Top Performers
Waiolama, Atuatasi led 'Canes, Na Alii to wins

Male Athlete of the Week: Ezekiel Waiolama, Kapolei football
Kapolei football coach Darren Hernandez knew he wanted the ball in Ezekiel Waiolama's hands when the game was on the line Friday night.

Waiolama rushed for a game-high 114 yards in the Hurricanes' 23-14 win at Downey (Calif.) over the weekend — the program's first victory outside the state of Hawaii — but it was his late-game heroics that were more impressive to Hernandez.

Kapolei built a 16-0 lead by the third quarter, but Downey pulled within 16-14 in the fourth.

"They had the ball, fourth-and-goal on the 1. It would have been a huge momentum swing had they took the lead, but we stopped them — Peni Naulu and Sonny Semeatu made a stop on the running back for a one-yard loss," Hernandez recalled.

That's when Waiolama went to work.

"We had the ball deep in our own territory and we ran the ball every single play and the first 60 yards (of the drive) was all Zeke, until we got to the 26-yard line and he was huffing and puffing," Hernandez said.

Waiolama's efforts set-up Zion-Jabez Robello's 26-yard touchdown run to put the game on ice.

"We kind of wore them down and took control of the game. They couldn't stop our run," Hernandez said. "We pretty much had our way physically."

Kapolei averaged 9.1 yards per carry and totaled 191 rushing yards in the win.

Waiolama, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior running back, also ran for a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

"He doesn't have a flashy style as a runner, he doesn't wow you with speed or moves, he's just real workman-like. He's just a guy that comes to practice every day, does his job, works hard and doesn't take any plays off. He works hard every day," Hernandez said.

Hernandez said slimming down 20 pounds has served Waiolama well this year.

"He's quicker now, faster, he reads the holes well, he's very good with ball security and he rarely gets tackled for negative gains because he's a real north-south, power runner," Hernandez said.

It's not just Waiolama's physical ability that makes him reliable.

"We have the trust in him as a senior captain. He's a high-character guy. He's very humble. He looks like a full-grown man with his beard and mustache — he looks like somebody's dad; real rugged-looking guy — but yet he walks around campus with his head down, he's very unassuming, very humble and he does his job. Plus he's a smart guy, who we know we can count on all the time," Hernandez said.

Waiolama has rushed for 295 yards and two TDs on 34 attempts this season, an average of 8.7 yards per carry. He has combined with the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Robello (33 carries for 273 yards, 2 TDs, 8.3 ypc), another senior, to make-up a formidable duo in the Kapolei backfield.

"It's a one-back offense so we have Zeke and Zion sharing the workload, so it's great to have two seniors that can bang for us and our offensive line has been amazing in run blocking," said Hernandez, who has used two sophomores and a freshman at quarterback this season.

"They're still learning the quarterback position and hopefully we can get them more experience with each game, but because they're very inexperienced we're trying to build stuff around them and not put too much on their shoulders and hopefully they'll catch up and gain experience and confidence as the season goes along," Hernandez said.

Waiolama and the Hurricanes (2-2), No. 7 in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Power Rankings, will play their first league game when they host No. 12 Waianae (0-3) Saturday night.

Female Athlete of the Week: Trinity Atuatasi, Aiea volleyball
Trinity Atuatasi reminds Blythe Yamamoto a lot of another player she once coached: her mother, Taumaoe.

The then-Taumaoe Poyer was a senior on the very first team Yamamoto coached at Aiea in the fall of 1995.

"I only had her for one year, but she was just gritty and tough as a player — a lot like how Trinity is for us," said Yamamoto, the longtime Na Alii coach.

While Yamamoto's stint with Taumaoe was short-lived, her relationship with daughter, Trinity, is a well-established one. Four years ago, Atuatasi was voted by her peers as the first freshman team captain that Yamamoto could recall.

"She's always had that leadership quality about her. I mean, it's definitely been a growing process, but she's always had it and now it's just better, but she's had it from her freshman year. I mean, who gets voted as captain as a freshmen by her own peers? So that tells you a lot," Yamamoto said.

Yamamoto relies heavily on Atuatasi, one of only two seniors for Na Alii this season, as a buffer between players and coaches.

