Kalani Takase | ScoringLive
October 15, 2019, 8:56pm
Male Athlete of the Week: Zhane Ellazar-Ching, Kohala football
When his team needed a spark last week, Zhane Ellazar-Ching did his best superhero impersonation.
The Kohala running back rushed for 150 yards and two long touchdowns on just 11 carries to help the Cowboys to a 24-14 come-from-behind win over Pahoa Thursday night.
Ellazar-Ching, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound junior and co-captain, typically starts at both outside linebacker and running back, however, he did not get the start on offense against the Daggers while nursing a calf injury.
"He did exactly what we needed him to do," Kohala coach Chad Atkins said. "Because of the injury we were just going to play him on defense, but he stepped up when we needed him. We fell behind and I look at him and asked, ‘can you go?,' and he was like, ‘yup,' and went in and he scored right off the bat."
Pahoa held a 6-0 lead after the first quarter, but Ellazar-Ching tied it with 3:53 left in the second with his 73-yard touchdown run.
"There were muddy (field) conditions, so we were gonna take it to the outside, to the wide side of the field," Atkins said of the scoring play. "I told him, ‘if you can get to the corner, you're gone,' and the blocking worked out perfectly and he got to the edge and with his speed nobody was going to catch him."
The Daggers reclaimed the lead, however, just before halftime, but Ellazar-Ching answered with a 56-yard TD run early in the third quarter to tie the score at 12-apiece.
"He made a good cut and he broke one tackle and that was it," said Atkins, who is more than just a coach to Ellazar-Ching.
"He's one of my nephews — him and (junior defensive lineman) Cael Hooton — and he's one of my go-to guys. When I pull them to the side, I know that I can count on them to do the job," Atkins said. "They've been with me this whole time and I don't know how I'd do this without them."
Ellazar-Ching has been on the team since his freshman season and has started all three years.
"He's been a leader ever since he was a freshman and it's hard to find that in kids now days where they can become a leader and make an impact right away," Atkins said.
Atkins felt that had Ellazar-Ching started and played the entire game at running back, a 300-yard rushing performance would not have been out of the question.
"I was most impressed with just how he was able to answer the call when we needed him. You put up the bat signal and he was there," Atkins said.
However, it wasn't just on offense that Ellazar-Ching impacted the game.
"He made a lot of big tackles that night," Atkins said. "He's one of our best linebackers. We've got three really good linebackers and he's one of them."
Atkins described how some disciplinary action earlier this season has affected Ellazar-Ching in a positive way.
"I had a talk with him early in the season because he would take practice off, he'd be jogging because he knows he's fast, but once I had that talk with him — and I actually benched him and once he saw somebody else can take his spot — he changed his mentality and he's been running like an animal ever since; he's going to run full blast every play," Atkins said.
It's not just his work ethic that has improved, however.
"He's become more vocal as a leader on the team. Our team is young, every year we have a young team and it's very immature, so he's stepped up being a leader and more mature and keeping the younger guys in check; He's grown so much. He'll get more college looks, guarantee. He's good in school, he's a good package and if we could put some weight on him as we plan on in the offseason, he's going to be one of the top rushers in the whole state of Hawaii," Atkins proclaimed.
Ellazar-Ching, who also plays basketball for the Cowboys, has no problem putting his game-face on.
"He definitely brings a humble mentality to the game, but when you strap up the helmet and put on the pads he turns into a different guy. He's a beast. For a small guy in a tiny package, he's a beast, but he's a very humble kid," Atkins said.
Kohala pitched a second-half shutout against Pahoa and went on to record their second win of the season after going winless in eight-man football the past two years.
"It was huge," Atkins said of the win. "The week before our bye week we almost beat HPA, so we've come a long way and the record doesn't show where we're at right now and (Ellazar-Ching) is a huge part of it."
The Cowboys (2-5 overall, 2-4 league) are tied for third place in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II standings. They will host Kamehameha-Hawaii Saturday before closing out the season against Kau on Oct. 26.
Female Athlete of the Week: Kaira Wengler, Damien volleyball
Kaira Wengler knows the agony of defeat all too well, but the Damien senior wasn't about to let the taste of victory get away this time.
