SUMMER summary: ‘Iolani Raiders

‘Iolani quarterback Tai-John Mizutani will return for the 2017 season. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Prep World will be releasing summer previews of all 29 Oahu varsity football teams in advance of the 2017 season that kicks off in early August.



>> 2016 record and finish: (5-8, 0-6 ILH D-I; lost 33-0 to Saint Louis in the ILH D-I playoffs, beat Moanalua 17-14 in the D-I state tournament first round, beat Campbell 35-12 in D-I state tournament semifinals, lost 31-20 to Mililani in the D-I state final

>> Number of returning starters: 5 offense, 3 defense

>> Number of returning seniors: 6 offense, 3 defense

>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 6 offense, 8 defense

>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 23

>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: KJ Pascua, third-team RB

>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: Justin Genovia, second-team REC

>> Among 2017 key offensive returnees: Tai-John Mizutani, Sr., QB, 6-2, 180; Justin Genovia, Sr., WR, 5-9, 170; Drake Shigemura, Sr., SB, 5-9 160; Charles Kam, Sr., OL, 6-3, 240; Aki Iwakiri, Jr., OL, 5-9, 190.

>> Among 2017 key defensive returnees: Max Chaisomkhun, DL, Sr., 6-2, 260; Jake Angelo, Sr., DB, 5-10, 175; Kyler Mento, Jr., DB, 5-7, 160; Kaua Nishigaya, Jr., DB, 5-7, 150.

>> Raiders with Division I FBS college offers: None

>> All-time state championships: 8 (all in D-II — 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)

>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: 1 co-title (1980, with Waianae)

>> All-time ILH championships: 17 (6 in D-I — 1939, 1940, 1950, 1968, 1972, 1980; 11 in D-II — 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

>> 2017 conference: ILH D-II

>> 2017 state tournament declaration: D-II

Head coach WENDELL LOOK on the Raiders’ outlook for 2017:

“It’s business as usual so far this summer. The kids are getting ready to open up the season. I think this year the fact that we’re playing in Division II, it’s fitting for this team in terms of our physical size and numbers. That’s where this team should be in terms of level of competition. Last year, we had a totally different team than what we have this year. Last year, we physically could somewhat compete with D-I teams. We survived the ILH D-I season (going 0-6) and that prepared us to play in the state tournament at the D-I level. That’s the plus. We didn’t win an ILH game, but playing that competition and coming out of it somewhat healthy was helpful for us. It would be helpful for anybody.

“It was great for them to get that competition — the ones that are returning. They were resilient. We lost half the team to graduation, but in general, our kids are resilient regardless. Those are the kind of kids we have here.

“Generally, summer is the time for them to lay the foundation for the ILH season coming up. So, our offseason schedule hasn’t changed from last year to this year. We just kind of have business as usual. The kids are focused in on getting physically and and mentally ready to play in the ILH.

“Physically, we’re going to be on the smaller side and that’s why we are in Division II. It’s tough football and great competition in D-II. It always has been for us. To say differently is disprectful to those teams. Everybody thinks that it’s easy because we’ve had success over the years. It’s not easy. I’ve always said that. These are good teams. They are competitive teams. We have a little success and people think that when we walk on the field we’re gonna win. Our kids have had to work hard and earn every bit of success we’ve had. Nothing was given to us. It has always been tough.

“You look back when Saint Louis made that run of Prep Bowls. The other teams said, ‘We have to do something to get better and keep up with them.’ Hopefully that has happened in Division II. And I think everybody has stepped up their game even higher now to compete with each other. You see the results. It’s tough football. That’s why we have these divisions so that you have good teams that play against common competition. And that’s what you get … great football.

“Before one of our games last year we watched Damien play Pac-Five and it went to triple or quadruple overtime. That had to be one of the most exciting games I’ve seen in all my years. Common competition, that’s what we’re striving for in Hawaii.