"It's great having her because it's like having an extra coach on the court. She knows exactly what the defense is supposed to be doing and she's making the adjustments as we go, so everyday we walk into the gym we just feel blessed that she's there," Yamamoto said.

In Aiea's season-opening match against Pearl City last Tuesday, Atuatasi collected 23 of her team's 44 digs to go along with one ace and a kill in the three-set victory.

"She had a great game. She's super strong and athletic, there's no doubt about that, but she understands the system so she knows exactly where the ball should be going to and she makes the game look easy. Sometimes people will be diving all over the place to make a dig, but with her it seems like they're just hitting it to her, but they're doing that because she's in the right spots," Yamamoto said.

The 5-foot-3 defensive specialist played a key role in Na Alii's rally from a 19-10 deficit in game 2 to win, 26-24.

"This year we just have not had that much time in our gym because the roof is being re-done and then last week we were hoping to be able to catch up on a lot of things but the hurricane shut us down from Wednesday, so it was tough. I was trying to be nicer than I normally would because I knew I hadn't prepared them completely, but at that point when it was 19-10 I just lost it and called a timeout and laid into them," Yamamoto said. "But Trinity took them on the side and got them refocused. On that nine-point Pearl City run, we gave them about four or five unforced errors with serves into the net, so it would have been easy to have folded, but these girls just kept playing and Trinity is a big part of that," Yamamoto said.

With the match tied at one set apiece, Pearl City jumped out to a 7-1 lead in game 3, but Aiea stormed back to take it, 15-10.

Na Alii hit the road two days later for a match at Campbell. Atuatasi made sure her teammates were prepared.

"I got on the bus with the team and Trinity had them doing homework. They had to draw the positions and where they belong on defense, where they belong in certain situations and they turned it back in before we got to Campbell, and we were actually in the right places against Campbell, so that's just her taking initiative to make sure we know what's happening," Yamamoto said. "I don't have to worry; She's got them at study hall, she already gave them the lecture ‘that everything you do affects all of us so be smart,' so it's definitely a lot easier with her around."

Atuatasi, who is also a member of the softball team, went on record 10 digs and an ace in the Aiea sweep, 27-26 and 25-17.

"I told the girls that we could have easily been 0-2 and it was their heart that was the difference. Basically it was their heart. We didn't have Xs and Os. I told them that there's not many adjustments we can make right now, it's just heart, so just play, trust what we do know and just do it," Yamamoto said. "It's special and the coaches are definitely excited to see what this team is gonna do, because what they did in the last two games was shocking. You just don't see teams come back from big deficits in this rally-scoring era like that, and there was just no fear, just ‘we got it.' "

Atuatasi and Na Alii (2-0) continue OIA West play against Nanakuli Tuesday and at Radford Thursday.

Cade Aihara, Pearl City — Shot a high score of 527.16 in a win over Waialua

Taylor Dunaway, Kaiser — Shot a high score of 543.15 in a win over Kahuku

Lauren Fong, Moanalua — Shot a high score of 527.11 in a win over Kalani

Cole Fukumitsu, Moanalua — Shot a high score of 534.13 in a win over Kalani

Jonah Hughes, Kahuku — Shot a high score of 522 in a loss to Kaiser

Sara Lausterer, Waialua — Shot a high score of 537 in a loss to Pearl City

Jake Brett, Kapolei — Rolled a high single game score of 244 pins and a three-game series of 617 in an OIA West meet

Darius Sagucio, Roosevelt — Rolled a high single game score of 238 pins and a three-game series of 682 in an OIA East meet

Akira Sanco, Mililani — Rolled a high single game score of 267 and a three-game series of 637 in an OIA West meet

Dallas Inouye, Moanalua — Finished in a time of 21 minutes, 46.13 seconds to win medalist honors in the 3-mile girls race at a qualifying meet at Mililani

Reimon Wada, Roosevelt — Finished in a time of 17 minutes, 11.31 seconds to win medalist honors in the 3-mile boys race at a qualifying meet at Mililani

Isabel Bennett, Seabury Hall —
Had 20 kills and 25 digs in a four-set win over Hana

