SPRING-ing into FB season: Kahuku Red Raiders

Kahuku cornerback Kekaula Kaniho, a first-team Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State choice last season, returns as a senior this fall. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Kahuku cornerback Kekaula Kaniho, a first-team Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State choice last season, returns as a senior this fall. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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>> 2015 record and finish: 13-0 (7-0 OIA Red); beat Saint Louis 39-14 for the state Division I championship
>> Number of returning starters: 11 (6 offense, 5 defense)
>> Number of returning seniors: 33
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 11
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 30
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: Tamatoa Neher (first-team OL), Jess Kanongataa (first-team DL), Bradlee Anae (first-team DL), Hinkley Latu (first-team LB), Manaia Atuaia (first-team LB), Keala Santiago (first-team S and second-team RET), Aaron Tapusoa (first-team U), Kekoa Sasaoka (first-team P and second-team K), Jed Heffernan second-team OL), Pesa Lefau (second-team LB)
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: Kesi Ah-Hoy (first-team U), Kakaula Kaniho (first-team CB), Stokes Botelho (first-team CB), Vili Fisiiahi (second-team OL), Aleki Vimahi (second-team DL), Harmon Brown (third-team RB), Codie Sauvao (third-team S)
>> OIA Red All-Stars lost to graduation: Keala Santiago (first-team DB), Sefa Ameperosa (first-team RB), Tamatoa Neher (first-team OL), Jed Heffernan (first-team OL), Bradlee Anae (first-team DL), Jess Kanongataa (first-team DL), Hirkley Latu (first-team LB), Pesa Lefau (first-team LB), Aaron Tapusoa (first-team LB), Keala Santiago (first-team DB), Lerod Tongi (first-team U), Manaia Atuaia (second-team LB),
>> OIA Red All-Stars returning: Kesi Ah-Hoy (first-team QB and RB), Vili Fisiiahi (first-team OL), Kekaula Kaniho (first-team DB), Stokes Botelho (first-team DB), Harmon Brown (second-team RB),
>> Among 2016 key offensive returnees: Kesi Ah-Hoy (QB/RB, Sr.), Harmon Brown (RB, Sr.), Vili Fisiiahi (OL, Sr.), Cire Loo (OL, Jr.), Vaka Fale (OL, Sr.)
>> Among 2016 key defensive returnees: Stokes Botelho (DB, Sr.), Kekaula Kaniho (SB, Sr.), Aleki Vimahi (DL, Sr.), Codie Sauvao (LB, Sr.), Samson Reed (DL, Jr.)
>> Red Raiders with Division I FBS college offers: Aliki Vimahi (DL/TE, Sr.), Kekaula Kaniho (DB, Sr.), Kesi Ah-Hoy (RB, Sr.), Samson Reed (DL, Jr.)
>> All-time state championships: 8 (all Division I — 2000, 2001, 2003, 205, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2015.
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: 24 (*including one co-championship; all Division I — 1943, 1944, 1947, 1956, 1959, 1969, 1972, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001*, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015)
>> 2016 conference: OIA Blue (D-I)

Head coach VAVAE TATA on the Red Raiders’ outlook for 2016:

“We just finished three weeks of spring workouts, but right now it’s not football. Everybody looks good in T-shirts and no helmets and shoulder pads. 2015 was an awesome year and the standard was set by the seniors. We don’t need to change the culture; it’s more like working to replicate what we did last year. How are we going to do that? First, we have to find out what the identity of this group is going go be. We’ve got to build this house for 2016 and find the right personnel and find out what our weaknesses are. Find out what this group’s DNA is going to be and fine-tuning what we do. Striving for sustained excellence. We will be smashmouth, and in this summer’s pass league, we’ll find out what our skill guys are made of.

“We’re going to have that windshield mentality, everything is in front of us and we can’t look back on what’s behind us. The people that we beat last year, they haven’t forgotten and so we will have a bull’s-eye on our backs. That is no secret. No one is going to lay down for us. It is going to be hard and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

“We have a lot of returnees on offense and we have a bunch of hogs up front.

