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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, September 9, 2006

Versatile Santiago helps Kapolei rally past 'Aiea

Kapolei vs. 'Aiea photo gallery
 •  Kamehameha edges California power, 9-7

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kapolei's Aaron Santiago, left, runs by Aiea's Zachary Yoshimoto, middle, and David Savaaetasi at Aloha Stadium last night.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Kapolei defensive back Austin Healy, foreground, and 'Aiea receiver James Buchanan jump in an attempt to catch the ball during the second quarter at Aloha Stadium. The pass fell incomplete.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Kapolei's Nate Dixon, right, wraps up the ball as 'Aiea's Brennan Sato closes in during the second quarter.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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If it isn't one Santiago doing in an opponent, it's another.

Aaron Santiago hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Mason Koa with four minutes, 14 seconds left to turn back 'Aiea, 19-14, last night in O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red West football at Aloha Stadium.

Santiago, whose brother Jon starred for the Hurricanes (1-2 overall, 1-0 West) as an all-purpose player the previous three seasons, showed his all-around ability by booting four touchbacks on kickoffs and intercepting a pass against Na Ali'i (2-2, 1-1).

"I don't know what the stats are, but I know he was all over the field," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. "Eleven years ago, when I was at Campbell, I had a similar kid named Jason Martin. He's the same way. He plays DB (defensive back), slot back, kicker, punter, kick returner, punt returner, 4.0 student. I mean, what more could you ask for? He brings it every game. He's just the kind of kid you want to coach. He exemplifies what Kapolei football is all about."

Santiago had five receptions for 66 yards. His final catch was an out pattern on the left side. Koa hit Santiago in stride, making it an easy run for the swift receiver.

"I just ran a five-yard out, Mason saw me and hooked me up with the ball," said Santiago, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior.

The game-winning play came after it appeared 'Aiea had control of the ball midway through the fourth quarter. Running back Daniel Liilii broke through for about an eight-yard gain, but lost the ball, which was recovered by defensive back Caleb Helenihi, who returned it 50 yards to the 'Aiea 25. Five plays later, Koa connected with Santiago for the go-ahead score.

It was a game of mood swings.

Kapolei controlled the first quarter with its option behind Koa, a junior and first-year starting QB. The Hurricanes opened the game by scoring on their first two drives of 80 yards and 69 yards, consuming 5:51 and 4:20, respectively, as they took a 13-0 lead. It remained that way until the half.

The third quarter turned into the David Savaaetasi show. The transfer from Long Beach, Calif., recovered a muffed punt and blocked a punt, both setting up Na Ali'i touchdowns. His recovery gave 'Aiea the ball at the Kapolei 35, where 10 plays later quarterback Alfredo Higa hit Liilii on a 10-yard TD pass with 5:05 showing in the third quarter. The blocked punt gave 'Aiea possession at the Kapolei 20. Three plays later, Higa hit Alan Fonotion on an eight-yard scoring strike with Mason Puckett's PAT giving Na Ali'i a 14-13 edge.

Kapolei then lost a fumble on its ensuing possession, but 'Aiea failed to capitalize on the turnover.

While Kapolei had its all-purpose player available in Santiago, 'Aiea did not. All-state all-purpose player Lofa Liilii did not suit up as he recovers from an ankle sprain, 'Aiea coach Wendell Say said.

"You can always use the senior leadership and experience," Say said of not having Lofa.

But his injury, as well as to others, might have had an effect on the players, stamina-wise. It was Daniel Liilii (Lofa's brother) who fumbled after the nice gain that set up Kapolei's game-winning score.

"Part of it is some of the kids have to come back from injuries," Say said. "We have to put Daniel and some of the other kids two ways. You get a little winded."

For Kapolei, it was its first win of the season after going winless in non-league play. The Hurricanes showed signs of inconsistency.

"That third quarter, we pretty much gave them the game," Hernandez said. "We're not real young, but we're real inexperienced.

