Top Performers
Kealakehe's Nahale, Punahou's Matias provided leadership, solid play in big wins




Sheynen-Wyatt Nahale

Kealakehe football  •   #2    

The continued development of Sheynen-Wyatt Nahale is evident by the numbers. 

While the Kealakehe senior quarterback passed for only 189 yards in Friday night's 42-14 win over Waiakea, it was what he did with his legs that prove the point. Nahale ran for 123 yards on just 11 carries — more than half of his total rushing yards as a sophomore during the 2019 season.  

Waveriders' coach Wyatt Nahale, Sheynen's father, said that offensive coordinator Paki Cummings called a few plays that were designed runs for the quarterback, but the majority of the yardage came off of scrambles. 

"I think what it comes down to was he was just trying to find a way to make it happen and for whatever reason things didn't develop and he went to his next option and was able to use his legs, get outside and take yards on the run," coach Nahale said. "He extended a lot of our drives, a lot of third-down conversions happened that way."

Nahale's previous career-high was 61 rushing yards against Keaau two years ago. He played his freshman season at Konawaena, where he logged just nine carries the entire year. 

"Looking back on his freshman and sophomore year, that was something he wouldn't have done in those first two years, but now that he's matured a lot, he's able to extend plays and do things that through his experience, kind of helped him grow," said Wyatt Nahale, who was an assistant with the Wildcats before he was hired to take over the Kealakehe program in 2019.  

But the younger Nahale — who is a sprinter on the track and field team — didn't just use his legs Friday night. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound signal-caller also threw four touchdown passes, three of them coming after halftime — to three different receivers. Nahale completed 14 of his 22 pass attempts without an interception and found six different pass-catchers.

"He was able to spread it out and I think that having different receivers that are able to contribute in that way really helps us out offensively and he was trying his best to get our athletes involved and contributing, so that was a great thing I saw as well," coach Nahale said. 

The Waveriders found success with their ground game early on, as running back TJ Arakawa broke free for a pair of 48-yard touchdown runs — one in each of the first two quarters — and that led to further success in the passing game in the final two quarters. 

Nahale found Shawn Ichishita for a 13-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, then connected with Hunter Acia and Arakawa on scoring strikes of 17 and 9 yards, respectively, in the fourth. 

"I think that the run game in the beginning kind of helped open up our passing game in the second half," Wyatt Nahale explained. 

"We felt we have a strong running game and if we want to be a dynamic offense, we know that we have to develop some things in our passing game. (Sheynen's) take on the second half was, ‘coach, let's do this,' give-me-the-ball type of mentality and I think that played a big part in it, especially being a senior and having that mentality of ‘put it on my shoulders.' " 

Coach Nahale was proud of the way his quarterback led by example Friday night, especially after the Warriors posted a 14-point second quarter to pull within a touchdown at the half, 21-14. 

"I think what impressed me the most was that he continued to stay focused during the game," he said. 

Waiakea's first touchdown was a pass that was tipped by a Kealakehe defender and fortuitously found the hands of a receiver for an 11-yard score. Its other score was off of a halfback option for a 33-yard TD pass. 

"So basically a trick play, but it put Waiakea back in the game and what I noticed out of halftime was Sheynen kind of put the team on his back and said, ‘Let's go, let's do this,' and he did it not only by saying it, but he performed on the field and ultimately was able to help the offense and the rest of the team, defensively as well," Wyatt Nahale said. "Having that experience, the young players look to him and they could see that and that was kind of infectious. I think he wanted the game on his back at that point after halftime."

His right arm aside, Sheynen Nahale's experience as a three-year starting quarterback at the varsity level is arguably his most valuable asset to the Waveriders. 

"He was able to start young and was able to grow up with experience and the experience is kind of an important thing, especially in a season like this year where we didn't have a season last year, so a lot of the young guys rely on him for his leadership," coach Nahale said. 

As a Konawaena freshman in 2018, Nahale threw for 2,068 yards and 17 TDs, but completed only 47 percent of his passes (175 of 372) and was intercepted 24 times. His sophomore campaign saw him complete 63 percent of his passes (122 for 194) for 1,503 yards with 13 TDs against five INTs. 

This year, with his third offensive coordinator in three seasons, Nahale has thrown for 382 yards and five TDs through his team's first two games. His completion rate is 65 percent (33 of 51) and he has been intercepted just once. 

