SPRING-ing into football season: Kailua Surfriders

Kailua's Joe Wong went winless in his first year as head coach before coaching the Surfriders to a 7-3 season that ended with a loss to Waianae in the OIA quarterfinals. Jamm Aquno / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Kailua’s Joe Wong went winless in his first year as head coach before coaching the Surfriders to a 7-3 season that ended with a loss to Waianae in the OIA quarterfinals. Jamm Aquno / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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KAILUA SURFRIDERS

>> 2015 record and finish: 7-3 (5-2 OIA Blue); beat Waipahu 57-6 in first-round of the OIA D-I playoffs and lost to Waianae 37-22 in the quarterfinals
>> Number of returning starters: 11 (6 offense, 5 defense)
>> Number of returning seniors: 20
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 11
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 23
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: Nilsson Gaison (third-team OL), Noah Auld (third-team QB)
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: Christian Mejia (first-team DE)
>> OIA Blue All-Stars lost to graduation: Martin Tigilau (first-team WR), Nilsson Gaisoa (first-team OL), Kalei Machado (first-team DB), Noah Auld (second-team QB), Koolau Gaspar (second-team WR), Kawehi Kohatsu (second-team DL), Uhi Mikaele (second-team DL), Awa Byers (second-team DB)
>> OIA Blue All-Stars returning: Christian Mejia (first-team DL), Gabriel Lelesch (second-team RB), Sione Veikoso (second-team OL)
>> Among 2016 key offensive returnees: Sione Veikoso (OL, Jr.), Elias Wong (OL, Sr.), Mark Lagazo (RB, Sr.), Gabriel Lelesch (RB, Sr.), Nick Vaimaona (OL, Sr.)
>> Among 2016 key defensive returnees: Christian Mejia (DL, Sr.), Taylor Tagupa (DL, Jr.), Mark Lagazo (DB, Sr.), Nick Vaimaona (DL, Sr.), Gabriel Lelesch (LB, Sr.)
>> Surfriders with Division I FBS college offers: Christian Mejia (DL, Sr.)
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1999) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: 4 (*including 1 co-championship) — 1963, 1964, 1965, *2001
>> 2016 conference: OIA Red (D-I)

Head coach JOSEPH WONG on the Surfriders’ outlook for 2016:


“Things are going good and we’ve got a good turnout right now and have been working since February. We don’t have padded spring ball anymore, so we’re making do.

“Last year was a really good team, and we have a lot of returnees. As a staff, we know these kids actually raised that bar higher last year. So going into this year, it’s very promising. They’re a little bit more eager and want to learn more because they want to be better. They’re paying attention to detail that much more. They want to one up last year’s team. That’s how I preach how Kailua football has been. We’ve never been big on numbers, but quality football is there and it’s common to be called on to play both ways, if asked. And It’s an honor to go both ways.

“You always want to be balanced. We didn’t know we were that balanced last year until after the season when we added up the stats. It doesn’t get better than that. Most coaches you talk to say they’re 70-30 or 60-40. We were 50-50, and we put up a lot of numbers. We want to continue to do what we did and build on it. The players who have returned and those who are up from the JV been in the system for two years. So, for them, it’s like putting on your underwear every day. You know it’s going to be comfortable. They’re more confident.


“We’re going to run and pass. Whatever they give, we will take it. If we have to earn it more against some opponents than others, we’ll earn it and go out and make the least amount of mistakes as possible. When you have turnovers of the ball and turnovers of downs, your chances of winning go down. The ones who have the least turnovers of downs or the ball, the chances of winning goes up.

“I challenged them after last season to set one goal, and that is to be better than last year. We want to shave off one loss from last year and take that next step. They believe that they can be better and will be better. I believe that we can do that. The JVs had a good season and lost a lot of close games. They’ll be prepared. And the JV class will complement the juniors who are now seniors.”


2016 Kailua football schedule
Check here for the latest schedule updates: http://bit.ly/2958rWe
>> July 29: Radford (scrimmage only)
>> July 30: Saint Louis (scrimmage only)
>> Aug. 5: at Aiea (nonleague)
>> Aug. 13: Moanalua
>> Aug. 20: vs. Farrington, at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
>> Aug. 27: Bye
>> Sept. 2: at Nanakuli
>> Sept. 10: Leilehua
>> Sept. 16: at Kapolei
>> Sept. 23: Mililani
>> Oct. 1: Castle

2016 Kailua varsity football staff
>> Head coach: Joseph Wong (7-10, third season)
>> Offensive coordinator: Afton Smith
>> Offensive line: Kevin Pagan
>> Running backs: Vic Tolentino
>> Wide receivers: Tony Agcaoili
>> Quarterbacks: Justin Pagan
>> Wide receivers: Dayton Ah Nee
>> Defensive coordinator: Chris Jose
>> Defensive line: Kimo Grieg
>> Linebackers: Jarrett Machado
>> Defensive backs: Paul Serikawa
>> Assistant head coach and defensive ends: Frank Gaspar Jr.

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