TRENCH WARFARE: Eletise vs. Leilehua

Kaiser's Michael Eletise is the top offensive line prospect in the state this year. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
Kaiser’s Michael Eletise is the top offensive line prospect in the state this year. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

He is considered the top lineman in the state and committed to Arizona just before the start of the season. Kaiser’s Michael Eletise (6-4, 305) kicks off our 2015 series of Trench Warfare.

As a reminder, each series is scored on a 10-9 scale like it’s a boxing round.

Eletise, playing left guard, starts off against Jeremy Atiz Nerveza and has him 5 yards downfield in seconds as Kaiser runs right behind him for 4 yards. Netane Muti moves on him the next play and gets around Eletise’s left side but the run was to the right. Muti gets him on the next play and sends Eletise back pedaling to the ground. DE Braxton Victor is up next and the two stonewall each other at the line of scrimmage on a pass play. Victor goes on him against and Eletise pushes him away initially but Victor bounces off. Muti gets the sack from the other side to force a punt. Eletise got thrown around once by Muti to give the Mules the round. 10-9 Leilehua.

Nerveza starts off on Eletise and is pushed back 3 yards as the run goes right behind Eletise for a yard. Two quick runs away and on fourth down, Eletise handles Nerveza as the run goes behind for 4 yards but it’s a yard short and Kaiser turns it over on downs. No defensive lineman came close to getting in the backfield on that drive. Eletise 10-9.

Eletise has one play but nothing happens as Kaiser snaps it over the QB’s head for a safety. No round there.

Nobody lines up across from Eletise on first play. Victor is out wide to his right but Eletise shows good footwork to get out there quickly and make the block. Third-and-inches and Kaiser fumbles but then goes behind Eletise as LB Austin Abe is sent back. Eletise picks up Victor rushing to Eletise’s left and opens a small hole. Eletise gets off his block quickly and gets up the field but nobody there to block as ball is swung out wide. Third-and-6 and Eletise opens a hole as he sends Nerveza way to his left to clear space but the run is only for 4 yards and Kaiser punts….or not. The round continues as Leilehua is penalized. Eletise crashes in to block the defensive tackle and seals off a lane perfectly. Eletise gets out on the screen and he is moving. McDaniel stays on his hip as Eletise blocks 40 yards down the field for a big gainer. Eletise misses the block there. Couldn’t see who got by him. Pass blocking on Nerveza the next play and Eletise doesn’t move a step backward. Third down and nobody lines up on Eletise who just helps out on the DT again. Leilehua isn’t lining up anyone directly opposite Eletise. Muti goes 1-on-1 on him on fourth down and Eletise keeps him at bay. Pass is incomplete through. 10-9 Eletise.

Eletise back out after playing a few snaps on defense. WOW. First play and Victor rushes from Eletise’s left and he gets both arms on him and just shoves him to the ground. Muti is back lined up one-on-one and this is the matchup we like. They collide and Muti gets a step before Eletise gets ahold of him and shoves him back a good 3 yards. Impressive. Eletise sets up a screen on the next play but Tom takes off the other way before he can block anyone. 10-9 Eletise.

Leilehua sends the blitz and Eletise picks up the outside guy but the linebacker fills and forces an incompletion. We see Eletise pull for the first time and block Muti on the right side of the line. Leilehua blows the play up but Eletise got there for the block. Miscommunication on third down as the left tackle helps on Eletise’s guy and leaves the end who comes in for the sack. Don’t think Eletise needs much help there. 10-10.

Muti lines up opposite Eletise and Eletise delivers the block and then bounces off to pick up the blitzing linebacker and drops him at the line. Bad snap and a screen that is blown up and it’s a punt. Eletise 10-9. That first play was nice.

Eletise pulls on first down as they fake the run one way and go the other. He didn’t block anyone as Tom tkes off quickly. Another run the other way. Leilehua brings the blitz on third down and Eletise can’t figure out who to block and they blow up the running play to force a punt. Nice design on the blitz by the Mules that confused Eletise, who didn’t have much of a chance. 10-9 Leilehua.

Eletise tries to rush around Eletise who just follows him into the backfield and then shoves him another 5 yards. LB Devin Griffiths comes in to stop the next run and Eletise blasts him backwards and has the perfect view of a TD run by Parker Higgins. 10-9 Eletise.

HALFTIME: Leilehua leads 9-7 in a defensive battle marred by mistakes by both teams. As for the battle in the trenches, Eletise is an intriguing prospect. It’s a little different evaluating guard play than seeing the tackles go 1-on-1 on the outside. Comparing him to Punahou’s Semisi Uluave last year, who is now at Cal, Eletise is definitely more on the athletic side. Outside of the third play from scrimmage when he sort of got tangled up and then thrown to the ground, he has been really good in one-on-one matchups. Missed one blitz pickup but other than that, Leilehua has stayed away a lot from going right at him.

Eletise starts off crashing down on the linebacker Griffiths, and drives him back. That is a mismatch. Great block on Nerveza allows the cutback by Tom for a big gain. Nerveza goes nowhere on the pass block. Nerveza gets off the block on the run behind Eletise and makes the tackle for a 2-yard gain. Third down and Eletise extends his arm and just bats Nerveza away from him. No rush from that side is coming on passing plays. Fourth down and nobody stands over Eletise but they lineup two linebackers right there off the ball on each side of the defensive end. Eletise takes the inside backer and another backer comes from the other side where Eletise’s spot is and he doesn’t see him, forcing the quick incompletion. Nice design. 10-9 Eletise.

Eletise takes his first snap at left tackle and seals off the entire left side to allow Higgins to get around him on the run. Eletise finishes off the play blocking a DB. Eletise and Victor one-on-one in this formation. Victor speed rushes around the edge but run was up middle. Eletise seals off the left side completely again blocking a LB and a DB as they run option his side for a big gain. This is the best Kaiser’s offense has looked and it began with Eletise moving to LT. Mules load his side but it’s a quick pass as Eletise took the inside guy. Eletise blocks the inside guy again and leaves Victor all alone and Victor tackles Tom for a loss. He took the wrong guy there. He’s at tackle now so he’s gotta set the edge. Touchdown pass on the next play as Eletise handled a linebacker easily. 10-9 Eletise.

Eletise back at LT again. He lets the outside guy go as it’s a Tom run to the right. Kaiser puts a TE to Eletise’s left but it’s a fumble. No round there.

Eletise back at left guard and Victor is on the ground after a shove in the back on the first play. Eletise with the block on Victor again but Kaiser runs the other way. Kaiser pounding it with the run and the lead as Eletise is one-on-one each play and driving guys back. DL Anthony Almazan is slow to get up after trying to go up on Eletise 1-on-1. Kaiser chewing up 2 or 3 yards each play running right on Eletise’s back. Quick pass. A personal foul forces Kaiser to punt. 10-9 Eletise.

Kaiser starts on the Mules 9 after an INT. Bad snap on first play but they were going to run right behind Eletise, who is at left guard. Eletise throws Victor inside and Higgins goes right behind him the other way to the 2 for a 10-yard gain. Eletise opens that hole. Eletise trucks his guy and it’s a TD. 10-9 Eletise.

Kaiser ball with 2 minutes left to run the clock out and Eletise pancakes Nerveza to spring a run of 15 yards. Kaiser will take knees.

FINAL: Eletise gets the nod 9-2-1 in this scoring system. It’s not surprising at all he has received the attention he has. The athleticism and the quickness he shows at that size pops off the charts. Impressive performance in an impressive win for Kaiser, which locks up the third seed in the OIA Red. Cougars win 22-9.


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