"He's never had a system he was able to take with him for his entire career and he's feeling out another (offensive coordinator) now for his senior year, so he's trying to fit himself into another offensive scheme right now and that's where I feel a little bit like I may have thrown a lot on his plate because he's gotta learn so many new things, but what he does bring is a lot of variables an OC can take this year and work with because he brings a lot of pieces to the table," Wyatt Nahale said. "There's a lot of new things that he's gotta adapt to that he didn't do his freshman and sophomore year and there's some challenges, but I think he's doing a great job."

Through all of the changes, however, Nahale has worked behind the scends to continue to better himself. As a sophomore he weighed 165 pounds; He's put on 25 pounds since then. 

"He's really worked hard, obviously in the weight room, trying to get stronger and his vision — being able to see the field — he's made a lot of progress with his vision, but we're still working on it and there's a lot of work to do still yet," coach Nahale said. 

But it hasn't just been individual success for Nahale. Kealakehe is 2-0 and tied for first place with cross-town rival Konawaena atop the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I standings. 

"They're excited. The feeling in the locker room and amongst the players, they're excited not only to have a season, but to get some wins under our belt is important because it reinforces the things we're talking about and preaching at practice," Nahale said.

He calls this year's seniors a special group. Those 11 are the impetus for the success the team is basking in this fall. 

"It's a unique group. I've probably never coached a group like this my whole career: they're on time, got good attitudes, don't miss practice — they're great and I'm just blessed and appreciate that I have the opportunity to work with these kids," Nahale said. 

Sheynen Nahale is the middle child of Wyatt and Lorna Nahale's five children. Father and son make sure to keep football in perspective when it comes to family time. 

"On the field it's strictly football. Off the field we do talk football, but it's more like a dad-son relationship. We talk about the normal, regular dad-son things: fishing, hunting — he loves to dive — we talk about things like that," Wyatt Nahale said. "Football will always have a special place in our family, but we try not to let it consume our time and we put football in a place and try not to let it be the driving force behind our family. We like to put our faith first and then we talk about just the normal dad-son things."

The Waveriders moved up three spots to No. 12 in this week's ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Power Rankings. They play at Keaau (1-1) Friday at 5 p.m. before a highly-anticipated clash with seven-time defending league champion Hilo on Nov. 12.




Jaclyn Matias

Punahou volleyball  •   #1  S  Senior

The top-ranked Punahou girls volleyball team is in good hands with Jaclyn Matias. 

Literally. 

Matias, a 5-foot-9 senior, is in her fourth varsity season for the Buffanblu and her third as their starting setter. But beyond being one of four seniors on the squad, the true value that Matias brings to the team is almost immeasurable, according to her coach. 

"The setter position is like the quarterback," Punahou coach Tita Ahuna said. "They make things happen and Jackie just shows her leadership as a senior. She does very well on the court spreading out sets and she's not very vocal, but when we need it she steps up and shows great leadership skills."

Ahuna went on to talk about the competitive nature of Matias, who is committed to the University of Hawaii.

"She wants to compete every day. She wants to compete and because of that work ethic, she draws a lot of her teammates to do the same and it shows on the court, where a setter can set a multitude of people and get some results so she's doing a tremendous job out there," said Ahuna, a former standout setter herself at both Kamehameha and UH. 

However, Ahuna — who is in her first season as girls volleyball coach at Punahou but has been an athletic director there for several years now — doesn't like to talk much about her own playing days. 

"I share little tidbits of my career, not a whole lot, but I do share and on our senior night I did tell her that I'll be watching her at UH closely and that I wished her the best, so if she asks me questions I'll answer them, but I think Jackie has a good head on her shoulders and she knows what she wants to do and where she wants to go and I'm here to support and guide her when needed," Ahuna said. 

Matias had herself a match last Tuesday, when she tallied 50 assists in a five-set win over Iolani. The win clinched the Interscholastic League of Honolulu first-round title for the Buffanblu and secured them a spot in the Division I state tournament as well. 

Punahou had four hitters record at least 10 kills, led by middle Grace Fiaseu's 17. Outside hitter Lucky-Rose Williams and middle Belle Iosua posted 14 kills apiece and outside hitter Lulu Uluave added 10 in the win. 

"She pretty much spread out her sets very well and she did some really good things out on the court to help our hitters get their kills and credit to our passers, too. She couldn't have done that without our great passing from our (defensive specialists) and libero — and our starting six — they did a great job," Ahuna said. "I mean, overall we passed well, which meant that we could run our offense."

The game plan for the Buffanblu against the Raiders was to utilize the middle attack, provided they got serviceable passes in serve-receive. 

"It's good that we have a lot of people that we can go to but we try and establish a game plan before each match, for the most part and against Iolani we wanted our middles to get active right from the beginning," Ahuna said, "and she stuck to the game plan and did very well."

