Coach Torres: Kahuku Needs To Make Plays Sooner, Faster

When Reggie Torres talks about playing fast these days, he doesn’t mean after play begins. The veteran Kahuku head coach would like to see his offense get out of the huddle quicker.

“We’d like to snap the ball within 15 seconds (of the last play) — as long as we’re organized in what we’re doing. We’re trying to get the tempo up and get the plays off faster.”

As the team strives toward that end, offensive execution has been stellar nevertheless. Through its first two outings, the run game has been its usual punishing self, and Torres likes how the passing game is coming along.

In rushing, the top backs — Aofaga Wily (346 yards, 9.6 yards per carry, 5 TDs), Soli Afalava and Polikapu Liua — all average more than 6 yards per attempt, and the team averages 175 yards on the ground.

Wily is on track for a senior season the staff always envisioned, especially after adding more bulk and playing at 202 pounds. “He had a great second half (with 171 of his game-high 225 yards on the ground) against Punahou, and he averaged 15 yards a carry on only eight carries versus Kailua,” Torres said. “He

had time off with his (off- season) ankle injury, so he was out of action for a while. He can deliver more punishment now.”

Quarterback Viliami Livai has helped balance out the attack, although his passing attempts have been limited with the run game clicking. “We did a lot better in this last game,” Torres said, “and were able to open it up more.”

Offensive efficiency has come despite key injuries to linemen Herman Kanoa and Donald Barenaba- Setoki, who are expected back soon. The last two weeks, the line has featured John Waa, Grettir “Malosi”

Alapa, Kai Kubera, Robert Latuselu and Lopaka Moniz. “They’re coming along. The injuries took a little wind out of our sails, but the kids filling in have made progress, although we had hoped to be a little further along at this point.” The team has been among the best units in the state defensively, yielding only 31 rushing yards a game, led by DB Kawehena Johnson, whom Torres credited with having “a great game” versus Kailua.
Pass defense has been a point of emphasis lately, with the team having given up 170 yards a game through the air the first two games. Friday’s opponent Castle, also is pass-oriented, as its traditionally one of the best spread teams around.

“Castle is always fast,” Torres said. “They are predicated on speed, and they always have good skilled players. They don’t have high numbers right now, but I know (head coach) Nelson (Maeda), and they train hard. This game will be about fitness for us. We have to put pressure on them and play physical.”

Getting off to quick starts also is a prevailing theme. “Punahou scored on us on their first drive, and Kailua moved the ball, although we kept them from scoring (on first possession). We definitely have to do a better job at coming out to play in the beginning. We’re doing well, but there’s still room for improvement.”

As Kahuku had two bye weeks already, it will play out the rest of the season with no break. On the heels of Friday’s Castle game, Kahuku has three left in the OIA Red East: Kaimuki (at Kaiser High) Sept. 22, Farrington (at Aloha Stadium) Sept. 29 and at Moanalua Oct. 6