Red Raiders On Cusp Of Victory, If They Remain Penalty Free

Kahuku was seeking its ninth OIA Red title in the last 12 years last Friday when it met defending champ Mililani for the 2014 championship game.

Regardless of that outcome, a fresh slate awaits the Red Raiders this week as they begin play in the Division I state football championships. Matchups and sites for Friday night’s first-round games were to be revealed after press time. (The semifinals and championship games will be Nov. 15 and 21 at Aloha Stadium.)

A look at Kahuku’s prospects are below.

The Kahuku file

Record: 8-1 overall (6-1 in OIA Red), prior to last weekend’s OIA title game

Wins: Over Kapolei at home 33-19 Aug. 15, over Waipahu at home 51-10 Aug. 22, over McKinley 41-7 on neutral field Aug. 29, over Castle 56-19 on the road Sept. 12, over Leilehua at home 21-14 Sept. 26, over Waianae 28-15 at Aloha Stadium Oct. 4, over Kapolei 9-0 at home Oct. 17, over Farrington 21-14 at Aloha Stadium Oct. 23

Losses: Kaiser 20-19 on the road Sept. 19

Signature wins: Leilehua, Waianae, Farrington

Red Raider state tournament history: This year will mark their ninth appearance in the Division I state tournament since the HHSAA split into two divisions in 2003. It owns a 12-3 all-time record at states, including titles in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012.

Did you know? Kahuku has outscored its opponents 194-55 in the first half of games this year.

What to watch: The first priority in the state tourney will be to eliminate the self-inflicted miscues and penalties that have plagued the team on occasion. In its 9-0 win over Kapolei in the quarterfinals of the OIA playoffs, it incurred 18 penalties for 167 yards and had a touchdown called back for holding. The team was able to overcome those errors with a stellar defensive effort, which carried into the following week when it limited a physical Farrington team to a mere 216 total yards in a 21-14 win over the Governors in the OIA semifinals. In fact, the defense has turned it up a notch over the last month, despite going against the toughest stretch on its schedule, with games versus Leilehua, Waianae, Kapolei and Farrington in successive weeks. Since the Kaiser setback, Kahuku has given up no more than two scores in a game.

The Red Raiders are giving up 13.1 points per game and 194 total yards per outing — 68 yards per game on the ground and 126 a game in the air.

Offensively, Kahuku averages 31 points and 290 total yards per game, with balance carrying the Tuli Wily-Matagi-led offense.

The team is averaging 148 yards a game on the ground and 141 in the air. Wily-Matagi has thrown for 1,068 yards (with 10 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions) and is averaging 4.7 yards per carry rushing. Receivers Kesi Ah Hoy, Chance Maghanoy and Alohi Gilman have been among his favorite targets in the passing game. Ah Hoy, Wily-Matagi, and backs Salanoa-Alo Wily and Reupena Fitisemanu have combined for 11 rushing touchdowns between them and they are all averaging better than 4.7 yards per carry.