Kahuku prepares for trip to Utah after vanquishing Campbell
Kahuku running back Zealand Matagi was chased by Campbell defenders all game, finishing with 261 yards on the ground in a dominating win. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
It was studsville in Kahuku on Friday night.
The fifth-ranked Red Raiders kept it simple at their Carleton E. Weimer Field, running the ball between the tackles most of the night. The result: 440 yards on the ground and a 35-7 smashing of fourth-ranked Campbell.
The pack of stun guns on the offensive line did their thing. Passing? No need on this night.
But in the long run, to keep teams honest, Kahuku might have to find some wrinkles in its aerial game. But maybe not. Maybe they can run over everybody, which the Red Raiders have proven to be able to do many times in past years.
The next test may be telling. Kahuku visits Provo, Utah, to play Timpview on Friday night. The Thunderbirds are off to a 1-2 start.
“The win was good,” said running back Zealand Matagi, after bulling and carving his way for 261 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns on runs of 22, 80 and 70 yards. “But we have so much more to work on. We’re going to Timpview and we’re gong to need to do more and work more.”
The Red Raiders (3-1, 2-1 OIA Open) also got a big game from Lalio Kaluna, who was actually more of a workhorse than Matagi. Kaluna lugged the ball 21 times for 88 yards, kept the chains moving and also scored a TD.
The blocking fullback who has been helping to rip open holes all season, Jack Tito, also had some party time in the end zone, scoring on a 1-yard run.
Kahuku’s defense left its calling card just as much as the offensive line. The Red Raiders — led by linemen Zion Ah You and Kenai Liva, defensive back Kaonohi Kaniho and linebacker Kana Fonoimoana-Vaomu — held the Sabers to 7 yards rushing. They let Campbell score once, but that came after Kahuku’s kickoff return team fumbled away the ball deep in Red Raiders territory to start the second half.
“When the defense is rested, they come in and fly around and make plays,” Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho said. “They’re very aggressive, and we’re hard to run against because we have veteran DBs as well.”
Liua made two key stops in a third-quarter goal-line stand for Kahuku.
“Liua, he’s a big guy (6 feet 2, 265 pounds),” Carvalho said. “He’s a basketball player and he also is a good tight end for us. He’s just a great athlete.”
Ah You made his presence felt in the first half with heavy pressure on Campbell quarterback Blaine Hipa, and he also had a tackle for loss.
“Zion is tight and compact,” Carvalho said. “He has a quick first step, is hard to block, relentless to the ball … and he’s an Ah You.”
Zion’s grandfather, Junior Ah You, is a former Canadian Football League star, and Zion’s brother Miki Ah You was a defensive leader for the Red Raiders last year before signing with Washington.
Timpview is already on the Red Raiders’ minds.
“We leave Tuesday,” Carvalho said. “We want to make sure our players get acclimated to the thin air. Their lungs are going to burn. We also want it to be an educational experience, not just football. We want to get up there, have team bonding to hopefully bring the team closer together. We just want to go up there and represent Hawaii football. Out-of-state games haven’t been kind to Kahuku in recent years.”
The Red Raiders’ last win against a mainland team came in 2006, when they beat visiting Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) 25-6.
Since then, it’s been four straight losses against out-of-state teams — 27-0 at Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) in 2007; 38-15 to East High in Salt Lake City in 2013; 35-7 to Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas in 2016; and 17-0 to Bingham at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas in 2017.
Kahuku’s rout of Campbell left the Sabers at 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the league.
“We knew what they (the Red Raiders) were going to do and they did well and they played better than us tonight,” Campbell coach Darren Johnson said. “We gotta go back and get better if we want to come back and meet them again and play the brand of football we’re capable of.”
Added Sabers wide receiver Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, who notched his team’s only touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Hipa: “We’ve gotta work harder. Too many mistakes and it cost us. Missed tackles, not making catches. We’ve just gotta fix it. That’s all.”
Campbell will get a chance to right the ship with a home game Thursday against O’Connor (1-1) of Phoenix.