Hoku Cachola, Aiea — Had 27 assists, three digs, two kills and an ace in a three-set win over Pearl City

Vanessa Colling, Roosevelt — Had 17 digs and five kills in a two-set win over McKinley

Trinity Figueroa, Aiea — Had 15 kills, two digs and an ace in a three-set win over Pearl City

Elena Oglivie, Iolani — Had 10 kills, three digs, one assist, an ace and a block assist in a two-set win over Maryknoll

Heipua Tautuaa, Waianae — Had 12 kills and five digs in a two-set win over Radford and had 10 kills in a two-set win over Pearl City

Dane Abarra, Kamehameha-Maui —
Rushed 15 times for 121 yards and caught the game-winning two-point conversion pass in a double-overtime win over Baldwin

Nuusegi Afoa, Pearl City — Recorded two interceptions in a loss to Saint Francis

Kyler Aguiar, Hilo — Caught four passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Hawaii Prep

Shayden Arindain-Pojas, Nanakuli — Scored on a 46-yard interception return in a loss to Leilehua

Kai Banks, Mililani — Caught five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in a loss to St. John Bosco

Kai Bookland, Lahainaluna — Caught five passes for 107 yards and touchdown in a win over Maui

Jedaiah Borge, Kalaheo — Caught two passes for 106 yards, both of them for touchdowns, and rushed for another score in a win over Waialua

Kaihulali Casco, Lahainaluna — Intercepted two passes in a win over Maui

Koa Eldredge, Punahou — Caught five passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Farrington

Jeremy Evans, Leilehua — Caught six passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Nanakuli

Jonah Figueroa, Castle — Had five kickoff returns for 171 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown, in a loss to Waipahu

Dorien Furtado, Leilehua — Caught five passes for 132 yards and a touchdown in a win over Nanakuli

Dillon Gabriel, Mililani — Passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-35 passing without an interception in a loss to St. John Bosco

Kilo Haasenritter, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Rushed 18 times for 160 yards in a win over Keaau

Jake Holtz, Damien — Completed 22 of 47 passes for 298 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a loss to Mount Spokane

Nainoa Irish, Lahainaluna — Passed for 258 yards and a touchdown in a win over Maui

Kaulana Kaluna, Jr., Kaimuki — Caught four passes for 102 yards and had six tackles in a win over McKinley

Shepherd Kekahuna, Saint Francis — Caught three passes for 101 yards, intercepted two passes, including a 52-yard pick-6, and broke up two others in a win over Pearl City

Aaron Kenigton, Leilehua — Scored on a 53-yard interception return in a win over Nanakuli

Noa Lapera, Kalaheo — Threw for 209 yards and three touchdowns on 11-of-15 passing without an interception in a win over Waialua

Logan Lauti, Damien — Caught nine passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Mount Spokane

Sione Lolohea, Saint Francis — Made 8 1/2 tackles, four for losses, with one sack in a win over Pearl City

Cody Marques, Waipahu — Completed 17 of 23 pass for 207 yards without an interception in a win over Castle

James McGary, Leilehua — Rushed 17 times for 123 yards and a touchdown in a win over Nanakuli

Naia Nakamoto, Maui — Rushed 24 times for 112 yards in a loss to Lahainaluna

Sky Ogata, Roosevelt — Rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries in a win over Kalani

Sama Paama, Kaimuki — Made six tackles, including five for losses, and forced a fumble in a win over McKinley

Kiaka Pio, Leilehua — Scored on a 5-yard fumble return in a win over Nanakuli

Karsyn Pupunu, Kamehameha-Maui — Caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Baldwin

Jayven Ramos, Waipahu — Rushed for three touchdowns in a win over Castle

Leighton Russell, Kailua — Made 10 tackles, including one sack, in a loss to Radford

Vincent Terrell, Punahou — Rushed 17 times for 103 yards in a win over Farrington

Joshua Tihada, Lahainaluna — Rushed for three touchdowns in a win over Lahainaluna

Tapena Tuitupou, Saint Francis — Had five tackles, including three sacks, in a win over Pearl City

Bishop Wickes, Baldwin — Rushed 19 times for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Kamehameha-Maui

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].



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