(Update: Kolu Quisquirin-Sabagala’s rushing totals have been corrected to 47 attempts and 250 yards. A 3-yard carry by Quisquirin-Sabagala on a fake punt run was incorrectly attributed to Kealii McLeod. Along with three receptions for 60 yards, Quisquirin-Sabagala actually did have 50 touches in this game.)
He ran like a bruiser.
He ran like a man. He ran, for the most part, like his favorite player, Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants. But Kolu Quisquirin-Sabagala is a just a sophomore. The 5-foot-9, 210-pound running back found out before game time that he would be a go-to playmaker. But he never imagined touching the football 50 times.
In a 20-15 loss to Kamehameha on Friday, Quisquirin-Sabagala carried the ball 47 times for a school-record 250 yards. His attempt total was just two short of the record held by Damien’s Kealoha Pilares, who ran 48 times for 333 yards in a 57-49 loss to ‘Iolani during the 2005 season.
The Warriors knew Waianae had changed things up since preseason, and with a new offensive coordinator, the Seariders were content to play classic, ground-and-pound football from start to finish. In the first quarter, Waianae ran the ball on 15 of 19 plays. By halftime, Quisquirin-Sabagala had 25 carries for a hard-earned 90 yards.
“It’s the right thing to do, right? Your best player is your tailback,” Kamehameha coach Abu Ma‘afala said. “He’s a helluva downhill runner. Our defensive staff, we talked all week. They run power and counter the way you should run it. We knew that was going to be it. They did what they needed to do. An old school, smashmouth football game.”
He was even better in the second half, and Kamehameha’s front seven appeared to be wilting. The visitors regained their verve by the end of the third quarter, stripping Quisquirin-Sabagala on a carry at the 4-yard line. Dayne Maeva, son of former Hawaii defensive back and Kaiser coach (and current Kamehameha assistant) David Maeva, scooped up the pigskin and returned it to the 18, and Kamehameha protected a 14-12 lead.
“That was huge. We had to stay in it, keep our minds in it,” Ma‘afala said.
It was all Quisquirin-Sabagala could do. He also had three receptions for 60 yards, and the Seariders were confident enough in his athleticism to lob him a pass in the end zone near the pylon just one play before the fumble. He caught it, but lost the ball on the way down. By then, Quisquirin-Sabagala had carried the ball 39 times and caught his three passes before the third quarter was over.
He has no regrets.
“Our offensive coordinator told us, you’ve got to prepare. You’ve got to run and be in shape. You’re about to get this much carries,” Quisquirin-Sabagala said. “I wanted the ball. I’m hungry for that ball.”
One of his best carries came in the first half with the trenches clogged up. He spun away from the A-gap and eluded tacklers as he sprinted to the sideline for a big game.
“We want to pound it and pound it until they have seven in the box, then our passing game works,” he said.
Quisquirin-Sabagala has a 3.2 grade-point average and has big dreams. As in USC, his dream school.
“I want to get to college,” he said. “I’m going to visit (USC) and see the facility.”
Quisquirin-Sabagala credited his offensive line.
“I don’t how they do it,” he said of his linemen’s work against chaos in the box, facing a furious Warrior defense. “I kind of blacked out over here (by the sideline), but I had to stay in the game. The trainer said I could go back in.”