Matias also chipped in with three kills and an ace, as well as four block assists. Punahou registered 17 total team blocks in the win. 

"We worked really hard on blocking," Ahuna said. "We spent a lot of time just focusing on our footwork and hand placement over the net and it made me feel good as a coach to see our hard work just pay off in dividends. I don't know what the exact stat is, but I was very, very, very proud of them; they did a really good job with blocking and blocking is tough, it's a tough skill to learn."

It's certainly not as easy as the 5-9 Matias makes it look. 

"She can also hit," Ahuna disclosed. "She's a good hitter. We could probably put her on the outside and she would be very effective."

Perhaps that's the reason Matias tends to "hold" opposing blockers, which frees up her hitters for more one-on-one looks at the net. 

"To me those kinds of things, that's called respect," Ahuna said. "The other teams really respect her as a setter and as a volleyball player, so when you keep that blocker on you as a setter, that means they respect what you can do out there on the court."

As far as Matias' on-court demeanor, Ahuna described her as "very even-keel.

"She gets pumped up, but it's not like what you normally see other people do; she's just very even, very steady — just like her setting: very even, very steady," Ahuna said. "She gets the ball to the right people and she makes things happen for our team, so we look to her to do a lot of things."

Ahuna pointed out the positivity that Matias brings to the court, even when the passing breaks down from time to time. 

"She will just encourage her teammates to get the ball where it needs to go, she doesn't get upset. She's very encouraging and she'll try and get her teammates fired up and it happens all the time with us, our passing breaks down and she has to run all over the court just to get a ball, but she doesn't get upset; it's just ‘let's get the next one,' and that's Jackie, very even-keel," Ahuna described. 

Punahou has lost twice this season: at Iolani back on Sept. 23 and at Kamehameha on Oct. 19. Both defeats have proven to be beneficial for the Buffanblu. 

"I think it really helped us focus on what we needed to do, what we needed to work on and we've been working hard on looking at our weaknesses and making little tweaks here and there," Ahuna said. 

Matias has shown a willingness to take constructive criticism from Ahuna and her coaching staff to heart. 

"The good thing about Jackie is she's smart and she's well-respected by her teammates, which is huge and they all like her," Ahuna said. "She gets along with everyone on the team, which is great and I think she's super effective as a setter. She really knows her craft and she tries to improve every day. When we tell her to change something, or if something is not working, she's very receptive and she wants to improve."

The effort and attitude Matias brings on a daily basis is much appreciated by her coach, as well as her teammates. 

"I think she's super respectful and super receptive of what I say and what I teach and she has a growth mindset. She always wants to get better and that's what we want as coaches, is our student-athletes to get better every day," Ahuna said. "She's a great kid, tremendous student-athlete, but also a good person."

Matias also competes in beach volleyball and has done her fair share of traveling over the summers for club tournaments. 

"She's funny. She's always laughing and joking and it's fun to see the girls wanting to play and wanting to have fun on the court, because the bottom line is they want to be with their friends and they want to have fun and this team manages to do both very well," Ahuna said. "They like to have fun and they like to be around their teammates, so it's refreshing."

Matias and the Buffanblu (7-2) next play on Nov. 9 at Mid-Pacific in the opening round of the ILH's double-elimination tournament that serves as its second round. 

 

FOOTBALL 

Hunter Acia, Kealakehe — Had 10 tackles and an interception and caught a touchdown pass in a win over Waiakea

Noah Ah Sam, Kalani — Caught 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown in a win over Waialua

Keahi Ah Sui, Nanakuli — Threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns on 23-of-31 passing with one interception in a win over Kaimuki

Pookela Aiu, Kamehameha-Maui — Caught five passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Maui

Keoki Alani, Konawaena — Threw for 267 yards and five touchdowns on 16-of-20 passing without an interception in a win over Keaau

TJ Arakawa, Kealakehe — Carried 10 times for 169 yards and two touchdowns and caught a TD pass in a win over Waiakea

Noah Arase, Lahainaluna — Caught five passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Kekaulike

Joshua Arcayena, PAC-5 — Carried 28 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Pearl City

Donaveyn Atuaia, Kahuku — Recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in a win over Leilehua

Brody Bantolina, Iolani — Carried 22 times for 153 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 71 yards and another score in a win over Kailua

Jayce Bareng, Moanalua — Caught eight passes for 138 yards and a touchdown in a win over Castle

Nakoa Benjamin, Maui — Scored on a 55-yard interception return for touchdown in a win over Kamehameha-Maui