The 5-foot-6 outside hitter put down a team-high 10 kills to help the Monarchs capture their first Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II girls volleyball title with a four-set win over University Lab in a match played at Punahou's Christopher B. Hemmeter Fieldhouse Friday night.
"She played really, really well," Damien coach Don Faumuina said of Wengler, who also contributed a pair of digs and a service ace.
"Kaira was very consistent against UH Lab, but you gotta understand that this is the third time in three years that we've been in the (ILH) D2 championship match," Faumuina said.
The Monarchs reached the league final in both Wengler's sophomore and junior seasons, but lost to Le Jardin and Mid-Pacific, respectively.
"For Kaira, experiencing those losses in those two finals and her being a senior this year, she knew that she had to leave it all on the court and she played really, really well," Faumuina said.
Wengler, one of the team's co-captains, started playing club volleyball for Kaizen at the age of 12. She is currently a member of the Spike and Serve volleyball club.
"Kaira is well-rounded; she can play back row as well as in the front row, obviously, but she's very consistent. She doesn't get too many hitting errors and she'll go up — even if she gets blocked three, four times — she still will attack the ball and will keep going; she's got a never-say-die attitude," Faumuina said.
Faumuina noted that Wengler was the team's starting libero last season, but moved to outside hitter this year.
"She's shown a lot of improvement in her game and growth in her knowledge of the game, but the biggest thing is her attitude. She's one of those great student-athletes with such a great attitude, comes in and works hard, she's never negative, always positive and always helping out the younger girls," Faumuina said.
One of Wengler's biggest fans is Faumuina's six-year old niece.
"That's her favorite player and when she comes to the games, it's not just to watch the match, but it's more just to see Kaira," Faumuina said.
The Monarchs dropped the first set to the Jr. ‘Bows, 25-23, but stormed back to win the next three sets, 25-20, 25-22 and 25-14. The match itself was somewhat symbolic of the season Damien has enjoyed. After a loss to La Pietra to open the season on Aug. 14, it has reeled off 13 consecutive victories.
"It's funny because I asked the girls (Monday) if anybody remembers the significance of Aug. 14 and nobody remembered," Faumuina said. "All but one of my starters were gone on college tours or retreats and so we played with a secondary team that almost pulled it off," Faumuina said.
Damien avenged the loss to La Pietra with a sweep of the Lady Panthers in the final match of the regular season on Oct. 1
"Needless to say, when we met La Pietra at the end of the season, it was something that we wanted to solidify the season, to be able to beat them if everyone is there, and the result showed us that," Faumuina said.
Faumuina said the win over University Lab Friday to capture the ILH crown that has been so elusive the past two seasons, was like quite the relief.
"I think that was that monkey off the back finally," he said. "Being there for a third time and for a moment I was like, ‘is this meant to be? Can we pull this off?,' but as we progressed throughout the match, it started to clearly show that they're not gonna let down and they want this, so we're just happy that the monkey is off our back finally."
Like the team itself, Wengler's night got off to a shaky start, but stuck with it to finish the comeback.
"Even though she got blocked a few times and was out of system for a little bit, she was able to recover from that and keep going and it was probably one of her best matches throughout the season," Faumuina said.
To be sure, it took a team effort to beat the Jr. ‘Bows and Wengler is most certainly a team player.
"As one of the seniors, she's not very vocal in terms of getting the team fired up, but her actions and her off-court demeanor have been huge. She talks to the girls and just getting them together off the court has been very crucial for us this year," Faumuina said. "Kaira is a great supporter, but she knows her role as a senior and knows when to step up and when to fulfill her senior responsibilities."
While Wengler's on-the-court skills have improved over the years, her demeanor has always been steady.
"Every year she'd come back she's better, but I think the biggest thing for me was just her attitude. Her attitude has been the same from the moment that I met her — just very humble, very driven, wants to do better, will always ask questions — she's just one of those kinds of players that will always look for how to get better, how to improve," Faumuina said. "I can't stress enough about her attitude and as coach, that's one of the biggest things, that we hope the girls come with a really good attitude. Skills, you can teach, but attitude is one of those things that they need to make the adjustment, but I've never had to talk to Kaira about her attitude or anything negative all the years I've coached her."
Wengler, who also plays basketball for Damien, is one of six seniors on Faumuina's team.
