Top Performers
Gibson, Fujiyama paced Trojans, Mules in wins




Male Athlete of the Week: Kanoa Gibson, Mililani football
Kanoa Gibson is doing his best to make up for lost time.

The Mililani senior recorded his second straight game with triple-digit receiving yards and his third consecutive contest with multiple touchdowns in the second-ranked Trojans' 50-6 win at then-No. 9 Waianae Saturday night.

Gibson, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver, hauled in six catches for 110 yards and scored on passes of 10 and 47 yards from quarterback Brendyn Agbayani in the runaway victory.

"He's been our explosive go-to receiver and he's an excellent route runner —  probably one of the best since Kainoa Wilson as far as running routes," said Mililani coach Rod York, referring to the former All-Hawaii wide out Washington State pass-catcher.

"Our receivers have been having a hard time consistently catching balls, in fact he doesn't catch balls in practice, but game time he hasn't dropped one yet and he's getting more and more confident," York said.

Gibson missed all of the 2018 season due to a fractured clavicle, but started off this year with a prolific 10-catch, 144-yard effort in a win over Campbell. Two weeks later he recorded six grabs for 98 yards and three TDs in a win over Farrington and a week after that he posted eight receptions for 145 yards and two scores in a non-league victory over Liberty (Henderson, Nevada).

For the season, Gibson has 33 catches for 517 yards and seven touchdowns. He is averaging 15.7 yards per reception and 103.4 yards per game.

"It's not planned. It's in the progression," York said. "He's actually our fourth progression guy, but the sometimes we will just lock it on him. That Liberty game he caught some big ones."

York said Gibson's first TD grab last week — which came with eight minutes left in the first half and gave his team a 27-0 lead — came off of a simple 10-yard speed out.

"I was hesitant on keeping the play because the corner was pressing him, but I just told him before the play to go inside then outside because he can get the separation," York said. "He's able to get the separation and he's just crisp on the routes — like it snaps at 90 degrees — whereas other guys would round it, which is a big difference."

Gibson's second score also came on a short pass, but he turned it into a 47-yard touchdown.

"It was just a hitch," York recalled. "He just ran a hitch and turned around and outran the corner. Not only is he is a great route-runner, but his hands are like Spiderman in games and then he's got the breakaway speed where he can finish.

Agbayani, a first-year starter replacing the state's all-time leader in passing yards in now UCF-freshman Dillon Gabriel, has relied on Gibson heavily. Gibson has 400 more yards and six more TDs than the Trojans' second-leading receiver.

"He's a guy that can take a hitch and turn it into a touchdown, take a screen pass and turn it into a touchdown and he can also run streaks and posts and run by guys, so he's a weapon and you see it in the NFL all the time where people are trying to get more weapons for the QBs and he's a loaded weapon when he's out there," York said.

The Trojans are averaging 36.2 points and 320.2 yards per game offensively, including 122.2 rushing yards. York said that the downfield threat that Gibson poses helps to open up the run game.

"It helps a lot because obviously he can stretch the field or let's say the defense doubles him, which takes away another guy from the run, or opens up the slots. We want that, go ahead and double him because we've got a couple more guys that can get open," York said.

York said that while Gibson was on the mend last season he still attended every practice.

"That kind of showed his character because when guys get injured, especially for that long, they start feeling sorry for themselves, but Kanoa was there snapping balls to the quarterbacks with his one hand and that showed a lot to me," York said. "That showed his character. He stayed involved, he was always upbeat — you never see him quiet and depressed — because he's the funny guy on the team."

Gibson, whose older sister Kalena starred on the Mililani girls basketball team the past few years, is a member of the boys basketball team in the winter.

"He's a hard worker. We had lifting four days a week at 7 a.m. and even during basketball season he would be there. I remember summer time we had a seven o'clock morning lift and he was there all sweaty and I asked him, ‘What are you doing?,' " York said. "He said that they had a 5 a.m. morning basketball practice. That's the kind of kid he is and as the season's gone on he's gotten more confident and honestly, he deserves a D1 scholarship from somebody."

Mililani is one of three remaining unbeaten teams in the Open Division (Saint Louis, Punahou) and sits in first place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association standings.

Gibson and the Trojans (5-0 overall, 4-0 league) will take on sixth-ranked Kamehameha in the middle game of an OIA-ILH triple header at Aloha Stadium Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Punahou will take on Waianae in the 2 p.m. matinee and Saint Louis will meet Kahuku in the 8 p.m. nightcap.


Female Athlete of the Week: Aiyana Fujiyama, Leilehua volleyball
In Ernest Balignasay's opinion, Aiyana Fujiyama is just scratching the surface of her volleyball potential.

Fujiyama, a Leilehua junior, flashed some of that potential last Wednesday, when she put down a match-high 12 kills and added three solo blocks in a road sweep of Radford. The scores were 25-18, 25-9 and 26-24.

"We always expect that of her," said Balignasay, the longtime Mules' coach. "She just had to perform and we just let her go and that's what did it. She just really felt comfortable and played the game."

