Top Performers
Fonoimoana-Vaomu, Grace keyed Kahuku, Konawaena




Male Athlete of the Week: Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu, Kahuku football
It takes Sterling Carvalho a little bit to recall the number of different hats that Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu wears for the Kahuku football team, but one can hardly blame the second-year coach of the Red Raiders.

After all, "Mana," as Fonoimoana-Vaomu goes by, has donned a bunch of different ones over the years.

"He's more of a safety, but sometimes he's played a hybrid linebacker, he's our punter, he can play wildcat on offense, at the beginning of the season he was even at quarterback, so that's his mindset," Carvalho said of the 5-foot-10, 182-pound senior. "He's tenacious and he just wants to compete and he wants to win, so he'll do whatever it takes for the team, but the bottom line is he's a winner."

Fonoimoana-Vaomu, who has served as a starter in the defensive secondary in each of his three varsity seasons, is one of the team captains as a senior this season.

"What he does best is he leads and he leads by example," Carvalho said. "People follow his leadership."

Fonoimoana-Vaomu led the way for the fourth-ranked Red Raiders with a stellar performance in last Saturday's 46-0 win over No. 5 Campbell in a semifinal game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Open Division tournament. He recorded two of his team's four interceptions, including a 63-yard pick-6 in the second half.

"His performance was awesome. I mean, he did it with his leg on special teams (punting), defensively he was spot on, but it's a tribute not just to him, but our whole defensive unit and our whole special teams units, they did really good," Carvalho said.

Kahuku held the Sabers to just 2.7 yards per play and 145 total yards. Campbell was 2 of 11 on third downs and turned it over six times in all, including a pair of fumbles, and was shut out for the first time this season.

"They were just relentless, relentless to the ball," Carvalho said of his defense. "They practice that, the coaches harp on that, running sideline to sideline. We told them that it's playoff football time and we've got to step up our game, our level of intensity and they were ready for it and it was apparent last Saturday."

In addition to his two interceptions, Fonoimoana-Vaomu recorded 2 1/2 tackles and one tackle for loss. He averaged 30.8 yards on each of his five punts Saturday, but twice pinned the Sabers inside their own 20-yard line, including a 55-yard boot in the second quarter that went out of bounds at the Campbell 3-yard line.

Fonoimoana-Vaomu's first punt of the game led to Campbell starting its second offensive possession from its own 15. However, two plays later, Kahuku recorded a safety to open the scoring when Ace Kaufusi forced a fumble that was recovered by the Sabers, but in their own end zone.

"Special teams is the X-factor as far as any game goes — that's how we lost to Mililani earlier this year — their special teams was on point and put us in bad situations, they took advantage of our turnovers, so moving forward after that game we needed to make sure our special teams was on point, so with Mana he gives us different options as far as punting," Carvalho said.

Carvalho noted that Fonoimoana-Vaomu is well capable of executing an end-over-end, rugby-style punt that has greatly limits the opportunity for returns by the opposing team.

"But at the same time he can fake a punt — and we did that against Punahou — so you can't just lay back and expect us to punt the ball and that puts a lot of pressure on their return team," Carvalho said.

In one instance Saturday, Fonoimoana-Vaomu recorded a tackle on his own punt. Which it may seem unusual for most punters to make a tackle downfield, Carvalho said it's not out of the norm for Fonoimoana-Vaomu.

"He just wants to get in the action, so he's aggressive no matter where the ball is. The thing is he's a smart player, but if he knows that he can make the tackle, or make the interception, he's going to go for it," Carvalho said. "It's hard to teach aggressiveness, but for him it comes naturally."

Fonoimoana-Vaomu's first pick Saturday came late in the first half and as Campbell had just penetrated the red zone. He intercepted a Blaine Hipa pass at the Kahuku 4-yard line and returned it 24 yards to halt the Sabers' scoring threat and send his team into halftime with a 29-0 lead.

"Mana just read him all the way. The coaches and defensive players spend a lot of time watching film and he was in the right place at the right time, but it's not just a coincidence. It's by him studying and knowing formations and knowing what the opponents are going to do, so he put himself in a great position to make that play," Carvalho said.