"There's no way to go but up after being 0-2. People had written us off because of preseason. But we had a lot of injuries (in those games), grades. I told them don't worry about the preseason and go one game at a time."

Santiago said going 0-2 in nonleague didn't affect the team's morale.

"I'm really proud of my team and the effort we gave was 100 percent," he said. "We just have to do this all year."

KAPOLEI (1-2, 1-0) 13 0 0 6—19

'AIEA (2-2, 1-1) 0 0 14 0—14

Kap—Josh Hose 16 pass from Mason Koa (Aaron Santiago kick)

Kap—Kamuela Foki 3 run (kick failed)

'Aiea—Daniel Liilii 10 pass from Alfredo Higa (Mason Puckett kick)

'Aiea—Alan Fonoti 8 pass from Higa (Puckett kick)

Kap—Aaron Santiago 11 pass from Koa (pass failed)

RUSHING—Kapolei: Koa 24-75, Foki 4-11, Hose 3-9, Nate Dixon 4-10, Aaron Santiago 1-5, Team 1-(minus 1) . 'Aiea: Alfredo Higa 9-(minus 24), Crenston Ioapo 6-31, Daniel Liilii 3-34.

PASSING—Kapolei: Koa 9-15-0—106. 'Aiea: Higa 23-42-1—204.

RECEIVING—Kapolei: Santiago 5-66, Hose 1-16, Foki 2-21, Dixon 1-3. 'Aiea: Alan Fonoti 8-85 , Aldodius Colquitt 1-5, Ioapo 1-5, James Buchanan 5-31 , Bryan Echalas 2-26, D. Liiliii 6-52.

JV: Kapolei 26, 'Aiea 8.


The Cougars (1-2 overall, 1-1 conference) defeated the host Golden Hawks (0-3, 0-2) in an OIA White Conference game.


Samuel Trueman ran back a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown, Corey Friel recovered a fumble in the end zone for another TD, and Keelen Gonda rushed for 130 yards and a 14-yard TD run to lead the host Surfriders to an OIA Red East Conference victory over the Tigers.

MCKINLEY (1-2, 0-1) 0 2 0 6— 8

KAILUA (2-2, 1-1) 13 0 0 6—19

Kail — Samuel Trueman 24 fumble recovery (kick failed).

Kail — Corey Friel fumble recovery in end zone (Tim Maghinay kick).

McK — Safety, ball snapped in end zone.

McK — Tuimatagalu Togia 2 pass from Titlon Kaluna (kick failed).

Kail — Keelen Gonda 14 run (kick failed).

RUSHING — McKinley: Josh Nakama 1-0, Keawe Kalama 16-65, Kaluna 15-51. Kailua: Gonda 18-130, Zachary Akamine 4-29, William Kekauoha 3-7.

PASSING — McKinley: Kaluna 10-24-2—90. Kailua: Akamine 16-28-4—150.

RECEIVING — McKinley: Allen Hashimoto 3-51, Ervin Sione 1-5, Ben Davis 1-(minus 1), Nakama 4-33, Togia 1-2. Kailua: Shaun Forges 5-46, Gonda 2-6, Darren Sugimoto 6-75, Traves Holeso-Wolfe 1-15, Jackie Uemoto 1-8, Kaleo Wong 1-0.

JV score — Kaila 12, McKinley 8.

Reported by Tanya Hewahewa


No scoring reported.

CASTLE (2-1, 2-0) 13 6 0 8—27

MOANALUA (1-3, 0-2) 6 8 0 0—14

JV score — Castle 24, Moanalua 14.

Reported by Ted Mura


The visiting Bulldogs (2-1-1, 2-0-1) tied the Chargers (3-0-1, 2-0-1) in an OIA White Conference game. Scoring and statistics were unavailable.


Caleb Fore completed 19-of-33 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 54 yards, including TD runs of 18 and 9 yards, leading the visiting Bulldogs past the Rough Riders in an OIA White Conference game. Shade Quisano ran for three TDs and Kenese Ola caught eight passes for 184 yards for Roosevelt.