The 5-foot-9 Fujiyama did most of her damage out of the front row. Balignasay said that he takes her out of the rotation when she goes to the back row "so she can rest, but she's capable of playing the back.

"She's real coachable. She listens and just applies," Balignasay said. "She's not one of those, ‘why' or ‘how' kids."

Balignasay said that Fujiyama serves an important role as the middle blocker.

"I told her that the way we want to play, we need to establish the middle as much as possible and then on blocking that she's the first line of defense because she's in the middle," Balignasay said.

Fujiyama has been a starter for the Mules since her sophomore season, when she first joined the varsity team and went on to earn All-Oahu Interscholastic Association Western Division Honorable Mention.

Balignasay said that Fujiyama previously played basketball as well, but gave that up to focus on volleyball and track and field. She also played club volleyball for the first time over the summer — which has further accelerated her growth on the court.

"I think what helped to push her over the average player, especially for her just going into her second year, was she went and dedicated herself on the club team," Balignasay said of Fujiyama, who didn't start playing volleyball until she was a freshman on the JV team two years ago.

"Right now I think she just went over the hump of being average, (but) she can still improve a lot. We're trying to have her be consistent."

Fujiyama played on the same club team this summer as Keonalani Atiburcio, one of two setters Balignasay typically uses in the Mules' primary 6-2 offense.

"I think that helped a lot because they're connecting really well," Balignasay said.

In the days leading up to the Radford match, Fujiyama learned the step-out move, which she executed "two or three times" for kills against the Rams.

"That's a real difficult play, but she's just like a natural," Balignasay said. "We just introduced it and when she did in the match, she said, ‘Wow, I like this,' so it just adds to the things that she can do."

Fujiyama is also a standout for the Mules' track and field team during the spring season. At last May's state championship meet, she finished third in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 16.01 seconds in addition to a 10th-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 3 3/4 inches and a 17th-place finish in the triple jump with a mark of 33 feet, 10 1/4 inches.

The win was a much-needed one for the Mules, who were swept in their first two matches this season by Campbell and Pearl City, respectively.

"It was a big booster for us. The coaches sort of sensed that although we have the athletes and the skill, the chemistry wasn't pure — you know, you had this group over there, that group over there, we'd say pair off and the same two would go together — so we told them that they need to iron this out and it just so happened that we told them that just before the game against Radford, so it seemed to work and solve the solution because all of the practice since then have all been high-tempo," Balignasay said.

Balignasay is hoping his team can parlay the victory over the Rams into a few more and build some momentum nearing the midpoint of the 10-match regular season, but will settle for growth over wins.

"The ultimate goal is that everybody wants to win, but if they can apply what we're teaching them and learn from it it's great and the results will come from there," Balignasay said. "If we win, we win. If we don't, we didn't work hard enough. We just hope now, if anything, for everybody to be consistent all the way, that's the biggest thing and that's what I have been stressing, about the mindset of the game."

Fujiyama the Mules (1-2) continue play in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Western Division when they visit Waipahu Wednesday. First serve is scheduled for approximately 7 p.m.


FOOTBALL
Alan Aber, Kalaheo — Had three tackles for losses, including 2 1/2 sacks, and forced a fumble in a loss to McKinley

Brendyn Agbayani, Mililani — Threw for 231 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-25 passing without an interception in a win over Waianae

Jonan Aina-Chaves, Campbell — Rushed 16 times for 115 yards and a touchdown in a win over O'Connor

Kalei Akagi, Leilehua — Caught a touchdown pass and rushed for another score in a win over Aiea

Kyson Aponte-Stone, Roosevelt — Scored on a 51-yard interception return in a win over Pearl City

Joshua Arcayena, PAC-5 — Rushed for two touchdowns and made seven tackles, including two sacks, in a win over Waialua

Kaden Baptista, Konawaena — Caught three passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Keaau

Marc Basa, Konawaena — Scored on a 20-yard interception return in a win over Keaau

Jonah Chong, Iolani — Threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-25 passing without an interception in a win over Kailua

Jayden de Laura, Saint Louis — Threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns on 10-of-12 passing without an interception and rushed six times for 52 yards in a win over Kamehameha

Brex Delray, Maui — Threw for 226 yards on 21-of-32 passing without an interception and rushed for two touchdowns in a  loss to Kekaulike

Elisha Martin, Konawaena — Scored on a 32-yard blocked punt return in a win over Keaau

Dre Falls, Kaiser — Intercepted two passes in a win over Kalani

Aaron Fonoimoana-Vaomu, Kahuku — Had 8 1/2 tackles, three for losses, and recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown in a win over Timpview

Brock Hedani, Iolani — Rushed for two touchdowns and caught two other scores in a win over Kailua

Blaine Hipa, Campbell — Threw for 215 yards and four touchdowns on 15-of-25 passing with two interceptions in a win over O'Connor

Trey Hunter, Kekaulike — Rushed 17 times for 101 yards and a touchdown in a win over Maui

