Sports How Kahuku and Saint Louis match up By Paul Honda Nov. 20, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Jamm Aquino 2015 October 23 SPT - HSA Photo by Jamm Aquino. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. KAHUKU OFFENSE Much ado has been made of Kahuku’s unique hybrid offense. The mash-up of goal-line formation-plus-shotgun-plus-upside-down power-I using an H-back has been simplicity at its finest for the Red Raiders. In all, give or take a few pounds, the nine blockers in front of wildcat QB Ah-Hoy (1,166 rushing yards, 15 TDs) or RB Brown (754 yards, 14 TDs) can weigh in the neighborhood of 2,500 pounds. The Big Red smashmouth attack is as powerful and as intricate as any ground-and-pound offense seen in the islands. It’s not the old Waianae wishbone, and there are no traps or counters — not yet, anyway. But the agility and sheer poundage of those leading the way make a defender feel like he is caught in a stampede of angry rhinos going full speed downfield. "It will be quite a matchup to see our offense against their defense," Kahuku coach Vavae Tata said. "Yes, we will ground and pound. It’s our DNA. And yes, they are physical on defense. It doesn’t get any better than that. It all starts up front in the trenches." Still, the Red Raiders are prepared to send out the I-formation or shotgun, four-wide personnel at any time. Ah-Hoy has been fairly accurate as a passer, while backup Cameron Renaud has been sharp when called on and could be a weapon. POS. NO. PLAYER HT. WT. CL. QB 26 Kesi Ah-Hoy 6-0 215 Jr. RB 8 Harmon Brown 5-11 185 Jr. RB 45 Steveni Lombard 5-11 250 Jr. TE 90 Noah Magalei 6-2 280 Sr. TE 11 Laga Thompson 6-3 200 So. OL 54 Jed Heffernan 6-0 262 Sr. OL 55 Vili Fisiiahi 5-10 260 Jr. OL 56 Ra Elkington 6-5 300 Jr. OL 72 Tamatoa Neher 6-3 290 Sr. OL 75 Vaka Fale 5-11 300 Jr. OL 76 Ezra Tupuola 6-2 290 Sr. KAHUKU DEFENSE (EDGE) The Red Raiders have been stingy against the run, but are also built to slow down explosive aerial attacks. Manaia Atuaia’s third season as a starting linebacker has brought stability to the front seven. Hirkley Latu’s range as a defensive end/outside linebacker is one of the valuable and versatile tools that Kahuku can weaponize on any snap. It is a highly rangy secondary that features big-play, momentum-stealing ball hawks like Kaniho at cornerback and Santiago at safety. And still, after 12 wins in 12 games — including seven defensive shutouts — there’s no foe quite like Saint Louis. Tata’s defense hasn’t faced a QB quite as physical as Tagovailoa. "Yes, Tua is an explosive playmaker, so we will have to defend not only the wide receivers out in the perimeter, but also the running back and quarterback," Tata texted. "He extends plays with his feet, so we will have to corral and contain him the best we can." Tagovailoa’s younger brother, Taulia, racked up impressive passing numbers in a playoff loss at Kahuku. In addition, the Red Raiders have to deal with the mind of offensive play-calling master Ron Lee, whose shovel passes and speed option calls come seemingly out of the blue. POS. NO. PLAYER HT. WT. CL. DL 32 Lono Kanongataa 5-11 210 Sr. DL 91 Aleki Vimahi 6-4 250 Jr. DL 99 Bradlee Anae 6-4 220 Sr. LB 5 Pesa Lefau, Jr. 6-0 215 Sr. LB 17 Aaron Tapusoa 5-8 208 Sr. LB 21 Hirkley Latu 6-4 205 Sr. LB 31 Manaia Atuaia 6-1 220 Sr. DB 23 Codie Sauvao 5-11 180 Jr. DB 1 Kaula Kaniho 6-0 170 Jr. DB 3 Keala Santiago 6-0 185 Sr. DB 20 Stokes Botelho 5-8 140 Jr. KAHUKU SPECIAL TEAMS (EDGE) There’s no question that the Red Raiders have been among the best in the state when it comes to the kicking game. Sasaoka is one of just a handful (fewer, actually) of boomers who consistently send kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. "Sasaoka has given us great field position all year, and that’s the one person that everyone seems to forget about," Tata texted. "Not only does he change field position, but he is also accurate a kicking field goals. It’s great to have him in our game plan." Santiago has returned his share of kickoffs and punts for touchdowns in the past two years, and Botelho is a shifty, speedy threat, too. Kaniho, who returned an interception 72 yards for a TD early in the season, clearly has breakaway speed. POS. NO. PLAYER HT. WT. CL. P/PK 16 Kekoa Sasaoka 5-11 205 Sr. LS 30 Cameron Renaud 5-11 200 