"This year was pretty challenging for us, but the girls were able to overcome it and realize that it's not just one person, it's a team and our motto this year is, ‘it's a kakou thing,' and it takes all of us to move this thing forward, not just one person," Faumuina said.
The Monarchs (13-1) will be one of three teams to represent the ILH in next week's New City Nissan Division II State Championships.
Tiliti Adams, Kamehameha-Maui — Threw for 358 yards and seven touchdowns on 19-of-25 passing without an interception in a win over Kekaulike
Chase Akana, Roosevelt — Caught three touchdown passes in a win over Nanakuli
Kaeo Akana, Roosevelt — Scored on a 22-yard blocked punt return in a win over Nanakuli
Naomas Asuega-Fualaau, Kaimuki — Rushed for 109 yards and touchdowns ion 15 carries in a win over Kalani
Landon Clevenger, Kailua — Caught nine passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Waipahu
Jayden de Laura, Saint Louis — Threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns on 27-of-36 passing with one interception in a win over Waianae
Koa Eldredge, Punahou — Caught eight passes for 91 yards in a win over Mililani
Kala Estocado-Matthews, Castle — Rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries in a loss to Iolani
Ezra Evaimalo, Kamehameha — Had 4 1/2 tackles, including three TFLs, one sack, and two fumble recoveries in a loss to Campbell
Alfred Failauga, Waipahu — Rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries in a win over Waipahu
Cameron Friel, Kailua — Threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-37 passing with one interception in a loss to Waipahu
Joshua Gleason, Pearl City — Caught six passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Waialua
Blaine Hipa, Campbell — Threw for 224 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-22 passing with one interception in a win over Kamehameha
River Iaea, Damien — Had 5 1/2 tackles, including two sacks, and a pass break-up and rushed for a touchdown in a win over Moanalua
Titan Jarra, Campbell — Had 5 1/2 tackles, one sack, recovered a fumble and scored on a 13-yard interception return in a win over Kamehameha
RJ Javar, Moanalua — Threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-34 passing with one interception in a loss to Damien
Shepherd Kekahuna, Roosevelt — Rushed for a touchdown and also scored on a 30-yard interception return in a win over Nanakuli
Molena Kekauoha, Kailua — Recovered a pair of fumbles in a loss to Waipahu
Nathaniel Kia, Punahou — Had six tackles and two fumble recoveries in a win over Mililani
Ethan Kuth, Leilehua — Scored on an 80-yard kickoff return in a win over Radford
Pookela Louis, Saint Louis — Scored on a 51-yard fumble return in a win over Waianae
Nainoa Machado, Waianae — Caught seven passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Saint Louis
Dayne Maeva, Kamehameha — Had six tackles, including three TFLs, one-half sack and scored on an 8-yard fumble return in a loss to Campbell
Jayden Maiava, Kaimuki — Threw for 251 yards and five touchdowns on 19-of-24 passing without an interception in a win over Kalani
Calijah Mareko, Farrington — Scored on a 93-yard fumble return in a loss to Kahuku
David Martinez, Pahoa — Rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and caught a scoring pass in a loss to Kohala
Zealand Matagi, Kahuku — Rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries in a win over Farrington
Matthew Miura, PAC-5 — Scored on a 33-yard interception return in a win over McKinley
Koby Moananu, Kaimuki — Caught six passes for 113 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Kalani
Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, Campbell — Caught five passes for 152 yards and a touchdown in a win over Kamehameha
Koali Nishigaya, Saint Louis — Caught nine passes for 132 yards and a touchdown in a win over Waianae
Sky Ogata, Roosevelt — Threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns on 18-of-25 passing without an interception in a win over Nanakuli
Kuao Peihopa, Kamehameha — Had four tackles for losses, including one sack, and forced two fumbles in a loss to Kamehameha
Storm Quilinderino, Waialua — Rushed eight times for 106 yards and caught two passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Pearl City
Ashton Raquino, Leilehua — Had eight tackles, including one sack, and two fumbles recoveries in a win over Radford
