Waianae’s defense makes life tough for No. 2 Kahuku

Kahuku's Nalu Emerson tried to stiff arm Waianae linebacker Angus Ramaila, who still managed to make the tackle in Friday's game. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Guess who the leading rusher was in Kahuku’s 49-13 football victory over Waianae on Friday night?

Some shifty or bull-like running back from Kahuku?


It was Waianae’s Kaai Tambaoan-Kaeo, who carried the ball 15 times for 86 yards.

As a matter of fact, the two offenses were relatively equal. The Red Raiders (3-0, 1-0 OIA Open) outgained the Seariders (0-3, 0-1 Open) 173 to 133 in total yards from scrimmage.

The problem for Waianae’s offense, as it often is, was the rabid Kahuku defense. The Red Raiders may have yielded those 133 yards, but that already includes minus-115 yards due to six sacks and four other tackles for loss and two Seariders’ punt snaps that went awry.

But you can turn the table around and notice that the Waianae defense caused a ton of problems for the Kahuku offense, too. The score was just 2-0 after one quarter and 16-0 at the half.

And here is an eye-opener: Kahuku had just 13 yards rushing. Let that one sink in for a while. This is a team that is used to pounding through people.

Four straight times, Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho said the word about Waianae afterward … “Tough. Tough, tough, tough. They are basically cut from the same rock we are.”

He wasn’t just saying it to be nice. He meant it and he knows it.

Fortunately for the Red Raiders, their defense scored five times to take any wind Waianae may have had out of its sails. Linebacker Aaron Fonoimoana-Vaomu scored two TDs, once by picking up KJ Macatiag‘s blocked punt in the end zone and another by recovering a bad punt snap in the end zone.

The Red Raiders also had a safety, when Tuia Tupuola sacked Seariders punter Zefften Thompson-Avilla in the end zone. And Kaonohi Kaniho and Ace Kaufusi returned interceptions for TDs.

After the game, there was not one downcast face during Waianae’s team meeting on the field. It was all upbeat.

“These kids played their heart out,” Seariders coach Walter Young said. “I’ll take the blame and we’ll get better. Win or lose, I’m always proud of them.”

Shaydon Lopes came off the bench when Justin Tacgere hurt his shoulder and threw two TD passes to get Waianae on the board.

Lopes suffered an injury late in the game. Just as he let go his 40-yard TD pass to Daniel Wetter, he was flattened by the Red Raiders’ Tyson Pualoa.

Tausili Fiatoa was a menace for the Kahuku defense, with two sacks and two tackles for loss. Fonoimoana-Vaomu and his brother, Alex Fonoimoana-Vaumu, and Zion Ah You also had sacks for the Red Raiders.

The Red Raiders host Kapolei on Friday. Waianae is at home against Campbell next Saturday.


  1. ILHOBSERVER August 18, 2018 8:50 am

    Kahuku’s O-line is overrated. Waianae proved that Kahuku couldn’t handle the stunts and blitzes. Waianae created mismatches in the gaps that confused Kahuku’s line. Waianae’s quickness, like Punahou’s showing in the first half against Kahuku, exposed the fact that Kahuku’s linemen have a difficult time handling a quicker front seven. St. Louis’ front seven would dominate them.

  2. Coach A August 18, 2018 9:20 am

    Too bad for the 2 Waianae Qbs. Shoulder injuries are bad stuff. Waianae and Kahuku fields are the hardest in the State. Soon teams will find a way NOT to play at those places.

  3. Knation August 18, 2018 10:54 am

    I have to agree with ilhobserver! Kahuku’s oline is overrated. They can’t even run block either. St.louis and mililani is by far better than kahuku.

  4. rrforlifebaby August 18, 2018 11:11 am

    Lol. People always looking for the negative on Big Red.


  5. Choloropicrin August 18, 2018 11:14 am

    I think Kahuku and Waianae is trying to figure out who they are on offense, post Sol jay and Rico Rosario. I believe that both will eventually find their groove on offense; particularly the offensive lines.