Jr. H/P-KR 1 Kaula Kaniho 6-0 170 Jr. PR/KR 3 Keala Santiago 6-0 185 Sr. PR/KR 20 Stokes Botelho 5-8 140 Jr. SAINT LOUIS OFFENSE (EDGE) Juggernaut, for sure. The Crusaders offense has scored 55, 43, 31, 28, 45, 51, 31, 30, 27 and 56 points in 10 games. Through ups and downs, through injuries to QB Tagovailoa (15 scholarship offers as a junior), receivers (Leelan Oasay) and running backs, the machine keeps humming. Offensive coordinator Ron Lee and the rest of the staff have been masterful while molding a relatively young group of receivers. Tagovailoa, likewise, has been both patient and pinpoint. The patience has paid off. He was chased more often than the Crusaders would’ve liked early in the ILH season, but the return of blockers like Herbig (a Stanford commit) and the recovery from various leg ailments have settled the offense into a nice groove. With time, young pass catchers like Ronson Young (35 receptions, 424 yards, four TDs), Jahvin Spear (33, 386, four) and Lanakila Wilson (19, 464, three) are running flawless routes. Deep threat Drew Kobayashi (31, 662, four) has emerged as a go-to first-down converter. And the backfield that was a glut of injuries has become secure with the rise of former WR Saitaua Lefau (498 yards and seven TDs from scrimmage). Jimmy Gonsalves and Dylan Silva have been invaluable in spot duty. POS. NO. PLAYER HT. WT. CL. QB 13 Tua Tagovailoa 6-1 210 Jr. RB 20 Saitaua Lefau 5-10 170 Sr. LWR 11 Lanakila Wilson 5-9 160 Sr. SB 28 Ronson Young 5-11 190 Jr. SB 8 Jahvin Spear 5-7 140 Sr. RWR 10 Drew Kobayashi 6-2 195 Sr. LT 67 Mike Minihan 6-2 250 Jr. LG 64 Aperaamo Augafa 6-2 290 Sr. C 70 Tytus Timoteo 6-0 335 Sr. RG 65 Nate Herbig 6-4 335 Sr. RT 60 Aaron Miller 6-3 270 Sr. SAINT LOUIS DEFENSE The Crusaders clearly have seen more of the explosive, balanced offenses that usually cause the most problems for defensive units. From two games against Kamehameha to three meetings with Punahou, and then to last week’s showdown with Mililani, Saint Louis has seen it all. Almost. No offense has brought smashmouth like Kahuku. Saint Louis will adjust. Last week’s starting unit included just three down linemen against Mililani’s four-wide set. But Kahuku’s heavy set means Saint Louis will keep DT Mafua on the field much of the night. Cal Lee doesn’t mix up coverages to an extreme, and he will trust his tacklers to play fundamentally sound football. Toilolo (11 tackles against Waianae), Slade-Matautia and Iosefa are the heart of the unit. The onus of executing against Kahuku’s blockers will be on linebackers and defensive backs who — at least in ILH games — have more often been in coverage and not so often run-stop duties. "We have to make sure we play physical football. Everybody’s got to be out there doing their job, doing their responsibilities," Lee said. "We all have to go after the ball while we’re taking on the blocks, and be physical when we tackle." POS. NO. PLAYER HT. WT. CL. LE 58 Tanielu Evaimalo 6-2 240 Sr. DT 95 Samuela Mafua 6-0 280 Sr. DT 9 Tristan Nichols 6-3 270 Sr. RE 53 Kaeo Freitas 6-1 190 Jr. LB 14 Isaac Slade-Matautia 6-0 220 Jr. LB 41 Noa Purcell 5-10 220 So. LB 26 Dylan Toilolo 5-8 190 So. LB 4 Jordan Loveni Iosefa 6-2 220 Sr. LCB 21 Jalen Saole 6-0 165 Jr. RCB 27 Ronson Timbreza 5-10 160 Sr. DB 2 Nalu Paikai 5-10 155 Sr. SAINT LOUIS SPECIAL TEAMS The Crusaders don’t usually send kickoffs beyond the goal line, but their ball placement with Tobias and coverage have been steady. Their return game was serviceable against Mililani: 33 yards on two kickoffs. Punt coverage was solid. Bernadino averaged 34 yards per punt. One was returned by Mililani for minus-1 yard. Mililani averaged 20 yards per return on seven kickoffs by Saint Louis. "We’ve been doing good so far," Lee said. "We know it’s going to be a good challenge. They’ve got good people on the special teams." It’s been basically the same personnel from the start of preseason, though it wouldn’t be entirely shocking to see Kobayashi and/or Lefau line up to return kicks and punts. POS. NO. PLAYER HT. WT. CL. P 85 Ikaia Bernadino 6-1 165 Jr. PK 73 Jacob Tobias 5-9 180 So. LS 78 Peyton Yanagi 5-9 180 So. H 12 Chevan Cordeiro 5-10 145 So. PR/KR 80 Chandler Washington-Villanueva 6-0 170 Jr. Previous Story Wahine's Toeaina driven by optimism Next Story As UH's season ends, Naeole stresses 'fun'