After the Red Raiders went up 32-0 midway through the third quarter, Campbell benefitted from a pair of Kahuku encroachment penalties to extend its drive. However, Fonoimoana-Vaomu was Johnny-on-the-spot once again and came up with his second interception — this one he took back to the house for a 63-yard return and score.

"He baited the quarterback really good," Carvalho recalled. "If you watch it, I can see what the quarterback is thinking, but I know Hipa didn't get to step into the throw as much as he wanted to and once he hung it up — it was one our sideline, too — so you could just see Mana tracking it down and he just made the play and finished with a touchdown, so we were all happy for him."

It was Fonoimoana-Vaomu's third interception on the season.

"He's just a great young man. He's a great captain, a role model for other students in the school. It's not just about him and that's what makes him so special is he's very humble. He gives credit to his teammates, his coaches and he's very coachable," Carvalho said. "He's a coach's dream as far as an athlete goes."

The win over the Sabers not only punched the Red Raiders' ticket to next month's First Hawaiian Bank State Championships, it also sets up a rematch against No. 3 Mililani for the OIA title this Saturday.

"It built a lot of confidence in our players," Carvalho said of the victory, Kahuku's third in its last four games.

"Our players are peaking at the right time and at this point in the playoffs all the teams are deserving of being there, Mililani especially. They're a well-coached team, they're big and they're fast, so we've got to make sure we execute the things that we have been doing right to get us into this championship game," Carvalho said.

Kahuku's lone loss of the OIA season came at the hands of the Trojans back on Aug. 16, by a score of 32-0.

Fonoimoana-Vaomu and the second-seeded Red Raiders (7-3) will their crack at revenge against Mililani in the nightcap of a championship triple-header at Aloha Stadium Saturday.

Kaimuki and Roosevelt will meet in the D2 final at 2 p.m., with the D1 title game between No. 8 Leilehua and No. 10 Moanalua at 4:45 p.m. Kickoff between Kahuku and Mililani is scheduled for approximately 7:30 p.m.

Female Athlete of the Week: Malie Grace, Konawaena volleyball
It's more likely that Malie Grace will lead with her actions rather than her words on the volleyball court. But when the Konawaena senior made a bold proclamation back in the summer, her words proved to be prophetic.

Grace, a three-year varsity member and two-year starter, is a key cog for the Wildcats, who have put together a 12-4 record this year and captured the Big Island Interscholastic Federation championship that eluded them last season.

The 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter and opposite combined for 44 kills and 22 digs in wins over Pahoa and Hawaii Prep in the BIIF Division II Tournament at Keaau last week.

Grace put down 17 kills and seven digs, as well as one set assist and a service ace in a sweep of the Daggers Tuesday. She had just three attack errors on 39 swings for a .359 hitting percentage and also was eight of nine on serve-receive opportunities.

The following night, Grace turned in a Herculean effort with 27 kills on 80 swings and 15 digs. She committed nine attack errors and hit .225 to lead Konawaena in a come-from-behind five-set win over Ka Makani.

"She mixed up her shots," Wildcats coach Ainsley Keawekane said of Grace. "There's a lot of times where I'm on the side reminding them to use all their tools because they have a tool box full of tools and to use them all, not just one tool."

Grace, a six-rotation player, didn't need the reminder Wednesday.

"She used it all: roll shot, she hit the angle, tip shot, she went down the line," Keawekane said.

The Wildcats won the first set, 25-17, but lost the next two, 25-19 and 25-23. Grace posted eight kills in game 4, including a string of three straight late in the set.

Konawaena went on to take the fourth set, 25-19, to even the best-of-5 match at two games apiece. It opened game 5 with an early run to take a 5-1 lead when Keawekane recalled a conversion he had with Grace during an HPA timeout.

"I told Malie that she had to lead throughout this whole game and keep these kids motivated," Keawekane said. "Obviously it's a team sport and everybody was laying back when we started, so our coaches said to her and our other co-captain, Kailee Llanes-Kelekolio, that they need to step up and lead out there and they did just that."

The Wildcats held off Ka Makani to win the set, 15-11, and claim their fifth league crown in the last six years.

"Malie gave us the nod and she was out there motivating the team and they were able to pull it off, but she's the spark plug. If she gets going then everybody is going to catch fire, but she's not going, then we're not going," Keawekane said.