“Going to Las Vegas play Bishop Gorman, the No. 1 team in the nation, what an opportunity to represent Kahuku and Hawaii.”

2016 Kahuku football schedule
Check here for the latest schedule updates: http://bit.ly/2958rWe
>> July 29: Mililani (scrimmage only)
>> July 30: Three-way scrimmage: Farrington/Kahuku/Punahou, 9:30 a.m., at Punahou
>> Aug. 5: Farrington (scrimmage only)
>> Aug. 12: at Leilehua
>> Aug. 19: Aiea
>> Aug. 26: Waianae
>> Sept. 3: Campbell
>> Sept. 9: at Redford
>> Sept. 17: at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
>> Sept. 24: at Moanalua
>> Sept. 30: at Kaiser

2016 Kahuku varsity football staff
>> Head coach, defensive coordinator, defensive line: Vavae Tata (13-0, second season)
>> Offensive coordinator: John Hao
>> Offensive line: Makoa Freitas
>> Offensive line: Peni Holakeituai
>> Tight ends/offensive line: David Vimahi
>> Tight ends: Ernest Aliksa
>> Wide receivers: Loga Fonoimoana
>> Defensive line: Paulo Kamakeeaina
>> Middle linebackers: Lesa Maiava
>> Outside linebackers: Aofaga “Al” Wily Sr.
>> Safeties: Keala Santiago Sr.
>> Cornerbacks: Les Kekahuna (volunteer)


  1. irizary June 7, 2016 1:42 pm

    Cant wait to see who will replace Tongi at the smashmouth FB position. I know that kid Lombard will be in the mix as he is a beast but when you play smashmouth you can count on injuries so Kahuku will need to be 3-4 players deep on the oline and running back positions.

    Would be nice for one of the QB’s to step up so that Kesi can switch to RB full time. Defense should be up to par as last season.

  2. Homegrown June 7, 2016 2:27 pm

    Just a slight update…all three Vimahi brothers have been offered by BYU

  3. rrforlifebaby June 7, 2016 2:36 pm

    Looking forward to another season of high school football. curious as to how Big Red’s offense will evolve I like the kids coming back, but wondering who of the underclassmen will step up and fill the gaps left by the 2016 class.

  4. 88 June 7, 2016 3:29 pm

    Update on several key players…Four players are moving to Utah, two are returning back from the ILH, three are transferring to St. Louis, two are transferring to Punahou, one is coming from Tonga another from Samoa, one will be catching the bus everyday from Pearl city, one that lives in Waialua just got his district exemption approved, one that was living with an auntie in Kailua is moving back to Kahuku. Anyone else I miss?

  5. 88 June 7, 2016 4:09 pm

    Nice try but Im the real 88 and no I do not approve your message

  6. Mahatma Gandhi June 7, 2016 4:25 pm

    88, is that for realz? The transfers. Or are you just playing around? You got names if it is true?

  7. Mahatma Gandhi June 7, 2016 4:28 pm

    irizary, Lombard never carried the ball last year. He was a lead blocker only.
    I see Sefa Ameperosa listed as having graduated. He never played in the state championship game. He must have been hurt.

  8. 88 June 7, 2016 5:10 pm

    FullBack position is a lock with the Kefu kid. If you watched the J.V. games last year you seen first hand what this kid did to opposing defenses.

  9. RDag June 7, 2016 5:17 pm

    Number of starters lost to graduation: 30
    Number of seniors lost to graduation: 11
    So were the other 19 starters lost to graduation not seniors? How can that be? Don’t they need to be seniors to graduate?

  10. red x June 7, 2016 6:03 pm

    I know that the jv back went to orem and he would’ve been the third RB .

  11. rrforlifebaby June 7, 2016 7:17 pm

    The Maiava kid moved to Utah? Dang…

  12. Football June 7, 2016 9:00 pm

    Heard Harmon brown is starting rb,kesi is a lb,freshmen qb is fighting for starting position .A few st.louis and punahou kids are back home and our defense should be beast again.

