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.
14TH IN A SERIES
>> 2016 record and finish: 3-5 (3-4 OIA Red); lost 41-12 to Waianae in first round of OIA Division I playoffs
>> Number of returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 3 offense, 2 defense
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 12
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: Christian Mejia, first-team DE
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: Sione Veikoso, second-team OL
>> Among 2017 key offensive returnees: Aaron Mejia, Sr., QB; Tanner Wright, Sr., WR; Sione Veikoso Sr., OL; Chauncey Gonsalves-Bell Sr., RB; Halii Iaea, Sr., OL.
>> Among 2017 key defensive returnees: Taylor Tagupa, Sr., DL; Leighton Russell, Jr., LB; Dakota Kadooka, Sr., DB; Bruddah Spencer-Choy Foo, Sr., DB; Kolo Hanawahine-Wong, Sr., LB
>> Surfriders with Division I FBS college offers: Sione Veikoso, OL
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1999) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: 4 (all D-I, *including 1 co-championship — 1963, 1964, 1965, *2001)
>> 2017 conference: ILH Red (D-I)
>> 2017 state tournament declaration: Divisin I-Open
Head coach JOE WONG on the Surfriders’ outlook for 2017:
“We’ve got more than six starters on both sides of the ball coming back. Altogether, we lost four starters, so we return a good number of kids. We’ve got a lot of young talent, with lots of kids having one year under their belts as sophomores and juniors. We’ll have sophomores starting again for us. The best players (from JV) come up.
“The kids who have been with us for four years know the ins and outs. They’ve been here for a long time and this year they’re trying to reap the benefits of it. Kailua is not a big school population-wise. There’s about 700 students. We’ve got about 80 kids (combined varsity and JV) at practice right now. Hopefully we can get up to 90 or 100 players. If we can do that year-in and year-out, maybe our two communities, Kailua and Waimanalo, will like that and we’ll get to keep the kids at home. Right now, we’ve probably got 40 and 40 on the two teams and that’s just what lined up to do stretches at practice (Thursday). We may get up to 45 or 50 each. The percentage of players we get from a small population school is tremendous.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses and telling you what we would have done last year. I don’t like to make excuses. It is a fact that our first-string quarterback Aaron Mejia and our second-string quarterback Keoni Serikawa both got hurt. Both got collarbone injuries when they fell the wrong way on routine plays. They had been battling for the starting position. They were told that whoever lost that battle was going to make the team stronger, with the other one at wide receiver. It would have been great if they did not get hurt. We ended up going with third-stringer Mark Lagazo (a running back) and he did a great job. Keoni (a 2017 graduate) would have been unreal. He’s 6-4 and can run, too.
“So I look back and see that just the Farrington game and the Waianae game in the playoffs, we didn’t have a chance. All other games, we were in it to win it or just a couple of plays away from winning. You could see the talent that we had on that team. And now, this season, I’ve never played on or coached a team that returns this much talent and depth.
“What we rely on is coaching and the system we run and the backup we have from the administration. I tell the coaches that they’re going to get talent, but if they coach up the other ones, we’re going to be really good. We’ve got a lot of athletes here.
“The goal for every team should be winning a conference championship, whether it’s Pop Warner, high school or college. That should be everybody’s goal. We were right there for the last two years. Two years ago, we played tough, hard-fought games against Farrington and Mililani. Against Mililani, we were ahead and lost on turnovers in the second half.
“Last year, we returned a good core from what we had the year before. Same thing as going into this year, we had lost four crucial guys, but other guys stepped in and filled the void. We scratched and clawed to try and salvage the season. Had we not messed up and lost against Castle, maybe we would have been hosting a playoff game instead of going to Waianae. You can’t give away those kinds of opportunities.
“We’re on the cusp of being a power and being great. We gotta take care of business and take care of things we can take care of. If you go in and don’t want to win your conference, something is wrong. I’m sure Rolo (Nick Rolovich) comes in (at the University of Hawaii) and the ultimate goal is to win the conference. For us the next goal is to get to the playoffs, then get deep into playoffs, maybe host a playoff game. But to start off, it’s win the conference championship.”
2017 Kailua football schedule
Subject to change. Click here for the latest schedule updates.
Thursday, July 27
>> Kailua at Radford (scrimmage)
Saturday, July 29
>> Kailua at Saint Louis (scrimmage), 9 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 4
>> Aiea at Kailua (scrimmage)
Friday, Aug. 11
>> Kailua at Moanalua
Friday, Aug. 18
>> Buckeye Union (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) at Kailua
Saturday, Aug. 26
>> Nanakuli at Kailua
Friday, Sept. 1
>> Farrington at Kailua
Saturday, Sept. 9
>> Kapolei at Kailua
Friday, Sept. 15
>> Kailua at Castle
Saturday, Sept. 23
>> Kailua at Leilehua
Saturday, Sept. 30
>> Kailua at Mililani
2017 Kailua varsity football staff
>> Head coach: Joe Wong (10-15, fourth season)
>> Offensive coordinator: Afton Smith
>> Offensive line: Kevin Pagan
>> Running backs: Vic Tolentino
>> Wide receivers: Tony Agcaoili
>> Quarterbacks: Justin Pagan
>> Associate head coach and defensive coordinator: Chris Jose
>> Defensive line: Kimo Grieg and Mana Mikaele
>> Linebackers: Jarrett Machado
>> Defensive backs: Paul Serikawa
>> Defensive ends: Frank Gaspar Jr.
>> JV head coach: Mark Lum