After helping Konawaena to its fourth consecutive BIIF title as a freshman starter in 2017, Grace and her teammates lost in the 2018 league final against Kohala. That, coupled with the Wildcats going two-and-out in the state tournament in each of the last two seasons, fueled Grace in the offseason.

"Like most athletes, when they become a senior they want to go out with a bang, try to win everything, be the best person they can be, best the best leader they can be and definitely coming off of what happened last year that's the case for her," Keawekane said. "Earlier in the season Malie mentioned to the girls and the coaches that, ‘we're going to go all the way. We're going to win the BIIF title this year.' "

The Wildcats were 4-4 after their first eight matches of the season — with losses against D1-foes Hilo, Kealakehe, Kamehameha-Hawaii and Waiakea — but have eight straight victories since then.

"We had some rough parts in the beginning of the season, but our motto is always that, ‘it's not how you start, it's how you finish,' so you want to put everything together by the end of the season," said Keawekane, who coached Konawaena to back-to-back D2 state titles in 2013 and 2014.

Grace, with her naturally quiet demeanor, has played a big part of the Wildcats' development and success this season.

"She's a very humble kid, very coachable, she's able to respond and just really able to lead. She's got a very good attitude, nice person and very shy, but when she's on the court she's a different person. The switch comes on and it's like, ‘OK, I need to stop being shy and be a ball player,' " Keawekane said. "She's just a great kid; one of those kids that you would want to hang around with your own kids."

Grace and the Wildcats might the flight over to Oahu Tuesday for this week's New City Nissan State Championships. They open the tournament against Oahu Interscholastic Association third-place finisher McKinley, 5 p.m. Wednesday at Kaimuki.


FOOTBALL
Vitale Afoa, Leilehua — Had eight tackles and one tackle for loss in a win over Waipahu

Brendyn Agbayani, Mililani — Threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-29 passing with one interception in a win over Farrington

Kalei Akagi, Leilehua — Caught 10 passes for 108 yards in a win over Waipahu

Kaeo Akana, Rooosevelt — Had two sacks and recovered a fumble in a win over Waialua

Hezekiah Anahu-Ambrosio, Konawaena — Had four tackles, one TFL and scored on an interception return in a win over Honokaa

Gabriel Araki, Leilehua — Had two sacks in a win over Waipahu

Marc Basa, Konawaena — Caught three passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Honokaa

Blitzen Benz, Waialua — Rushed for a touchdown and caught a scoring pass in a loss to Roosevelt

Jaydan Broad-Melander, Pahoa — Threw for 246 yards and four touchdowns on 19-of-27 passing with one interception in a loss to Kau

Mitchel Camacho, Roosevelt — Rushed for two touchdowns in a win over Waialua

Zavier Ceruti, Campbell — Caught seven passes for 122 yards in a loss to Kahuku

Landon Clevenger, Kailua — Caught eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown and recovered an offensive fumble in the end zone for another touchdown in a loss to Moanalua

Kamalu Deblake, Mililani — Had five tackles and scored on an 8-yard fumble return in a win over Farrington

Alfred Failauga, Waipahu — Rushed 32 times for 100 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Leilehua

Dre Falls, Kaiser — Caught three passes for 135 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Kaimuki

Aukai Grace, Moanalua — Intercepted two passes and broke-up another in a win over Kailua

Taj Iliwaalani-Salva, Keaau — Scored on a 73-yard kickoff return in a win over Waiakea

RJ Javar, Moanalua — Threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-34 passing without an interception in a win over Kailua

Kainoa Jones, Konawaena — Threw for 235 yards and five touchdowns on 11-of-15 passing with one interception in a win over Honokaa

Westin Joseph, Keaau — Caught four passes for 75 yards and a touchdown and intercepted a pass in a win over Waiakea

Kamahao Kailipaka, Waiakea — Caught six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Keaau

Shepherd Kekahuna, Roosevelt — Rushed for two touchdowns and scored on a 56-yard punt return in a win over Waialua

Myka Kukahiwa, Roosevelt — Rushed 13 times for 121 yards and a touchdown in a win over Waialua

Justyce Lacar, Waialua — Threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-15 passing without an interception in a loss to Roosevelt

Jayden Maiava, Kaimuki — Threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns on 15-of-29 passing with one interception in a win over Kaiser