    Both offenses wanted to spread it open and pass but the difference was Kahuku’s 1st team D front was too fast and athletic for Waianae’s O- line. I was impressed that Waianae Oline was moving Kahukus 1st team D line (which are smaller imo in recent years) and surprised that they didn’t run it more in the first half. Physical game on both sides.

  6. Hawaii five 0 August 18, 2018 11:22 am

    Hats off to Waianae they played tough no doubt about it… But kahuku kept things very Vanilla on offense. And Waianae got most of their rushing yard on Kahuku Backups. Coach Sterling has a great staff. All three phases Kahuku is deadly. I cant wait for that Sept. 7th Showdown.. both kahuku and st louis will coming off bye weeks.

  7. RedRooted... August 18, 2018 11:38 am

    As expected, the game was a tough physical game for both teams..This is as grass roots as you can get.Pure Old Sku football..All commuty based players..Waianae vs Kahuku will always be a battle..Its amazing no matter what team Kahuku plays the comments are always geared towards St.Louis or the ILH, and what they would do to Kahuku…You must remember, this is only a public school and they are private schools..Totally different rules…If they are so great, why would you want to play against the OIA public schools..Play the Teams just like you..IMG,Mater Dei, St.John Basco…etc..

  8. Tama Samoa August 18, 2018 11:46 am

    O-line or not Kahuku still won BIG. It’s all about the “W.” We are not built around an O-line or superstar players, we are a team with a focus and purpose that’s why when great players graduate or leave we are still good. We are still good because we are built around a PROGRAM and it’s focus.

  9. Mr.T August 18, 2018 12:24 pm

    ILHOBSERVER,lol overrated o-line.”like Punahou in the first half” ,what happened in the second half of that game.#5 for puns was like a chicken without a head.and the slower nibble kahuku fullback scampered 65 yards to the house.Your eyes are oversightings.Waianae always tough on D.Kahuku uses a passing scheme.what happens when the o-line starts hammering the run game.ilh look like Punahou…hands on hip don’t know what hit them lol.

  10. STOPGRUMBLN August 18, 2018 12:27 pm

    Why do people keep saying St. Louis should play teams like IMG,Mater Dei,St.John Basco ….. etc.. & keep CRYING about recruiting, first of all St. louis been trying to play those top teams since the 90’s , They don’t want to play them,and as far as recruiting GET OVER IT,Its a private school these parents don’t have to send their kids there, but they choose too for better a opportunity and education,So stop CRYING & WHINING and GET OVER IT. GO SAINTS SAINTS SAINTS!!!!!!

  11. 88 August 18, 2018 12:41 pm

    Overrated? Let me ask you Oline experts a question. Any school in the Open division have a 100 yard rusher in a game yet? Any school in the Open division get over 500 yards of total offense in a game yet? So far there is only one and according to you experts their The one with the overrated OLine. Stop hating and recognize game B!tches….

  12. anywaaaays!! August 18, 2018 1:00 pm

    I always laugh when I read the comments here. Nobody gives Kahuku any love. The media is in service to the ILH agenda. Even the OIA sold out Kahuku by approving this sham of an “alliance.” When we win, it’s always “oh well, the o-line isn’t good enough.” When we lose, everyone bags on us. That’s what it’s like to be born hated. WE play the right way: home grown players playing home grown ball. WE dont’ go out and destroy communities by recruiting. We don’t offer “scholarships” and seduce moms with “education.” Those private “schools,” if you can even call any of them “schools,” only are there to use our kids and throw them in the trash. I only see hate to the north shore and hate for us but we will always rise up and overcome.


  13. ALLILH August 18, 2018 1:23 pm

    Oh aannyywwaayyss you got enough love for Kahuku…so much got none left for anyone else! bbwwaahhaahhaahhaa!!!