WAIALUA (3-1, 2-1) 6 14 6 7—33

ROOSEVELT (1-3, 1-2) 6 0 0 14—20

Roos — Shade Quisano 6 run (kick failed).

Waial — Donovan Matas 6 run (kick failed).

Waial — Caleb Fore 18 run (run failed).

Waial — Edwin Rubio 27 pass from Fore (pass good).

Waial — Fore 9 run (kick failed).

Roos — Quisano 6 run (kick good).

Waial — Adam Foster 11 pass from Fore (kick good).

Roos — Quisano 2 run (kick good). RUSHING — Waialua: Fore 14-54, Josh Whittaker 1-5, Rubio 1-1, Matas 12-20, Adam Foster 1-2, Toran Kobayashi 3-(minus 5), Scott Endo 4-18. Roosevelt: Quisano 5-12, Kavin Kikuyama 3-15, Lowen Kaho'oilihala 5-(minus 9), Kaui Kauolulo 1-(minus 1), Tony Fautanu 1-(minus 2)

PASSING — Waialua: Fore 19-33-1—237. Roosevelt: Kaho'oilihala 13-25-0—208.

RECEIVING — Waialua: Whittaker 5-45, Cody Labra 1-23, Rubio 4-49, Adam Foster 5-58, Matas 3-13, Ashley Carillo 1-49. Roosevelt: Kenese Ola 8-184, Alex Fowler 1-3, Quisano 2-(minus 1), Justin Otaguro 2-22.

JV score — Roosevelt 43, Waialua 0.

Reported by Rodney Iwasaki


Oni Schmidt ran for 149 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown jaunt, and Alan-Michael Gaspar added 88 yards and scored on pair of one-yard runs, leading the Menehunes past the Warriors in a Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation game at Hanapepe Stadium.

KAPA'A (1-2, 0-1) 0 6 8 7—21

WAIMEA (3-0, 1-0) 14 0 7 14—35

Wai — Kaulana Judd 1 run (Alex Pancho kick).

Wai — Alan-Michael Gaspar 22 run (Pancho kick).

Kap — Daniel Lizama 35 run (kick failed).

Wai — Reggie Vigilia 2 run (Pancho kick).

Kap — Nick Mortell 22 pass from Evan Lotu (Lotu pass).

Wai — Gaspar 1 run (Pancho kick).

Wai — Schmidt 51 run (Pancho kick).

Kap — Mortell 20 pass from Coty Salausa (Kahai Nakano kick). RUSHING — Kapa'a: Lizama 15-122, Travis Nakamura 9-71, Shea Alapai 1-9, Salausa 8-3, Jordan Snyder 1-2, Lotu 6-minus 28. Waimea: Oni Schmidt 19-149, Gaspar 17-88, Judd 5-26, Vigilia 2-14, Adam Dizol 1-4, Jayrald Watanabe 1-4, Kalen Fleming 1-minus 1, AJ Ramos 2-minus 4.

PASSING — Kapa'a: Salausa 4-9-2-79, Lotu 3-4-0-29, Alapai 0-3-0-0. Waimea: Fleming 1-4-1-20.

RECEIVING — Kapa'a: Mortell 3-63, Joseph Velasco 3-43, Lizama 1-2. Waimea: Gaspar 1-20.


Christian Cook fell on a loose ball with 17 seconds left and the host Dragons beat rival Ka Makani in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation game. No scoring reported.


Dane Fernandez's second field goal of the game, a 40-yarder with no time left on the clock, lifted the unbeaten Bears over the Lunas in a Maui Interscholastic League game at War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku.

BALDWIN (3-0, 3-0) 0 0 3 3—6

LAHAINALUNA (1-1, 0-1) 0 2 3 0—5

Lah — Safety, ball snap out of the end zone.

Bald — FG Dane Fernandez 30

Lah — FG Lake Casco 39

Bald —FG Fernandez 40

Reported by Rodney Higa

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.