Samson Iona, Konawaena — Had 6 1/2 tackles, including two for losses, one sack and two fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown in a win over Keaau

RJ Javar, Moanalua — Threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns on 28-of-47 passing with one interception in a win over Sierra Vista

Paliku Kamaka, Kamehameha — Intercepted two passes, returned one for a 42-yard pick-6, and recovered a fumble in a loss to Saint Louis

Ace Kaufusi, Kahuku — Had 5 /2 tackles, including 1 1/2 for losses, and recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown in a win over Timpview

Rudy Kealohi, Moanalua — Caught 13 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Sierra Vista

Shepherd Kekahuna, Roosevelt — Scored on a 15-yard interception return and an 81-yard kickoff return in a win over Pearl City

Kyle Kinney, Damien — Scored on a 37-yard interception return in a win over Castle

Ethan Kuth, Leilehua — Scored on a 62-yard punt return in a win over Aiea

Kamoi Latu, Saint Louis — Scored on a 60-yard interception return in a win over Kamehameha

Legend Libron, Kohala — Rushed 16 times for 198 yards and a touchdown in a win over Pahoa

Calijah Mareko, Farrington — Scored on a 23-yard interception return and broke up two other passes in a win over Kapolei

Cody Marques, Waipahu — Threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns on 13-of-24 passing without an interception in a win over Radford

David Martinez, Pahoa — Made four tackles, recovered three fumbles, including one returned for a 50-yard score, in a loss to Kohala

Raymond Millar, Farrington — Rushed 23 times for 171 rushes with two touchdowns

Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, Campbell — Caught eight passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns, intercepted three passes on defense and returned two for scores in a win over O'Connor

Alex Muti, Konawaena — Had 11 tackles, including 7 1/2 for losses, and one-half sack in a win over Keaau

Sky Ogata, Roosevelt — Threw for 182 yards and four touchdowns on 13-of-22 passing without an interception in a win over Pearl City

Duke Palma, Pahoa — Rushed twice for 78 yards and a touchdown, caught seven passes for 87 yards and made 6 1/2 tackles, 1 1/2 for losses, including one-half sack and a fumble recovery in a loss to Kohala

Izaiah Pilanca-Emmsley, Kau — Rushed 33 times for 235 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Hawaii Prep

Austin Pola, Waipahu — Rushed 23 times for 218 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Radford

Joseph Roback, Konawaena — Scored on a 59-yard interception return in a win over Keaau

Jesse Stroede, Kaiser — Caught seven passes for 103 yards and a touchdown in a win over Kalani

Jacob Saole-Sue, Kapolei — Had 10 tackles, including two for losses, in a loss to Farrington

Apearamo Sulu, Damien — Rushed eight times for 100 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Castle

Skyler Thrasher, Roosevelt — Scored on a 9-yard fumble return in a win over Pearl City

Joshua Tihada, Lahainaluna — Rushed 25 times for 128 yards and a touchdown in a win over Kamehameha-Maui

Koa Turnagan, Leilehua — Threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 13-of-18 passing without an interception in a win over Aiea

Harvey Welch, Kamehameha — Scored on a 22-yard interception return in a loss to Saint Louis

Easton Yoshino, Kaiser — Threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns on 20-of-31 passing without an interception in a win over Kalani


GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Keonilei Akana, Kamehameha — Had 10 digs, four kills and one assist in a two-set win over Mid-Pacific

Katie Cook, Island School — Had 35 assists, four aces, three block assists and one solo block in a win over Kapaa

Tara De Sa, Kamehameha — Had 12 digs and two assists in a two-set win over Mid-Pacific

Madison Garcia, Pearl City — Had 18 assists and two kills in a three-set loss to Campbell

Chloe Kaahanui, Punahou — Had 21 assists, three kills and three digs in a two-set win over Kamehameha

Devin Kahahawai, Kamehameha — Had 10 kills and two digs in a two-set loss to Punahou

Alexis Kepa, Kapolei — Had 17 assists, six digs and a kill in a three-set win over Waialua

Mari Lawton, Iolani — Had 10 kills and a block assist in a two-set win over Maryknoll

Ashley Mecham, Island School — Had 23 kills, 17 digs and six aces in a four-set win over Kapaa

Kelsie Nakashima, Aiea — Had 34 assists and five kills in a five-set loss to Nanakuli

Megan Nishimura, Iolani — Had 12 digs and three assists in a two-set win over Hawaii Baptist

Izabel Rosario, Mid-Pacific — Had 10 digs and an assist in a two-set loss to Kamehameha

Bryanne Soares, Kamehameha — Had 25 assists, five digs, two kills, one solo block and a block assist in a two-set win over Mid-Pacific

Precious Tauanuu, Aiea — Had 22 kills, two block assists and an ace in a five-set loss to Nanakuli

Mokihana Tufono, Iolani — Had 22 assists, four kills and two digs in a two-set win over Hawaii Baptist

Katharine Yoshimoto, Punahou — Had 11 digs and an assist in a two-set win over Kamehameha



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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