Red Raiders Still Lead All Other Prep Teams Into Playoffs
Below is a look at Castle, Kailua and Kahuku’s post-season football prospects.
Record: 1-6, 1-4 heading into last weekend’s finale with McKinley
Signature wins: The Knights’ lone win came Sept. 29 versus Kaimuki (26-16).
What to watch: Playing every game on the road wasn’t fun for a young team saddled with depth issues. Still, there’s much to look forward to, especially with a major stadium upgrade nearing completion. Its win was good enough to secure a playoff slot, since Kaimuki closed out its Red East slate winless. Castle’s best asset to date has been its run defense, which is yielding about 130 yards per game on the ground despite being on the field far too much. Should the offense continue to make strides and put drives together, it could help the cause, as ball possession obviously keeps the opposition’s offense off of the field. Quarterbacks Kela Shea and Brandon Makekau have been real warriors for the team. Other playmakers include running back Don Kaio, and receivers Cullen Shiroma-Fernandez, Makana Bee, Avery Carvalho, Kyle Urasaki and Jesse Medeiros.
Make plans for the state tournament if: Defense can force a rash of turnovers and offense can catch fire. The offense averaged just 8.6 point per game and 119 yards of total offense through the first seven games.
Record: 2-5, 2-3 heading into last weekend’s season finale with Farrington
Signature wins: Over Kaimuki (48-12) and rival Castle 24-6)
What to watch: The team gathered some momentum with back-to-back wins before a heart-wrenching defeat to McKinley in week five of the OIA Red East slate. It was to close out its season over the weekend before turning attention to the playoffs. With its defense struggling to stop the run game at times, its balanced offense will be asked to step up in the post-season to win the time-of-possession battle. Kailua has a host of talented players on that side of the ball to make it happen, led by veteran quarterback Kahaku Iaea, running backs Jarrin Young (7.7 yards per carry) and Fredrick Welch, and receivers Micah Kaimana, Noah Auld and Cason Kalei.
Make plans for the state tournament if: The defense comes to play. The team is 2-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less, so it needs to keep things close to give itself a chance.
Kahuku Red Raiders
Record: 6-0, 5-0 in the OIA Red East heading into last weekend’s game with Moanalua
Signature wins: Over Punahou (21-13) and Farrington (31-6)
What to watch: Since playing a flawless second half in week one en route to a big win over Punahou in a rematch of last November’s state title game, the Red Raiders have been the team to beat. Their recent dismantling of the previously undefeated Governors showed they’re getting better every week. It is stocked with playmakers, led by running back Aofaga Wily and four-year starter Kawe Johnson, arguably the best all-around player in the state.
Make plans for the state tournament? Yes!