  14. Slopes August 18, 2018 1:41 pm

    Anyways! Destroying communities hahaha. I thought drugs and crimes did that? not parents/kids trying to provide a better opportunity for themselves. You sound just like the die hard UH warrior fan on why our kids go to mainland colleges. Lol u make me laugh anyways

  15. Robocop August 18, 2018 2:06 pm

    It goes both ways. Kahuku trolls comment on every Saint Louis article that come up. That anyways guy crying about ILH ruining neighborhoods by giving the kids thjngs He isn’t concerned about like better education and prep for college. Aaanyways only wants the kids to stay and play football and hopefully beat ILH teams. Then he doesn’t care what they do after. He doesn’t care if the graduate, go to college, or end up homeless. As long as they play football for the school he went to because he never could play any sport.

  16. Robocop August 18, 2018 2:08 pm

    I think Kahuku has a strong o line. I would not say they are overrated at all. I doubt Kahuku will ever have a weak o line or d line

  17. Jimmy H. August 18, 2018 2:17 pm

    Kahuku uses these games to prepare for St. Louis. They’ve could’ve smashed it all night and ended up with 300 yards rushing, but they know they’ll need to air it out against stronger opponents. Smart coaching.

    It’s awesome reading the St Louis vs Kahaku trolling. Don’t get to comfy up top tho or someone like Mililani might catch you slippin’. This Open Division stuff is great.

  18. Hawaii born August 18, 2018 2:23 pm

    I’m a red raider alum but I was excited my oldest son got into kamehameha, kahuku always has good football team and players but after high school there ain’t much left…look how many good players ended up no where, muliwai pula,, aofaga, kesi,…kahuku just runs the kids hard then later they cant play anymore because of to much damage taken but hey oh well the parents had fun living the old days through there kids…we get people from mainland and other countries to play for us but we say homegrown,, Daniel fotu never lived here before but played basketball with us ..we have many not homegrown players every year its just oh that somewhere down the line they related..

  19. Afan August 18, 2018 3:40 pm

    Really?! The same guys saying the same things about recruiting and getting no respect! Kahuku is known around the nation as a great football team! They’ve got ample respect! We’re talking about teenagers here. Getting to college is the goal whether the “PARENTS” decide to send them to a private school or they stay homegrown. If the kid is good enough schools will find them. I played for an ILH school and we did have kids on financial aid or scholarship. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them and many of the starters on our team weren’t either. The goal of going to college was achieved and thru hard work it was free. It must be frustrating to see great players leave to the ILH but remember Kahuku has so many great players they just reload! Just enjoy the season!

  20. 88 August 18, 2018 3:45 pm

    Hawaii born how many good ILH players end up no where? Just because you attend a private school it doesn’t mean you automatically make it. Those three you mentioned are doing just fine. One of them is still in school and the other two are hard working family men. What is there after you grad from Kamehameha? The Merry Monarch. You killing me right now.

  21. Holy Cow August 18, 2018 4:06 pm

    Omg… can you RRFL fan stop smoking dope and commenting. The enemy of the state crap is what you guys made up. Nobody cares about what you guys do. And no private schools come into your community and sell drugs or shoot the place up. You guys know who those people are and probably related to them. God forbid kids from your community go to a private school and make their life about education as it is about football. God forbid they learn that there’s life outside of your community. Get over yourselves and how everyone hates you. If people hate you it’s cause you guys cry so damn much!

  22. 88 August 18, 2018 4:18 pm

    You obviously care. You cant complaint about a crybaby post and than post like a crybaby yourself.

  23. Lisa Vaimoui August 18, 2018 6:02 pm

    All you crybabies need to STFU. ILH/OIA, who the hell cares? Education is good no matter where a child goes. It is up to him or her to do well and move on or not. Public school vs. Private school… All BS! Only difference is the money. I am a RR alumnus but my son goes to Campbell, his choice. Point is… Let your children live their own fricken’ lives and stop trying to live through theirs. Talk about having to grow up. Sheesh! Football is not life, stop acting as if it is.

