ILH proved tough in preseason
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
With the Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular season finally scheduled to kick off on Saturday, several traits already have emerged through the first three weeks of nonleague action:
Saint Louis has shown a potent offense so far. Kamehameha's defense has been stalwart. The teams went a combined 6-0 against opponents from the O'ahu Interscholastic Association's Red (Division I) Conference.
Defending state champion Punahou is still trying to shore up several skill positions weakened by graduation; the Buffanblu lost to OIA contenders Kahuku and Mililani.
'Iolani again looks like a potential giant-killer, having defeated OIA Red power Kapolei. Pac-Five is on a record-breaking roll, averaging a stunning 52 points per game.
The Wolfpack are off to their best start (3-0) since 2004.
Damien hung tough with OIA Red member Campbell.
But now the dress rehearsals are over and we'll learn much more in Saturday's tripleheader at Aloha Stadium:
Pac-Five will play Saint Louis at 2:15 p.m., followed by Damien vs. Punahou at 5 and 'Iolani vs. Kamehameha at 7:45.
Here is a closer look at all seven teams (Word of Life has a bye):
Head coach: Punahou Aina
2009 Record: 0-2
Players to watch: DB Pat Asuncion (5-10, 175, Sr.); RB Brenan Furtado (5-8, 165, Sr.); WR Makana Ka'anoi (6-2, 195, Sr.); QB Stanton Pilialoha (5-10, 160, Sr.); OL Tonga Takai (6-2, 300, Sr.); DB Tyler Tamayo (6-0, 170, Sr.).
Notable: Aina, a former All-State linebacker for Damien and longtime assistant coach at 'Aiea, takes over the helm from his dad, Wally. Another former Damien great, Eddie Klaneski, has joined the staff as an assistant. The Monarchs opened with a 27-13 loss to Roosevelt, then lost to Campbell last week, 21-13. Furtado is an all-purpose back who had 77 yards on 11 carries and caught two passes for 31 yards against Campbell. DB Brandon Sera had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Head coach: Wendell Look
2009 Record: 2-1
Players to watch: QB Jarrett Arakawa (6-0, 180, Sr.); RB Ammon Baldomero (5-9, 180, Jr.); SB Kevin Barayuga (5-8, 150, Jr.); WR Bret Christman (5-10, 170, Jr.); DB Dylan Goto (5-3, 130, Jr.); DL Seali'i Epenesa (6-2, 315, Sr.); DB Sean Nada (5-7, 155, Sr.); DB/K Andrew Skalman (5-9, 150, Sr.); WR Trevyn Tulonghari (6-1, 180, Jr.).
Notable: The Raiders opened with a 30-19 victory over Kaiser, then fell to Castle, 41-21, before rebounding with a 23-21 upset over Kapolei. 'Iolani won on the game's final play, a 5-yard touchdown pass from Arakawa to Barayuga, who also made a key diving reception in the same series. Arakawa completed 22 of 37 passes for 222 yards and two TDs, and also scored on a 7-yard scramble. Tulonghari is an athletic target with good size and leaping ability. Epenesa is a force on the D-line.
Head coach: David Stant
2009 Record: 3-0
Players to watch: DL Landon A'ano (5-9, 285, Sr.); DB Chaz Bajet (5-8, 170, Sr.); RB Ryan Ho (5-6, 175, Sr.); DL Koa Ka'ai (6-4, 235, Jr.); LB/P Brandon Marfil (6-0, 200, Sr.); RB Kupono Park (5-10, 195, Sr.); OL Blaze Ryder (5-11, 250, Jr.); LB Kawika Stant (5-10, 205, Sr.); DL Keko'opono Weisbarth-Tafaoimalo (5-10, 245, Sr.); DL Beau Yap (6-2, 235, Sr.).
Notable: The Warriors opened with a 44-3 victory over Hilo, then defeated Kailua, 36-2, before blanking Wai'anae, 13-0. The defense — a veteran group — is dominating, having yet to allow a touchdown. Ho is tough enough to get the inside yards but also explosive enough to break outside. Three quarterbacks — senior TC Campbell, sophomore Christian Akana and senior Michael Kukahiwa-Haruno — have spent the past month fighting for the starting job.