Marcus Marion, Moanalua — Had three tackles for losses, including two sacks, in a win over Kailua

David Martinez, Pahoa — Rushed 16 times for 129 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Kau

Zealand Matagi, Kahuku — Rushed 17 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Campbell

Jaimison Medeiros, Konawaena — Had eight tackles, three for losses, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in a win over Honokaa

Koby Moananu, Kaimuki — Caught eight passes for 203 yards with three touchdowns, intercepted two passes, forced a fumble and broke-up a pass in a win over Kaiser

Griffin Motas, Moanalua — Made field goals of 41 and 42 yards in a win over Kailua

Keanu Muck, Pahoa — Caught four passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Kau

Kaulanaikaleoaukahiokala Navares, Mililani — Made field goals of 48 and 30 yards and was 4 of 4 on extra point attempts in a win over Farrington

Sky Ogata, Roosevelt — Threw for 180 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-26 passing with one interception and rushed eight times for 40 yards and another score in a win over Waialua

Duke Palma, Pahoa — Caught nine passes for 113 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Kau

Izaiah Pilanca-Emmsley, Kau — Rushed 12 times for 269 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Pahoa

Manuele Pulusila, Waipahu — Had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery in a loss to Leilehua

Waylon Spain, Waiakea — Had eight tackles, including 2 1/2 tackles for losses, in a loss to Keaau

Jett Tanigawa, Moanalua — Had three tackles for losses, including two sacks, and broke up a pass in a win over Kailua

Samson Thomas, Waiakea — Had seven tackles, one tackle for loss, recovered a fumble and scored on a 32-yard blocked punt return in a loss to Keaau

Enese Tonga, Kahuku — Had 4 1/2 tackles, three TFLs and two sacks in a win over Campbell

Kekoa Turangan, Leilehua — Threw for 218 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-27 passing with one interception in a win over Waipahu

Luke Watson, Kau — Rushed 14 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Pahoa

LaDravian Williams, Farrington — Had three tackles and scored on a 75-yard fumble return in a loss to Mililani

Matthew Williams, Kaimuki — Intercepted two passes, recovered a fumble and had one tackle for loss in a win over Kaiser


GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Tiani Bello, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Had 11 kills, eight digs and three aces in a three-set win over Hilo and had 16 kills and 18 digs in a three-set win over Waiakea

Madelyn Blanford, Kealakehe — Had 19 digs and seven assists in a five-set loss to Waiakea

Kirra Brown, Hawaii Prep — Had 18 kills, six digs and three block assists in a five-set loss to Konawaena

Gabby Canienero, Waianae — Had 32 assists, three kills and two digs in a three-set win over Kaiser and had 27 assists, seven kills, three aces and a block assist in a five-set win over Farrington

Keisielynn Casuga, Konawaena — Had 10 kill and a dig in a three-set win over Pahoa

Camilla Chun, Farrington — Had 15 kills, two digs, one block assist and an ace in a five-set loss to Waianae

Jamie Chun, Hilo — Had 11 digs in a three-set loss to Kamehameha-Hawaii

Tiane Colobong, Pahoa — Had 23 digs and two assists in a three-set loss to Konawaena and had 17 digs and one assist in a three-set loss to Pahoa

Falanika Danielson, Mililani — Had 24 kills, eight digs and two aces in a four-set win over Kahuku and 25 kills, nine digs and a block assist in a five-set win over Moanalua

Alexis DeBina-Bautista, Moanalua — Had 15 kills and three digs in a three-set win over Kapolei and had 27 kills, 18 digs, four block assists and one ace in a five-set loss to Mililani

Tehani Espejo-Navarro, Kau — Had 36 assists and eight digs in a three-set win over Pahoa

Mariah Fukumoto, Mililani — Had 15 digs, six assists and one ace in a five-set win over Moanalua

Amariis Garcia, Moanalua — Had 10 kills, seven block assists, one solo block and an ace in a five-set loss to Mililani

Madison Garcia, Pearl City — Had 38 assists and four digs in a three-set win over Kalani

Maya Hamaoka, Kalani — Had 13 kills, seven digs and two aces in a three-set loss to Pearl City

Emma Harada-Suaava, Pearl City — Had 14 kills, three solo blocks and two block assists in a three-set win over Kalani

