Kahuku's Nawahine, Moanalua's Dulaney stepped up in the clutch
The Red Raiders' senior running back and Na Menehune senior outside hitter/setter turned in stellar individual performances in OIA tournament games last week. ScoringLive photo illustration
Male Athlete of the Week: Enoch Nawahine, Kahuku football
Enoch Nawahine did a lot with a little Friday night.
Despite just 12 touches in Kahuku's 42-7 win over Campbell in the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I tournament, the senior running back accounted for 138 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
Nawahine, who stands 6-feet and weighs 185 pounds, rushed for 121 yards on 10 carries and caught two passes for 17 yards. He found the end zone — once in each half — on a pair of 44-yard runs.
"I like how he finished his runs. He exploded through the line of scrimmage, like he normally does, and his yards after contact were high," Kahuku coach Makoa Freitas said. "He ran the ball well and it wasn't just Friday night, it's been all season, but Friday night you could tell he really wanted that win."
Nawahine averaged 12.1 yards per carry and helped the Red Raiders pound out 255 rushing yards as a team.
"I really can't say enough about him," Freitas said. "His work ethic and his attitude has been tremendous. Friday night we gave him a rest in the fourth quarter so he had limited touches, but when he does get it, he's explosive. He's always competing against the defense (in practice) and he sets a good example for our whole offense."
Nawahine has made a seamless transition to Kahuku after transferring from Punahou in the offseason.
"For me, watching it from the outside, he came ready to work from day one," Freitas said. "From day one he came and he worked hard. He's rather new to the team, so he wasn't really vocal, but he led by example and I respect that. I'm just thankful and happy that he's here."
It didn't take Nawahine long to prove his worth. In the season opener against Leilehua, he logged a season-high 31 carries for 166 yards and a touchdown.
While his workload has dropped off since, his versatility has allowed the Red Raiders to use Nawahine in their evolving passing game as a receiver.
"That first game three of his fellow running backs were out with injuries so he kind of had to carry the load, and then as we got more guys back we kind of had him share the load, and now we can use him as a slot and as the multi-dimensional threat that he really is," Freitas said.
Nawahine has recorded six receptions for 115 yards — an average of 19.2 yards per catch — with one touchdown.
"Whether he's coming out of the backfield or whether we put him at slot, I think he's a game changer. Even when we have him at receiver, he still brings the same aggressive style to his running and there's not a lot of people that can cover him," Freitas said.
Not to be overlooked, Nawahine's ability to pass block has also made him indispensable a Kahuku offense averaging 34 points and 317 yards per game.
"I think that's where he brought a lot from his Punahou background," Freitas said. "Punahou is a good passing offense and I think that's where he's used to picking up the blitzes, and for me, I think that's a plus that he brought with him from Punahou."
Nawahine has rushed for 839 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. He is averaging a healthy 7.6 yards per attempt and nearly 105 yards per game.
Freitas said several colleges have shown interest in Nawahine, including Army and Navy, as well as the University of Hawaii.
"His position coach (Nate Ilaoa) is a UH alum, and actually we have a lot of UH alums on our coaching staff, so I've talked to them about him and I really hope they'll give him a shot," Freitas said.
The Red Raiders (9-1), No. 2 in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric D1 Power Rankings, are idle this week. They will try for their third consecutive OIA title — and league-leading 26th overall — when they face third-ranked Mililani at Aloha Stadium on Nov. 4.
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