Head coach: Kip Botelho
2009 Record: 3-0
Players to watch: WR London Amorin (5-11, 170, Sr.); SB Chalson Baition (5-4, 140, Jr.); WR Jordan Doi (5-8, 145, Jr.); OL Robert Helsham (5-8, 240, Jr.); LB John Kagehiro (5-8, 175, Sr.); OL Micah Kalepa (6-4, 210, Jr.); SB Darin Kamealoha (5-10, 170, Sr.); OL Jacob Mayer (6-4, 215, Sr.); QB PJ Minaya (5-10, 150, Sr.).
Notable: The Wolfpack have been on an offensive tear, defeating Kaimuki 48-19, McKinley 66-40 and Nanakuli 41-6. Minaya threw for 729 yards 15 touchdowns in the first two games, including a record-tying eight TDs vs. McKinley. Kamealoha and Amorin lead a talented receiving corps, and a veteran offensive line has provided solid pass protection.
Head coach: Kale Ane
2009 Record: 0-2
Players to watch: RB Alaka'i Aglipay (5-9, 185, Sr.); RB Stabren Caires (5-9, 175, Sr.); OL Kaiwi Crabb (6-5, 272, Sr.); QB Kaiana Eldredge (6-0, 185, Sr.); OL Keenan Fa'atea (5-11, 270, Jr.); DL Sani Fuimaono (6-2, 265, Sr.); DB Jeremy Ioane (5-11, 195, Sr.); WR Forrest Kim (5-9, 163, Sr.); OL Thurston Kino (6-3, 270, Sr.); DB Sean McFadden (6-1, 190, Sr.); WR Jeffrey Pedrina (5-8, 165, Sr.); OL Kasey Romero (6-0, 238, Sr.); DB Brian Suite (6-3, 188, Sr.).
Notable: The Buffanblu lost five skill position players (at quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end and linebacker) who are now at NCAA Division I programs, but still return three Advertiser All-State first-team selections in Crabb, Fuimaono and McFadden plus a veteran offensive line. Caires and Aglipay will get the tough yards inside. Ioane, McFadden and Suite are solid veterans in the secondary.
Head coach: John Hao
2009 Record: 3-0
Players to watch: SB Sean Ahlo (5-8, 160, Sr.); SB/RS Kaeo Aliviado (5-4, 135, Jr.); WR Duke Bukowski (5-11, 180, Jr.); RB Vonn Feao (5-10, 210, Sr.); WR Jordan Fukumoto (5-9, 165, Sr.); QB Jeremy Higgins (6-2, 190, Sr.); DL Hoku Isaia (6-0, 215, Sr.); DL Moses Samia (6-2, 240, Sr.); LB Starr Sua Passi (5-11, 215, Jr.); WR/RB Joshua Tupua (5-10, 205, Jr.); DB Marcus Umu (6-0, 185, Sr.); RB Shawn Valente (5-8, 175, Sr.).
Notable: The Crusaders opened with a 48-35 victory at Wai'anae, came back to trounce Kaimuki 35-7 and then held off Leilehua 28-21. They again have a solid offensive attack, with Higgins steady at the controls. He completed 19 of 32 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns at Leilehua. Feao and Valente help a suplementary running game. Aliviado is a dangerous threat on returns. The defense held Leilehua quarterback Andrew Manley — The Advertiser's 2008 State Co-Offensive Player of the Year — to just 90 yards passing in the first half and 187 for the game, and Sua-Passi returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown. Samia and Umu were ILH first-team All-Stars last season.
WORD OF LIFE
Head coach: Joe Onosai
2009 Record: 0-2
Players to watch: OL/DL Paulay Asiata (6-4, 285, Jr.); OL/DL Ben Dew (6-5, 290, Sr.); FB/LB Richard Landford (6-0, 235, Jr.); DE/TE Bryson Mook (6-3, 230, Jr.); LB/OL Juda Parker (6-2, 235, Jr.); RB/DB Awa Poggi (5-8, 150, Jr.); QB Cobey Young-Bailey (6-0, 225, Jr.).
Notable: The Firebrands forfeited a scheduled game against Farrington, then lost at Waipahu last week, 42-0.
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com