  24. TooMeke August 18, 2018 6:35 pm

    lol…just got my popcorn…

  25. ??? August 18, 2018 6:37 pm

    Nobody grumbling about recruiting, everyone is grumbling about ALL the STL alumni and STL bandwagon fans that SWEAR they don’t recruit!!
    Props to you, At least you’re MAN enough to admit they recruit 🤙🏽🤙🏽

  26. BigD August 18, 2018 8:37 pm

    Wait wasn’t it kahukus defense that made life tough?? I’m confused lol

  27. anywaaaays!! August 18, 2018 10:15 pm

    The level of hate we’re getting here is crazy. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was this bad. It’s gotten to the point where people are attacking individual players, stating that Kesi and other fine young men aren’t doing anything with his life. WOW. I knew we were enemies of the state because we win too much but the level of anger and hatred here is out of control. I think all of you guys owe Kesi and the entire kahuku community an apology

  28. YoMan August 18, 2018 10:41 pm

    Waianae coaches need to adjust. They need to run linemen both ways….DB’s need to double cover top receiver, Dline needs meat on it. Open Division is only for the best, Waianae looking like they need to be in Division 1 or 2. Defense is good, but you still have the best teams in states coming to Waianae. Get everyone healthy, let the positions coaches coach. This is football, not street ball coaches. This season will be in your hands coaches…..LETS GET IT RIGHT.

  29. BOH August 18, 2018 11:30 pm

    This article is written poorly, he forgets to take into account that the entire second D for Kahuku was the unit that got rushed on and scored on, The 1st D only played two downs the entire 4th Q and it resulted in 2 pick sixes for 14pts. Kahukus 1st D was above and beyond the ones making life hard for Waianae. Nevertheless great game both squads.

    Regardless of Kahuku staff going vanilla on offense the fact remain that tonight and just like last year playoffs when Waianae almost won, The Kahuku O.C. need to light up the scoreboard with Offensive TD’s in the first half and put the game away early, enough of this slow start and letting teams hang around. Millilani/Stl/Pun/Kam with their efficient passing offenses are usually up 28-0 at half against Waianae.

    It is also a known fact that the user “anywayyyys!!” is a Punahou grad and last years “Education First”. Punahou has no chance of winning the ILH this year so he is making trouble, I think he is “gopunahou” on the sportshawaii.com HS forum.

  30. Dafun August 18, 2018 11:30 pm

    As a former student of Louis player of the 2000’s, I can say without a doubt that there was no recruiting during my time so all the talk about recruiting is crap. If that were the case you would see bigger kids and I’m sure more kids from kahuku or even mililani too coming over to St louis

  31. BOH August 18, 2018 11:38 pm

    No one cares about recruiting but the level of recruiting that is allowed in the ILH and the level of “Transfers” allowed in OIA is night and Day. The ILH have the clear advantage and therefore both leagues should not be playing each other until the playoffs for that reason.

    The fact that Cal Lee and the STL alumni want to play OIA teams as if the playing field is even is what irritates the HELL out of OIA folks. STAY IN YO OWN LANE!!! Go play BG and IMG with your highly recruited roster!

  32. BOH August 18, 2018 11:43 pm

    Dafun you are delutional, I personally have been approached by a Punahou parent convincing me to send my 14yr old kid to Punahou to play Soccer. Was he going to pay our tuition? NO! Was he going to get us enrolled? NO! but the networking and coaxing of the alumni of these ILH schools is what drives the recruiting. STL football alumni are 10x worse, ya know, the BROTHERHOOD!

