Griffin
>> Outside linebackers: Alika Enos
>> Defensive backs: Bleys Wright
>> Defensive backs: Jimmy Afamasaga


  1. bumbuchas June 25, 2016 12:11 pm

    Hey Nick,

    know this is the Golden Hawks post but no sense post my request on Kaiser’s post as no looks there anymore as it’s old. Now that Martinez has been hired, how’s about an update on their new coaching Staff? I curious to know who going assist him. Thxs!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.