No. 9 Damien vs. Waipahu
Today, 7:30 p.m.
QB Jake Holtz’s propensity for launching bombs for touchdowns has been glorious for Monarchs fans and wide receivers. But that quick-strike capability would allow Waipahu’s state-record-breaking rusher, Alfred Failauga, more opportunities. The senior RB already has 762 yards and eight TDs this season.
So far, the Monarchs (2-0, 1-0) have withstood two explosive RBs in Lahainaluna’s Josh Tihada and Radford’s DJ Alpha. When Damien won last year, 13-10, Failauga was injured and did not play.
Holtz, who passed for 257 yards and two TDs against Radford, has practically all of his pass catchers back. He was just 12-for-23 last week, but Waipahu’s defense isn’t quite the same without ball hawkers Deacon Kapea and Zeondre Benjamin. The Marauders (1-2, 1-1) are allowing nearly 29 points per game.
No. 6 Leilehua vs. No. 10 Moanalua
Today, 7:30 p.m.
Coach Mark Kurisu was a defensive mastermind long before he became head coach. The Mules (3-0, 2-0) bent without breaking often in a 23-13 win over Waipahu last week, but their brief shutout streak came to an end. The defensive mind-set works hand in hand with an offense that has kept turnovers down.
QBs Kalei Akagi and Kekoa Turnagan have combined for just one interception in 94 combined pass attempts. Akagi has a 44 percent completion rate and a very modest average of 5.1 yards per attempt. He has thrown just one pick in 90 throws, and has four TD passes. No Mule has rushed for more than 42 yards after three games, so Akagi’s decision-making ability is a crucial factor.
Na Menehune (2-0, 1-0) have scraped by with one-point wins over ‘Iolani (21-20) and Kailua (19-18). QB RJ Javar, a transfer from Mililani, has passed for 647 yards and four TDs with a 69 percent completion rate. If Javar and his receivers continue to improve chemistry, the interception rate — five in two games — will decrease. Jansen York (15 catches, 227 yards, TD), Rudy Kealohi (18, 214) and Dacryes Domingo (12, 91, two) are among the busiest receivers in the state.
No. 3 Punahou vs. No. 8 Kapolei
Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
After scoring 54 points in less than six quarters with Hugh Brady at QB, the Buffanblu (3-0, 2-0) charted a new course with freshman John-Keawe Sagapolutele in last week’s 15-5 comeback win over Kamehameha. Brady’s ACL injury didn’t detract from Punahou’s marvelous defensive performance. The Buffanblu have permitted just five points in three games.
Since losing at Kahuku to begin the 2018 season, Punahou has won seven games in a row against OIA opponents.
Noa Bailey is doing a pretty decent Taulia Tagovailoa impression with a state-leading 671 yards and seven TD passes with just one interception in 97 attempts. RB Jayven Reyes, a transfer from Waipahu, is averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. WR De’Zhaun Stribling, who has offers from Hawaii and San Diego State, already has 23 catches for 266 yards and four TDs.
Waianae vs. No. 5 Kahuku
Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
The Mike Fanoga era at Waianae (1-1, 0-1) has been intriguing thus far, but longtime Seariders fans are longing for prominence. Going on the road to play a hungry Kahuku squad is another big challenge in the Open Division. Last week’s 28-20 loss to Kapolei is just the start of a murderer’s row of foes: Kahuku, Mililani, Punahou, Campbell.
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders (1-1, 0-1) are coming off a 32-0 loss at Mililani. For a second game in a row, versatile Mana Fonoimoana-Vaomu started at QB, but unlike the previous battle against Kamehameha, he couldn’t escape the shackles of Mililani’s air-tight defense.
Tiger Adolpho provides more passing fluidity and nimble footwork against the pass rush, but Fonoimoana-Vaomu can be dangerous operating the option game.
Big Red will be without two players who were suspended for a fracas during the game at Mililani. That includes their best offensive lineman, left tackle Micah Soliai-Howlett.
Kaimuki vs. ‘Iolani
Saturday, 3 p.m.
After a bumpy preseason that included tough scrimmages against Open Division Campbell and D-I Damien, the Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0) are finding their happy place. They have scored 71 points in wins over Pac-Five and Kalaheo, but the first big test of the season awaits at Eddie Hamada Field.
Transfer Jayden Maiava has been steady at QB with 361 yards passing, 43 rushing (4.9 per carry) and a combined six TDs. He does have two picks, and at times is casual with the ball as defensive pressure arrives, but Maiava’s potential and frame (6 feet, 4 inches) have earned him offers from Auburn and Tennessee.
Koby Moananu (10 receptions, 134 yards, three TDs) and two-way ironman Kaulana Kaluna (seven, 116, two) are key to Kaimuki’s passing attack.
After a 21-20 loss to Moanalua two weeks ago, the Raiders (2-1, 1-1) bounced back with a 31-10 win at Aiea. Whether it is Jonah Chong or Sam Faumuina at QB, ‘Iolani has leaned on RBs Brody Logan Bantolina (213 yards, three TDs) and Brock Hedani (152, two).