No. 8 Kaiser
Cameron Higgins has faced quite a few challenges since taking over for Rich Miano last season as the Kaiser head football coach.
The latest was his No. 1 quarterback, junior Justin Uahinui, transferring to Farrington two weeks before the season opener. Uahinui said earlier this week it was his parents decision, but the end result is a Cougars team scrambling to retool their offense.
Numbers are down at Kaiser but there’s still plenty of talent, enough to garner a No. 8 ranking in the Star-Advertiser preseason Top 10. Granted, voting was held before news of Uahinui’s departure, but the Cougars will be OK with senior athlete Nic Tom getting the first-team reps at quarterback.
It’s no secret now. The Cougars are going to try and run the ball at will, using multiple looks and personnel out of the backfield. Senior Jensen McDaniel (1,135 yards, 21 TDs) will again be the workhorse, but the Cougars will be able to get creative, using looks with Tom, McDaniel and star linebacker Parker Higgins all lined up in the backfield. With an experienced offensive line led by the top high school recruit in the state, Michael Eletise, who committed to Arizona earlier this week, Kaiser should still be able to move the ball.
Higgins thought his team wore down at the end of last season and with most guys playing two ways again (expect McDaniel to see lots of time at cornerback and Tom at safety), he will have to be smart with resting guys at the right time.
Kaiser was involved in two of the most memorable games of the 2014 season, a 20-19 upset win over Kahuku and a 54-48 shootout win over Moanalua in the first round of the OIA playoffs.
The Cougars should be exciting to watch once again, but do they have enough depth to make a serious run in the OIA Red is the question.