  33. Holy Cow August 20, 2018 1:09 am

    Kahuku fans are crybabies. “Enemy of the State” LOL Get over yourselves! St Louis doesn’t even have money to recruit. They’re making cuts to athletics so that’s out the window. And a lot of their best players already stated that they weren’t recruited. So get over it!
    And parents send their kids to private schools for education! That means their kids are in school with other kids who are there to learn and go to college after graduation. Not like going to a public school/Kahuku/Campbell where half the teachers don’t give a damn and 60-70% of the kids have no idea what they’re doing after graduation or even going to college.

  34. Lisa Vaimoui August 20, 2018 8:14 am

    Holy Cow… Where’s your statistics? Crybabies? Don’t take yourself outta that equation cause you fighting right back. Who cares where you go to schoo? It’s up to the child to to make the best of his or her life no matter what anyone says. Many public school graduates have gone on to be very successful, just like the private school graduates. As far as sports… It’s just an avenue for some kids to get through to the next level. Some can afford it, some cannot but who are you or anyone else to judge?

    Recruit? Transfer? Who the hell cares?!?! That is up to the child and their family(s)

    The use of fake names or aliases to comment? Come on people! Why hide behind a screen name?

  35. Gampus Segurity August 20, 2018 10:18 am

    2 things I know from working in public schools…
    1. some teachers care and most don’t
    2. kahuku fans/alumni cry about everything!!!
    refs this, refs that, they hate us, our coach sucks, its our principals fault, the teacher flunked my kid… wah! wah! wah! teach your kids how to deal with adversity and work harder instead of cry and make excuses!! and how about making sure your kid does his homework!
    thats the crap I had to deal with working in that community! act like a bunch of entitled rats!

  36. Holy Cow August 20, 2018 10:31 am

    There’s a difference between crying and defending yourself. I ain’t complaining/crying about no refs, no recruiting or transferring. Just defending the truth!

    Every kid and his or her family makes the best of what they have and receive. If its at a public school then so be it. All I know is if you surround your child with right friends and classmates in the right environment (school) they more likely to be successful. If they go to public school then you rolling the dice and have to work harder to stay on your child and monitor. I know all of this from personal experience with my schooling and my own kids. I went to public school. I’ve been in trouble. And when I left for private school I didn’t have the cruisers/bums in my classes. We were all focused on staying out of trouble, doing our work and playing ball. That’s the difference!

  37. Awrite!! August 20, 2018 7:17 pm

    In the ILH its not called crying, its called Lobbying, rubbing shoulders, scratching back, politiking..etc..

    Cal Lee is the biggest crybaby/Politician….remember the 2015 title game he lost? He didnt even stay for the ceremony and accept the 2nd place trophy.
    – The very next week on camera he mentions the idea of playing Kahuku during the regular season to “get used to their style”.
    – The next year 2016 ILH try to give the OIA $3mill to join leagues, which didnt work.
    – This year 2018 the alliance is a reality

    Now just last week Cal is still crying about the OIA not counting the vs. ILH games?!!!

    A crybaby without money is the annoying Kahuku fans
    A crybaby with money is the supposedly “Hawaii H.S. winning-est Football Coach”!

  38. Holy Cow August 21, 2018 2:16 am

    Last I checked Cal sent tons of kids to college. He does his job as a coach vouching for his kids and Getting to play Kahuku is good for Kahuku too. So what’s the gripe?! Wanting to play the OIA is good for all the kids and not just the ILH. Whereas Kahuku fans cry about refs and recruiting and all kinds of stuff. Also last I checked Kahuku gets Mormon kids from Utah and all over… the cousins of cousins to come crash over and crash over and play for Kahuku. So take a chill pill!

  39. Lisa Vaimoui August 21, 2018 4:43 pm

    Holy Cow-you had me cracking up at…

    —Also last I checked Kahuku gets Mormon kids from Utah and all over… the cousins of cousins to come crash over and crash over and play for Kahuku. So take a chill pill!

    And I meant that in a good way. Spot on!!!

    Eh, recruit this, transfer that. Ultimately, the “R” & ‘T” words are both the same thing.

    As a good and wise friend would always say “CARRY ON! “

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