  13. Setu taifane June 8, 2016 12:12 am

    I just love these coaching styles. Kahuku is like the bull of all the schools. Can’t wait to watch this season unfold

  14. Red Raider 4 Life June 8, 2016 3:36 am

    Cant wait for the Vegas trip..cant wait for this season. Dang OC16/Time Warner now requires you to have a time warner login to watch oc16. hows that for us that live on the mainland and in another providers area. Auwe…

  15. Northshore June 8, 2016 5:21 am

    IRT: RDag: Just a typographical error by SA. It’s just simple math. If you have 11 returning starters, obviously, starters lost to graduation will be 11, equaling 22 (defense and offense). The number of seniors lost to graduation is 30. No big thing

  16. SimpleSimon June 8, 2016 9:49 am

    Maiava kid ain’t going anywhere. He’s staying put at Kahuku.

    But in other news (rumors), word on the North Shore streets is that John Hao is leaving Kahuku. Can anyone verify?

  17. Nick Abramo June 8, 2016 10:24 am

    Thanks North Shore. We fixed the numerical mistake.

  18. 88 June 8, 2016 12:26 pm

    Which Maiava boy? Wesley Maiava is the 10th grade RB, Soljay Maiava is the 9th grade QB – Both are superstars in the making…since we already have great RB’s I would put Wesley at corner back or slot receiver.

  19. 88 June 8, 2016 12:30 pm

    I dont think John Hao is leaving the program, he is taking advantage of technology and innovating the OC position at Kahuku. He will be leaving his ipod and speaker on the bench, hit play and leave it on repeat…..”Run left, run middle, run right”, then he is going to go home and watch the game in hi-definition on oc16

  20. red x June 8, 2016 12:43 pm

    @ simplesimon wesley maiava is at Orem right now.

  21. 88 June 8, 2016 12:54 pm

    Whats going on in OREM? The backup QB in Kapolei, several backups from Kahuku over the years and now Wesley (who will be a back up RB on the varsity) have all gone to Orem. Is Orem that terrible of a program that all the leftovers get sent to start over there?

  22. 88 June 8, 2016 5:44 pm

    No team in the State of Hawaii was able to stop the “run left, run middle, run right”. Coach is doing something right. If it ain’t broke……..

  23. Polo June 8, 2016 11:16 pm

    Orem is a program that’s trying to buy the kids. They are scrubs and tries to come here and take our boys away. Just ask the Savea boys from Kapolei. The parents are bigger idiots to let their boys go or bigger idiots if they relocate to utah just for football and play for Orem. The jv teams here would beat them! Kahuku is going to be a national power house! Hawaii is the hotbed for recruiters right now. I can see all those boys returning home a year later and find themselves on the bench and a year behind our program.

  24. 88 June 9, 2016 6:32 am

    Eeeeiooo call the family names… Not cool

  25. Polo June 9, 2016 7:05 am

    Sorry if you 88 thought I was calling the families names. If you read properly it was towards Orem as being scrubs. Nothing but respect for my Savea nephews and I wish they went to kahuku instead of Orem. As I recall in one of your comments, you was the one calling them names ” Leftovers” sent there to start! Orem are the SCRUBS you fuam! Lmao!

  26. Polo June 9, 2016 7:13 am

    Just frustrated! Had too much at the mix last night and this conversation came up! My apologies to all the families, I’m the idiot! ! They did what they had to do that they felt was best for them. Just frustrated with all our boys leaving to the ILH and now Orem of all places. Ofa lahi atu!

  27. 88 June 9, 2016 7:19 am

    Dooooon’t explain yo lyphe boi…….

  28. SimpleSimon June 9, 2016 10:02 am

    Run left run right will turn to RB broken brains. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? Look what happened to Aofaga Wily? Don’t let history repeat itself. Have confidence in the kids. Kahuku athletes are some of the most talented. Take advantage of their athleticism.

  29. 88 June 9, 2016 10:21 am

    Yup broken bones every year and worse CTE in their brains it wont show now but in 10 years when they suffer migraines every morning they will know where it came from….run left run right. Poor kids! and poor fans and community that restrict them to only smash mouth.

