Kahuku offensive coordinator John Hao has an interesting decision to make.
The former Saint Louis standout quarterback has something that he didn’t think was possible: four quarterbacks who can legitimately throw the ball.
So, not a bad problem to have for the team ranked No. 4 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Preseason Top 10. But, which one will rise up?
Kesi Ah-Hoy, the veteran running back who played some quarterback as a sophomore a year ago, is in the mix, and so is Jordan Mariteragi, the Kamehameha junior transfer who got most of the reps and looked solid during Friday’s 44-30 scrimmage loss to Mililani.
Cameron Renaud, the JV starter from a year ago, and Kekona Neumann are also vying for the starting spot.
Ah-Hoy did not play against Mililani due to a minor groin injury. In limited action at QB last season, Ah-Hoy completed eight of nine passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns.
Hao guaranteed that the Red Raiders will not veer far off from their institionalized ground game, but he also promised they would be multi-faceted.
“The offensive line (coached by former Indianapolis Colts lineman Makoa Freitas) makes the offense,” he said. “If they can pass block, we’ll be passing a lot, too. More and more receivers came out for the team when they heard they were getting coaches from the Saint Louis passing offense (former Crusaders star Gerald Welch is a receivers coach). We think we can bring a lot to this field as far as passing goes. I know we are going to (pass), but how much (is the question)?”
Hao said two juniors are rising to the top of the depth chart as receivers — Royce Pau and Morgan Capillan. Senior Keala Santiago, a dynamic talent as a defensive back and kick and punt returner, could also line up as a wideout.
Vavae Tata, who oversees a defense that returns three players from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s All-State first through third teams (Santiago, fellow defensive back Hirkley Latu and linebacker Manaia Atuaia) is the team’s third head coach in the last three years, and Red Raiders fans on the North Shore are clamoring for the ultimate prize, an eighth Division I state championship since the tournament began in 1999.
Kahuku went 9-3 and made it to the state semifinals last season in Lee Leslie‘s only year as head coach after not qualifying for the states in 2013 in the final year under Reggie Torres.
Prior to that, with Torres as coach, Kahuku won two straight D-I state titles in 2011 and 2012.
For more on the Red Raiders, check out Nick Abramo’s preview story that ran in Monday’s Star-Advertiser.