“I’m expecting that if we hit 40 players for varsity, maybe 42, it will be the max. In intermediate, if we hit in the 50s that’d be the max.

“We’re looking to compete and right now we’re getting ourselves prepared and ready to compete. We can’t be worried about anybody else at this point. We’ve got long-term goals as always, but it’s the every-day work that has to get done. The kids gotta come in with a lot of focus, purpose and passion to get it done. I give all the kids in Hawaii that play football credit. It’s not easy to do in the summer months. When everbody else is having fun, football kids are getting themselves ready.”

2017 ‘Iolani football schedule
Subject to change. Click here for the latest schedule updates.
Note: The ILH regular-season schedule was not out when this article was published.

Thursday, July 27
‘Iolani at Roosevelt (scrimmage)

Saturday, July 29
Waianae at ‘Iolani (scrimmage)

Saturday, Aug. 12
Hilo at ‘Iolani

Saturday, Aug. 26
Kaimuki at ‘Iolani (Father Bray Classic)

2017 ‘Iolani varsity football staff
>> Head coach: Wendell Look (178-129-2, 27th season)
>> Defensive coordinator: Delbert Tengan
>> Linebackers: Malo Torres
>> Defensive backs: Gary Kaneshiro
>> Defensive line: Kevin Manuel
>> Defensive line: Mike Lafaele
>> Special teams: Myles Arakawa
>> Offensive coordinator and running backs: Sam Cropsey
>> Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks: Joel Lane
>> Offensive line: DJ Tano
>> Slotbacks: Tonee Suetsugu, Kela Marciel

Projected next up: Mililani Trojans


  1. anywaaaays!! June 21, 2017 3:53 pm

    Every program has to make their own decisions but we dont have to agree with it.

    He mentions St. Louis’s dominance in D1 in the 90’s as a measuring stick for everyone else to get better. Wrong, Cal Lee was recruiting and playing 19yr old kids, something no other school not even Punahou was doing, that is what kept STL at the top, it wasnt until the new HHSAA tourney format in 2000 when 19yr old kids were banned that OIA schools were able to catch up.

    Is Iolani not up for the task of “Getting Better” and being competitive in D1? Iolani lost to St. Louis last year but guess what? So did Kahuku and I bet all of the other 13 OIA schools would have lost too. You dont see them running down to D2.

    His reference to STL dominance, as if it was a good thing when it really was not, is how he feels about his Iolani’s dominance in D2, as if Iolani is the measuring stick for D2 teams to get better. In the OIA if a D2 team wins two championships they need to move up into D1 and they dont complain.

  2. Hmmmm? June 21, 2017 5:23 pm

    There are schools in the mainland that are 8X state champs at D II and they stay at D II. Only in Hawaii, where it took us forever to make classifications and change girl’s seasons, people complain about success. If a team is 8X champs in a row in DII, so be it, other teams got to get better.

  3. Mahatma Gandhi June 21, 2017 6:30 pm

    anywaays!, Cal Lee and his excessive recruiting DID destroy the competitive balance of Hawaii state high school football from 1986 to 2000. I knew St Louis had numerous Samoan recruits on their team at that time. I assumed at the time it was St Louis alumni who were finding the players and steering them to St Louis.. But recently I have become really good friends with a former St Louis All-Star player in the 1970s, and he tells me it’s Call Lee who is directing all the recruiting. That it’s him who determines what scouts go to what playgrounds to scout certain players at pop Warner games.

  4. ilh June 21, 2017 8:40 pm

    Stop whining all you Saint Louis Haters, Saint Louis was the Best team winning all those prep bowls, all jealous people complaining about the Saints and Cal Lee accomplishments, it doesn’t matter who they recruited Cal Lee was the best at it, now some other schools and coaches started to wake up and recruit also, including Punahou.

