Sunday, August 7, 2022 | By Nick Abramo
It wasn’t long after the opening kickoff on its long-awaited brand-new artificial turf field that Kahuku asserted its dominance and never let up in a season-opening 49-0 victory over Kamehameha.
And wouldn’t you know it, linebacker Leonard Ah You, one of the stars in the Red Raiders’ successful quest to the state Open Division championship in 2021, was back doing his thing right away: creating havoc.
On third down during the Warriors’ opening possession, Ah You barreled in to sack quarterback Kealii Ah Yat. After a short punt, Kahuku wasted little time putting points on the board as — you guessed it — Kainoa Carvalho, last year’s state offensive player of the year — hauled in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Waika Crawford.
“We didn’t play a home game last year, so to be able to come back and perform in front of our community and not having a far drive is amazing,” Ah You said. “Plus it’s a brand-new field. We never had this kind of turf here at Kahuku and we’ve got it now. It’s crazy.”
Kind of like the team — crazy good.
And Carvalho — who is listed as 5 feet 7 and 165 pounds — would not be held down. He was in the end zone again for six more points later in the first quarter, scampering for a 41-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Maximum Moe Fonoimoana, only a sophomore, got into the act as well, stripping the ball from Ah Yat and recovering it. That play led to Crawford’s 10-yard touchdown run and a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
From there, the Red Raiders (1-0) kept it in high gear, closing it out by scoring three rushing touchdowns as well as a 41-yard touchdown connection from Crawford to Mana Carvalho, Kainoa’s brother who a sophomore was injured all of last year.
The TD runs were of 25 yards by Vaaimalae Fonoti, 3 yards by Clyde Taulapapa, and 2 yards by Kainoa Carvalho, the senior’s third trip to the end zone on the night.
Kahuku’s defense, which had four sacks of Ah Yat and pressured him from start to finish, only allowed the Warriors (0-1) to cross midfield once. Kamehameha got as far as the Red Raiders’ 28 in the third quarter only to turn it over on Gabe Cravens’ interception.
In the final tally, Kahuku outgained Kamehameha 392-65.
“It was our first game out, but we’ll be back for Moanalua (at home Aug. 26) and we’ll show you what we’re all about,” Warriors linebacker Brennen Dupio said. “Hey, they (the Red Raiders) are good. They played fast and strong, but we just made some minor mistakes, all fixable. We’ll be back. No worries.”
Added Warriors coach Abu Maafala: “They came here and they fought and gave everything they could and it’s my fault I didn’t have them prepared. That was pretty much the No. 1 defense in the state we went against. That’s an unbelievable football team.”
Kaina Watson was a bright spot for Kamehameha, catching seven passes for 56 of those 65 team scrimmage yards.
Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho, who is Kainoa and Mana’s uncle. and several of the Red Raiders players talked afterward about the fact that there’s a lot of room for improvement despite the big win.
“It’s a process,” the coach said. “We want to be peaking in November. We don’t want to be peaking in August. There are a lot of good Open Division teams out there.”
Kahuku returns to action at home against Waianae on Aug. 20.
Mahalo to the following sponsors for supporting our Hawai’i High School football content.