Evan Rau, Kamehameha — Had five tackles and scored on a 30-yard interception return in a loss to Campbell
Keliikoa Reyes-Nalu, Kau — Rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in a loss to Hawaii Prep
Sonny Semeatu, Mililani — Had six tackles, including four sacks, and forced a fumble in a loss to Punahou
Chad Schmidt, PAC-5 — Rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in a win over McKinley
Makani Smith-Kemfort, Kamehameha-Maui — Caught seven passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Kekaulike
Aperamo Sulu, Damien — Rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in a win over Moanalua
Jett Tanigawa, Moanalua — Had 10 tackles in a loss to Damien
Kekoa Turangan, Leilehua — Threw for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 11-of-14 passing without an interception in a win over Radford
Luke Watson, Kau — Rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in a loss to Hawaii Prep
Ezekiel Weber, Kamehameha-Maui — Caught five passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Kekaulike
Jansen York, Moanalua — Caught six passes for 130 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Damien
Keonilei Akana, Kamehameha — Had 19 kills and two block assists in a five-set win over Iolani
Gabby Canionero, Waianae — Had 25 assists, two kills and an ace in a three-set win over Roosevelt and had 21 assists, seven digs and a block assist in a three-set loss to Kahuku
Camilla Chun, Farrington — Had 14 kills, eight digs, one block assist, an ace and an assist in a three-set win over Farrington
Falanika Danielson, Mililani — Had 19 kills, five digs, two block assists and one ace in a three-set win over Kaiser
Brynn Denis, Kalaheo — Had 12 digs and an assist in a three-set win loss to Nanakuli
Tylor Iosua, Kahuku — Had 13 kills, six digs, one block assist and an ace in a three-set win over Waianae
Devin Kahahawai, Kamehameha — Had 23 kills and a block assist in a five-set win over Iolani and had 13 kills and a block assist in a three-set win over Punahou
Keau Kamakeeaina, Kahuku — Had 33 assists, six digs, three block assists, one kill and an ace in a three-set win over Waianae
Alyssa Kamealoha, Farrington — Had 13 digs, two assists and one ace in a three-set win over Leilehua
Shania Kepoo-Caspino, Waianae — Had 13 kills, four digs and an assist in a three-set loss to Kahuku
Daisylyn Laulu, Nanakuli — Had 25 assists, 10 digs, four kills and a block assist in a three-set win over Kalaheo
Lauryn Makena, Kalaheo — Had 25 assists, five digs and one kill in a three-set loss to Nanakuli
Serenity Mamizuka, Kahuku — Had 17 digs, five assists and one kill in a three-set win over Waianae
Aria Miller, Mililani — Had 14 digs, eight kills, four aces and an assist in a three-set win over Kaiser
Aysia Miller, Mililani — Had 25 assists, five digs, three kills, two aces, one solo block and a block assist in a three-set win over Kaiser
Kayana Mossman, Kaiser — Had 10 digs and two assists in a three-set loss to Mililani
Sierra Nahulu, Nanakuli — Had 13 digs, two kills, two block assists and an ace in a three-set win over Kalaheo
Elena Oglivie, Iolani — Had 40 kills and a block assist in a five-set loss to Kamehameha
Kaanela Pae, Nanakuli — Had 13 digs and three assists in a three-set win over Kalaheo
Aiyanie Park, Damien — Had 20 digs in a four-set win over University Lab
Jasmine Pascua, Mililani — Had 12 digs and an ace in a three-set win over Kaiser
Elsa Radovan, Damien — Had 20 assists, one kill and a dig in a four-set win over University Lab
Maui Robins, Kamehameha — Had 14 kills and four block assists in a five-set win over Iolani
Bryanne Soares, Kamehameha — Had 60 assists, three block assists and a kill in a five-set win over Iolani and had 31 assists and two aces in a three-set win over Punahou
Savannah Taosoga, Kahuku — Had 11 kills, four digs and two aces in a three-set win over Waianae
Mokihana Tufono, Iolani — Had 52 assists, four block assists and two kills in a five-set loss to Kamehameha
Jerica Vele, Farrington — Had 32 assists, seven digs, three aces, one kill and a block assist in a three-set win over Leilehua
Chevy Wagner, Waianae — Had 13 digs, two assists and an ace in a three-set win over Roosevelt and had 13 digs, two assists and a kill in a three-set loss to Kahuku
Kylie Wolff, Kalaheo — Had 10 kills, 18 digs and one block assist in a three-set loss to Nanakuli