St. Francis senior Chenoa Johnston sent six extra-point kicks out of eight attempts through the uprights last Friday in a 62-0 win over Anuenue in a nonleague, regular-season opener for both teams.
Scoring points is not unusual for Johnston, who lost count after 18 extra points last season as a junior for the Saints. But, the fact that she, yes, she, kicked six of them in one game in a sport mostly reserved for boys, is noteworthy.
Since 1994, there have been numerous girls kicking extra points, along with one girl who scored a touchdown, in Hawaii high school football. Johnston’s six in one game is believed to be a record for a girl. Read Jerry Campany‘s story about the history of Hawaii’s girls kickers here: http://www.hawaiiprepworld.com/football/more-than-just-for-kicks/
Johnston, who lives in Aiea with relatives so she can attend school on Oahu, is from Keaau on Hawaii island. The 5-foot-9, 130-pound kicker played a lot of soccer and credits her uncle, Kyle Nakaya, with getting her interested in football.
“He was joking around and told me to come over and kick a football,” Johnston said about Nakaya, who is a teacher at St. Francis. “He thought I would kick it weird or bad, but when I kicked it, he was like, ‘You need to play football.’ The ball was going into the neighbors yard and he told me he liked the sound of it, not just a thud, and that it was going so straight.”
Johnston was afraid when she went to try out for the football team.
“I was really nervous and filled with anxiety,” she said. “I didn’t know if they would welcome me or if they would think I could kick good enough.”
The nervousness was similar the first time she stepped on the field for an extra-point attempt.
“I told the coaches I was scared,” he said. “They just said keep your head down. And I did it.”
That extra-point in 2014 was the first in varsity school history. The team, under coach Michael Ulufale, did not make any extra points in its first varsity season in 2013.
Even better in Johnston’s eyes, it happened during a 33-14 win at Keaau on the Big Island, and that’s where her family lives.
“It was super important because my dad was there,” Johnston said.
Last season, Johnston met the first two girls to kick extra points in Hawaii, Tui Moe Stephenson of Punahou and Heather Holbron of Moanalua, and they have been supportive of her since.
The Saints (1-0) visit Konawaena for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday. It will be the Wildcats’ regular-season, nonleague opener.