Kyioa Hashimoto, Kau — Had 12 digs, seven kills and four aces in a three-set win over Pahoa

Tayli Ikenaga, Moanalua — Had 14 kills in a three-set win over Kapolei and had 15 kills, 18 digs and one block assist in a five-set loss to Mililani

Kelsie Imai, Waiakea — Had 16 kills, two digs and an assist in a five-set win over Kealakehe

Aulike Kaiawe, Kealakehe — Had 39 assists, 16 digs, 12 kills and one ace in a five-set loss to Waiakea

Keau Kamakeeaina, Kahuku — Had 43 assists, four digs, four block assists and three kills in a four-set loss to Mililani

Alyssa Kamealoha, Farrington — Had 17 digs and three aces in a five-set loss to Waianae

Jaymi Kaneshiro, Waiakea — Had 35 assists in a five-set win over Kealakehe

Braelyn Kauhi, Konawaena — Had 14 kills and two digs in a five-set win over Hawaii Prep

Kaena Kekaulua, Waiakea — Had 11 kills, one dig, one solo block and a block assist in a five-set win over Kealakehe and had 12 digs and three assists in a three-set loss to Kamehameha-Hawaii

Alexis Kepa, Kapolei — Had 23 assists, two kills, two digs and three block assists in a three-set loss to Moanalua

Shania Kepoo-Caspino, Waianae — Had 14 kills, two digs and a solo block in a three-set win over Kaiser

Sariah Kuahuia-Pabre, Konawaena — Had 27 assists, 15 digs, six kills and an ace in a five-set win over Hawaii Prep

Loke Kuamoo, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Had 13 digs in a three-set win over Hilo

Parker Lewis, Hawaii Prep — Had 16 kills, 10 digs, two aces, one solo block and a block assist in a five-set loss to Konawaena

Kailee Llanes-Kelekolio, Konawaena — Had 16 digs, three assists and one kill in a three-set win over Pahoa and had 35 digs, seven assists and four aces in a five-set win over Hawaii Prep

Serenity Mamizuka, Kahuku — Had 12 digs in a four-set loss to Mililani

Jaynah Martin, Pearl City — Had 11 kills and five block assists in a three-set win over Kalani

Aria Miller, Mililani — Had 11 kills, 15 digs and three aces in a five-set win over Moanalua

Aysia Miller, Mililani — Had 32 assists, five kills, one dig and a block assist in a four-set win over Kahuku and had 37 assists, 14 digs, 10 kills and one ace in a five-set win over Moanalua

Kayana Mossman, Kaiser — Had 10 digs and an assist in a three-set loss to Waianae

Grace Nakoa-Oness, Waiakea — Had 50 assists, 15 digs, one kill, one block assist and an ace in five-set win over Kealakehe

Jenna Perry, Hawaii Prep — Had 33 digs and three assists in a five-set loss to Konawaena

Sonny Rodrigues, Moanalua — Had 16 digs, three assists and two aces in a five-set loss to Mililani

Sierra Scanlan, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Had 37 assists, 10 digs, two aces and a block assist in a three-set win over Hilo and had 42 assists, 13 digs and one ace in a three-set win over Waiakea

Nani Spaar, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Had 11 kills, eight digs and three aces in a three-set win over Hilo and had 15 kills, three digs and two aces in a three-set win over Waiakea

Toodie Sopi, Kapolei — Had 10 kills and an ace in a three-set loss to Moanalua

Kii Takata, Kealakehe — Had 18 digs, nine kills and two aces in a five-set loss to Waiakea

Savannah Taosoga, Kahuku — Had 17 kills and two digs in a four-set loss to Mililani

Anastasia Tuifua, Kealakehe — Had 26 kills, seven aces, five digs, three solo blocks and one block assist in a five-set loss to Waiakea

Jerica Vele, Farrington — Had 28 assists, three solo blocks, two block assists and one kill in a five-set loss to Waianae

Chelsea Velez, Kau — Had 15 kills, five digs and one assist in a three-set win over Pahoa

Michelle Vintero, Waiakea — Had 11 kills, four digs and one assist in a five-set win over Kealakehe

Chevy Wagner-Chun, Waianae — Had 20 digs, three kills, two assists and two aces in a three-set win over Kaiser



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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