Easton Yoshino’s eyes lit up when he saw Radford line up again and again in a cover-zero defense.
“That’s why we took the shots when we could,” Kaiser’s junior quarterback said.
Yoshino and receiver Kamakana Mahiko combined to rewrite the Kaiser record book in a big way on Friday night at John Velasco Stadium.
Yoshino finished 22-for-36 for 462 yards and four touchdowns and Mahiko had 10 receptions for 292 yards and three scores as the Cougars defeated the Rams 34-14 to stand alone as the only undefeated team in OIA Division II.
Kaiser (4-0) did it with an offense that churned out 569 total yards of offense and broke two school records.
Yoshino’s 462 passing yards blasted past the previous mark of 370 held by David Chu, whose record had stood since a 2001 win over Moanalua.
Mahiko had the school record in receiving yards to himself in the first half, besting the mark of 191 held by Waikoloa Noa in a 2002 loss to Waialua.
Mahiko’s yardage also ranks as the ninth-best single game performance in history among Oahu teams, tying Pac-Five’s Tsubasa Brennan who had 292 in a win at King Kekaulike in 2014.
“Honestly, it felt really good and I was really happy for ‘E’ and me and happy for our O-line doing a good job to help get us the ball,” Mahiko said. “It was really exciting. During the game I never really realized just how well we were actually doing, and then when it was over and it soaked in I was really happy.”
Yoshino hit Mahiko for a 6-yard touchdown for the game’s first score and the big plays came soon after.
Mahiko caught a 75-yard touchdown pass on a deep ball against that cover-zero defense. Then in the second quarter, Yoshino gave Mahiko a simple screen pass that he took 78 yards to the house.
“He did his thing,” Yoshino said. “He brings that fire and brings that drive to just get open mentality. It’s always good to have one of those guys on the team.”
Both players have the added benefit of having experience at the varsity level entering this season.
Yoshino led the Cougars two years ago in passing as a freshman, throwing for 1,619 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Mahiko, who was a sophomore, caught 28 passes for 409 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.
Now a senior, the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Mahiko was rewarded with an invite to the Polynesian Bowl all-star game in January. He is the first Kaiser player to be selected to the game.
“I was shocked. When coach told me I was really shocked,” said Mahiko, who has 430 receiving yards and five touchdowns in four games. “I was really happy. I was just thanking all of my coaches. It’s a big opportunity so I just made a point to myself that I’m going to work even harder now with bigger opportunities. Now I’ve got to make the most out of it.”
Yoshino, who is averaging more than 300 yards a game and has 10 touchdowns and two picks since missing Kaiser’s opener against Kalani, knows the season is only going to get harder now that Kaiser is alone at the top of the OIA Division II standings.
“I feel like we’re just about to start clicking for real. We still have things we need to touch up on but I feel like this group of guys knows that we can be pretty good,” Yoshino said. “Right now we all think that but we’ve just got to go to practice and work hard. The target on our back is two times bigger than before so we need to keep going to work.”
The Cougars, who have outscored their first four opponents 137-34, host Pearl City on Friday. The Chargers are 2-1 in OIA D-II play after handing Nanakuli its first loss, 14-13, on Friday night.
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