|This story has been corrected.|
The perfect ending to the state championships doesn’t guarantee a perfect roll when it comes to all-state team.
Still, the Punahou Buffanblu came pretty close. Five players were named to the Star-Advertiser boys soccer all-state team. Two, Scott Granger and Mountan Mitchell, were neck-and-neck in the Player of the Year selection. Granger, the steady initiator of Punahou’s championship season, nudged out Mitchell, the intense, prolific scorer, for the honor.
With Granger as the glue of Punahou’s multi-faceted squad, the Buffanblu won four matches in four days to win their second state crown in as many years under coach David Trifonovitch, who was named Coach of the Year.
"I’m happy that as a team we really brought it together at the end with our chemistry. We finished strong, everybody was working hard together," Granger said. "Mountan did his part. Chandler (Teruya) did his part. Charlie (Yamamoto). Kelvin (Naito). Quintin (Love)."
Kaiser’s Jason Khamvongsa was among the top players who also received consideration from coaches and media.
"Punahou’s a good team. To beat them, you just have to work hard. We were tired at the half and we couldn’t get the energy to come back," Khamvongsa said of the state final, won by Punahou 5-0.
"He’s got his senior year coming, big, strong and fast and controls a whole game by himself," Trifonovitch said of the Kaiser junior.
The Buffanblu would’ve been fine with a shared POY for their lead players.
"It could’ve gone either way. Honestly, I thought it was going to be Mountan because of the amount of goals he scored in the state tournament," said goalkeeper Charlie Yamamoto, one of the five all-state picks.
Mitchell scored eight goals to lead the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, then tallied six more scores in the state tournament, including three in the state final win over Kaiser. The two-sport standout will play soccer at the University of Louisville, where former Iolani standout Brock Granger, brother of Scott, now plays.
"Mountan brings a whole dimension of physicalness and incredible determination," Trifonovitch said. "The guys feed off him, seeing him running around and working so hard when he doesn’t have the ball. He’s defending from the attacking side of the field, creating a frenzy for the guys."
Without Granger, the chemistry isn’t quite the same.
"Scott really was the puppet master," Trifonovitch said. "He was out there pulling the strings on everything that was going on. Mountan was there to finish and Quintin, our other forward out front, was there for the goals, but Scott was the one to transition us from defense to offense. He was so creative with the way he’d make runs and beat people and moving the ball forward. He really was that glue who kept the whole team together."
The Buffanblu now have four titles in six years.
"It was the best season in the world we had," Mitchell said. "Scott is the reason we got that No. 2 (state title). We were all the reason, all 27 of us."
» Player of the Year: Scott Granger, Punahou
» Coach of the Year: David Trifonovitch, Punahou
|Logan Bantilan||King Kekaulike||F||Sr.|
|Aaron Goo||Saint Louis||F||Jr.|
Samuel Taylor, Kaiser
Kona Gaison, Kamehameha
Jorge Hernandez, Lahainaluna
Brandon Taoy, Kailua
Leo Klink, Kalani
Nickolas Kapua, Pearl City
Ezra White, Aiea
Kory Kobashigawa, Castle
Kanoa Naratez, Kapaa
Chris Maeda, St. Anthony
Cameron Boucher, Waiakea
Joshua Perry-Kruse, Kaiser
Jesus Gallardo, Kailua
Jake Sagami, Mililani
Rudy White, Campbell
Brayden Prothero, Kamehameha
Brandon Chun, Kalani
Zach Mah, Kalaheo
Tyler Matas, Leilehua
Dayton Sato, Pearl City
Patrick Shimoko, Kamehameha
Collin Pidot, Kamehameha
Elton Rivera, Lahainaluna
Willy Harris, Kamehameha-Maui
Keola Felipe, KS-Maui
Leland Gomez, Saint Louis
Pat Shimoko, ‘Iolani
Marcus Mariota, Saint Louis
Kalai Hanohano, Kamehameha
Joshua Wong, Kamehameha
Kamalei Rosa, Waialua
Conner Snow, Seabury Hall
Dean Phillips, Baldwin
Kawena Chang-Yuen, KS-Maui
Ekolu Komomua, Kamehameha
Rhyen Eugenio, Mililani
Sean Chambers, ‘Iolani
Adrian Yunson, Kapolei
Lorenzo Reeves, Kaiser
Jackson Brumbly, Leilehua
Jarred Stricker, St. Anthony
Fayt Leo, Baldwin
» Brock Granger is a former soccer standout from ‘Iolani School, not Punahou School as was reported in a Page C9 article Sunday.