When then-sophomore Joshua Tihada scored from 4 yards out to end last season’s epic seven-overtime championship game for Lahainaluna against Konawaena, it shouldn’t have been much of a surprise.
Even before that score, Tihada cemented his place as one of the most efficient touchdown scorers in state history.
Tihada’s weary score was his 10th in 20 years of the state tournament, breaking a tie with Aofaga Wily of Kahuku and Farrington’s Tyler Taumua for second most in history. Tihada compiled those scores in five games, and the junior is back for more.
He will go for the record held by Saint Louis legend BJ Batts, who broke the plane on runs 12 times in nine games despite Ron Lee‘s pass-heavy scheme. Batts needed 95 carries to get there, Tihada took 76 but could potentially play as many as five more games in the state tournament.
Half of the players with seven or more touchdowns played in the lower tier of their tournaments. Tihada broke the school record of seven shared by Makoa Filikitonga, Aliksa Pidha and Jared Rocha-Islas last year.
Eight of Tihada’s 10 touchdowns came last year. The sheer volume of carries puts him only ninth all-time in touchdown percentage among backs with more than 25 carries, scoring on 13 percent of his carries to Batts’ 12.6 percent. Kapaa’s Shain Davis leads that group with touchdowns on 20 percent of his 25 carries (five TD’s).
Campbell’s Kawika Ulufale has the greatest percentage among players with at least five carries, scoring on four of his 13 attempts. Kaluka Maiava of Baldwin and Kamehameha’s Kupono Park each scored on 40 percent of their carries, although they both only carried it five times.
Only six players in state tournament history can claim perfection in this trivial category, scoring on the only carry of their careers. Simione Vehikite of Kaimuki leads the way with an 11-yard score on his only attempt, joined by Mokihana Silva of KS-Maui (9 yards), Castle’s Loren Lum (7), Galen Arakawa of Punahou (7), Castle’s Louis Manases (6) and Sione Faleofa of Leilehua (1).
Celebrations is far from the best measure of a runner, though, as evidenced by the list of players with the most carries without ever running a score in. That list is led by Mililani’s McKenzie Milton with 53, followed by old-school hammer Lono Manners of Waianae (49) and Waimea’s Chelsey Barba (48).