  5. HaoDaHell June 21, 2017 8:42 pm

    Just ball. If I was a D2 team, best believe at a minimum I’d be preparing, all season, for Iolani. If you aint, HAHAHAHAHAHA stand in line. When it comes to the Lou, June is in town. Talk about a visionary and leader. Gonna take the Lou far and beyond what’s been seen. Cal is along for the ride on that.

  6. Mahatma Gandhi June 22, 2017 3:52 am

    ilh, Punahou was forced into recruiting if they wanted a competitive football team.I really don’t think they wanted to decimate the rosters of schools like Kaimuki, McKinley, Roosevelt and Waipahu. Punahou had to fight damn hard to win both their state football championships. St Louis football championships in the 1990s came way too easy. I want to see a team have to fight hard to win any state championship, no matter the sport.

  7. Mahatma Gandhi June 22, 2017 4:04 am

    ilh, here is what NBA legend Jerry West has to say about competitive balance in sports. Cal Lee needs to read this:

    from Sports Illustrated magazine, June 5, 2017
    from the article “Better or Worse?” page 36
    “I don’t like parity,” West says. “I don’t like the word ‘parity’. Parity is average, and I like to see excellence. But I also like competition. I read the newspaper cover to cover every morning, and even though I don’t bet, I look at the lines in Las Vegas. We were underdogs in one game this year. We were favored in Game 2 of the conference finals by 15 points. That is insane. It’s not what anybody wants to see. At the end of the third quarter [when the Warriors led 106-75], I almost felt bad for San Antonio, but I also felt bad for our fans. Because if you’re a real fan at a playoff game, you want to see a hard-fought battle, back and forth, and at the end somebody wins by a point and you go home worn out. You’re charged. You’re edgy. But we’re up by 30-something, and I’m thinking, ‘Hmm, I’d like to leave here if I could.’ It’s the weirdest thing. I’ve never felt that way before.”

  8. bumbuchas June 22, 2017 4:49 am

    More power to the those ILH schools that recruit athletes and offer them financial packages to assist them as long as they take care of them academically. It’s what the public schools have to deal with. Surely the public schools cannot be selfish and expect a athlete to turn down the opportunity for OIA football. More power to Coach Cal, it’s what private schools do. Excessive is in one’s own definition.

    Iolani is a good fit in the 3 Tier system in the D1 bracket. In the ILH, hard to do anything w/movement in only a six team league. for the sake of survival, they should lump all of the teams together in league play. The ILH is dying w/not enough league games. Credit goes to Coach Look for maintaining their excellence and domination. That’s coaching, winning with the size disparity and limited team numbers.

  9. Mahatma Gandhi June 22, 2017 5:29 am

    bumbuchas, The Iolani Reds went winless in league play last year. What “domination” are you talking about?! I think Iolnai recruits juts enough players to be able to win the Div 2 championship every year, but not too much that they become too good where they are forced to play at the highest level and are then forced to compete with St Louis for state football championships. I say Iolani recruits. They say they don’t. But former Iolani player Josh Hauanio (sp?) is now at UH. You telling me St Louis didn’t recruit him? Keoni Makekau too. You telling me St Louis didn’t recruit him either and that their families paid the full tuition price at Iolani? yeah, right. Donny Mateaki. Sealii Epenesa too, recruit.

  10. bumbuchas June 22, 2017 9:58 am

    Winless in D1 competition but 2nd in State Tournament. 8 D2 Titles since it’s inception and 11 ILH D2 Titles. Even w/only 3 teams and 4 when Word of Life was around, it’s still hard to come out on top and that’s a credit to their program & coaching. No one said Iolani doesn’t recruit, they do but not at the level of the other Big 3. Their high academic standards limits who can come in. Compare the academic standards of St. Louis, Kamehameha to Iolani, big difference. If they went winless against the ILH D1 teams, obviously they don’t belong in the same category. D1 State Tier is their place. If you mock their success in the ILH D2, that doesn’t say much about PAC 5 and Damien. Well, you may have a pt there on those 2 FB programs, hahaha! But as I said before, let em all recruit! They (ILH) can play by themselves and the OIA can play by themselves.