  30. 88 June 9, 2016 11:22 am

    Broken bones every year? That’s a new one.

  31. 88 June 9, 2016 11:42 am

    I believe the athletes from Kahuku took advantage of their athleticism and BEAT every team they played last year. And the “Poor and Restricted FANS” showed up in the THOUSANDS to cheer them on

  32. 88 June 9, 2016 3:27 pm

    Its all worth the risk, besides its not me or my body out there getting banged up, yup im one of the thousands cheering!

  33. 88 June 9, 2016 4:00 pm

    Uhhhh okay…..

  34. Ackrite June 9, 2016 5:33 pm

    Kahuku is gonna open it up this season with a freshman QB… Kid is the TRUTH!!!

  35. 808Football June 9, 2016 5:50 pm

    What about Jordan Martiagi will he have a shot at QB this year?

  36. Hahashandah June 10, 2016 10:35 am

    They actually return a passing QB already, #30. His passes were few but very accurate. The freshman I have heard is doing really well.

  37. 89 June 10, 2016 12:53 pm

    Stop all the nonsense!! Kahuku will not repeat! They had a good run last year but that comes to a dead-end this year. 88 you are killing me. 88 must’ve been the year you guys was getting spanked from St. Louis. Kahuku will be good but will fall short of a repeat. The title will be back in the ILH.

  38. 88 June 10, 2016 1:17 pm

    How much money is the ILH willing to pay to get the title back? They almost bought the whole conference for 3million so that they can shut the OIA out of the title game.

  39. Hahashandah June 10, 2016 2:31 pm

    I don’t understand the ILH argument for more spots? I mean here you have 3-4 teams, they each have something like 3-4 chances against the same teams to win to represent the ILH in the state birth. Okay, that winner has throughly beaten all other teams in the ILH. Hands down, they won. What would be the purpose of the number 2 seed ILH of playing in states as well? So what so they can make it to the title game and lose a 4th or 5th time to the ILH champ again for the state title? You can make a similar argument about the OIA but it’s possible that the other lower seed can get lucky cause it’s only the 2 time they are playing (probably). There is a better chance of an upset there than from two teams that have played each other 3-4 times in season.

  40. Ackrite June 10, 2016 5:15 pm

    Just an update I’m hearing in the coaches circle… It’s the Maiava boys job to lose at QB… So far since voluntary workouts and spring ball he’s been out performing the 2 seniors!!! If y’all watch this kid play in pads before he’s even more impressive and super freaky athletic! My boy helps coach the DBs and the kid got legs like Mariota, no joke! It’s gonna be exciting this year for Kahuku I’m told from my north shore friends…

  41. 88 June 10, 2016 5:32 pm

    Hype so’o

  42. 808Football June 10, 2016 5:33 pm

    If it’s the freshman makes sense if it’s a close battle. I would rather go with a guy for 4 years rather then just 4 months.

  43. 90 June 11, 2016 6:44 am

    You’re right 89, agent 88 is killing me too! But you agent 89 is a Raider Hater! You really don’t know anything about Kahuku and the Mana we have! That’s the difference we have over everyone else. We truly BELIEVE in ourselves! So I’ll send James to educate you…… that’s James agent 007 aka Matt Houston! CheePono! You Fuam! Lmao! RRFL

  44. 88 June 11, 2016 10:30 am

    CheePono 89’s ngaau’s in yo mouf!

  45. 90 June 12, 2016 12:46 pm

    ^^^ lmao @88 but he loves yo mouf because u no brush teef! Lmao

  46. Matuu Pulotu July 18, 2016 3:56 pm

    It will be a fun season to watch unfold as every season has its naysayers and prophets of football so to speak. Let the boys play, cheer them on and support them as they put their bodies, spirits and emotions on the field and enjoy it no matter who you cheering for. Cheer hard, play hard and then go home and sleep rather than talk smack in the comments bar. Live ALOHA.

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