  11. Sports Mom June 22, 2017 11:02 am

    As personal friends of the Makekau ohana, I know for a fact Keoni was NOT recruited by ‘Iolani. Unless one has personally spoken to the family, it is unfair to the school, the player & his family to assume that they were recruited and could not afford to attend a private school. A lot of these parents make financial sacrifices to send their kids to schools such as ‘Iolani & Punahou to first & foremost prepare them academically for the future. A lot of athletes at ‘Iolani would probably welcome less homework and less of a commute by attending another school, but these families know that ‘Iolani prepares those kids well for life after high school. I am a mom to two public school athletes as well as two private school athletes so I see both sides. Parents have chosen to transfer between public schools without being recruited by the coach. I know a couple of players from Campbell who went to play for Rich Miano at Kaiser & they were not recruited. The players/parents will gravitate to certain public schools/coaches on their own for their own children’s development and the schools they choose is usually a testament to the school’s academic resources as well as coaching staff. If a coach knows of a potential transfer & the player’s potential to make an impact, I don’t think the coach would discourage the transfer but I also don’t see or hear of the coach going all out to recruit & make the transfer happen.

  12. bumbuchas June 22, 2017 2:54 pm

    we are not saying ALL good athletes are recruited by private schools as they are many who attend on their own accord. But…..there are some that are recruited and asked to apply for financial aid and $ found to cover the difference and that’s great for them!. Been involved in both private and public school settings. I’m sure there are players who gravitated to Miano’s program on their own but let me tell you many of the elite were recruited. And that’s fine cause the OIA AD’s & Principals had knowledge of it but chose to do nothing. So, Rich & Staff continued to do so. he put his college recruiting experience to good use. We know cause the athletes would talk & brag. Recruit Hit Board of athletes targeted from different public schools, Chad Ikei’s informal persuasions of the high school athletes who paid to work out with him, boarding house in Hawaii Kai, etc. hahaha! More Power to Kaiser! they got their championship. not complaining. No private school athlete is singled out and recruiting is not said to be All of them are. BTW, Keoni Makekau is a great athlete. nothing like a Scholar-Athlete!

  13. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate June 22, 2017 4:50 pm

    coaches hold summer camps to make good relation wit player, stlous host nike camp as way to indirect groom player miano have speed camps. many ways to make favor wit elite player

  14. RidgeRunnerE-5 June 22, 2017 7:18 pm

    I’ve always viewed ‘Iolani as a Div-I program competing at the Div-II level. They definitely could’ve won a few more ILH(and Prep Bowl) titles in the ’80s-’90s.

  15. BG Grad June 22, 2017 10:23 pm

    when will kahuku fans ever stop whining? that’s the million dollar question. quite frankly, it’s getting embarrassing and reflects negatively on you and your community.

  16. rrfl June 23, 2017 8:01 am

    BG grad, no one mentioned kahuku at all in his article or any of these comments.

  17. phILHarmonic June 23, 2017 1:28 pm

    BTW, BG Grad is Education First masquerading as a Bishop Gorman grad. Same MO, choose a screen name that makes you seem somehow superior to hide real life self esteem issues. LOL!

    Star Advertiser says ILH has StL, Pun, Kam in open, stF and Damien in D1, P5 and Iolani in D2. Is this some kind of JOKE??!! Iolani slotting themselves BELOW stf and Damien so they can steamroll smaller programs and claim yet another empty State title? Feel sorry for the players having to play “low” so head coach and school can feel good about themselves. Punahou not much better. Bringing in boatloads of “student athletes” under the guise of “Diversity scholarships” to bolster their roster. Direction of school’s admissions is troubling, getting essentially mercenaries to come in to win titles in name of school.

  18. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate June 23, 2017 3:36 pm

    iolani no like work hard in d1 fo title gatta go d2 lose money

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