Diego Betancourt, Campbell — Intercepted two passes, returned one for a 99-yard pick-6, caught a touchdown pass and scored on a 92-yard punt return for touchdown in a win over Waianae

A.J. Bianco, Saint Louis — Threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-21 passing without an interception and ran for a another score in a win over Kamehameha

Ian-Jay Cabanilla, Lahainaluna — Ran seven times for 130 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Kekaulike

Andy Canencia, Moanalua — Scored on a 74-yard kickoff return in a win over Castle

Jack Carlson, Radford — Caught six passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns in a win over McKinley

Kainoa Carvalho, Kahuku — Scored on a 44-yard punt return for touchdown and ran for another score in a win over Leilehua

Talen Cazimero, Honokaa — Scored on a 90-yard fumble return for touchdown in a loss to Kamehameha-Hawaii

Josiah Chaffin, Farrington — Caught three passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Kapolei

Jayden Chang, Kalani — Intercepted two passes in a win over Waialua

Isaac Clement, Konawaena — Caught two touchdown passes in a win over Keaau 

Elijah Dinkel, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Kicked field goals of 38 and 43 yards in a win over Honokaa

Sefo Feesago, Pearl City — Scored on a 65-yard interception return in a loss to PAC-5

Chray Flanary, Konawaena — Had five tackles, all for losses, including three sacks in a win over Keaau

Brock Fonoimoana, Kahuku — Scored on a 27-yard interception return for touchdown in a win over Leilehua

Noa Gordon, Lahainaluna — Threw two touchdown passes and ran in another score in a win over Kekaulike

Michael Hayslett, Radford — Carried 12 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns in a win over McKinley

Micah Hoomanawanui, Iolani — Threw for 141 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-21 passing without an interception in a win over Kailua

Kawelu Kaiawe, Konawaena — Ran 11 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Keaau 

David Kalili, Nanakuli — Caught nine passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Kaimuki

Kana Loa Kaluna, Kahuku — Ran for two touchdowns in a win over Leilehua

Silas Kekahuna, Roosevelt — Intercepted two passes in a loss to Aiea 

Taualatuiletufuga Lautu, Kapolei — Scored on a two-yard fumble return for touchdown in a win over Farrington

Ieremia Lemaota, Campbell — Had three sacks in a win over Waianae

Joseph Lewis IV, Nanakuli — Caught a touchdown pass and ran for another TD in a win over Kaimuki

Legend Libron, Kohala — Ran for a touchdown and also scored on a 42-yard punt return for touchdown in a win over Kau

Logan Lim, Kalani — Threw for 333 yards and a touchdown on 22-of-30 passing without an interception and ran for another score in a win over Waialua

Kamaehu Makanui, Konawaena — Caught two touchdown passes in a win over Keaau

Carson Murakami, Campbell — Scored on a 25-yard fumble return in a win over Waianae

Elijah Nahoopii-Makakona, Aiea — Intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble in a win over Roosevelt

Josh Oh, Kalani — Ran 20 times for 102 yards and a touchdown in a win over Waialua

Michael Papa, McKinley — Caught four passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Radford

Christian Payton, Radford — Carried 17 times for 147 yards and four touchdowns in a win over McKinley

Michael Perry, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Ran for 149 yards and a touchdown in a win over Honokaa

Branztyn Reyes, Nanakuli — Scored on a 56-yard interception return in a win over Kaimuki

Malachi Rombawa, Castle — Intercepted two passes in a loss to Moanalua

Ezra Sidotti, Kapolei — Carried 12 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass in a win over Farrington

Kai Staren, Kaiser — Scored on an 80-yard kickoff return in a win over Kalaheo

Coby Tanioka, Castle — Caught six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in a loss to Moanalua

Noah Uchida, Kalani — Caught nine passes for 175 yards and ran for a touchdown in a win over Waialua

Kalob Victorino-Avilla, Radford — Threw for 163 yards and three touchdowns on 13-of-19 passing without an interception in a win over McKinley

Easton Yoshino, Kaiser — Threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-19 passing with one interception in a win over Kalaheo

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Anae Asuncion, Mililani — Had 45 assists, two kills and two aces in a four-set win over Nanakuli 

Nicanora Clarke, Waianae — Had 11 kills, two digs, two assists and one solo block in a three-set win over Aiea 

Grace Fiaseu, Punahou — Had 17 kills, seven block assists and one solo block in a five-set win over Iolani

Anuhea Hauanio-Lore, Iolani — Had 13 kills and one block assist in a five-set loss to Punahou

Belle Iosua, Punahou — Had 14 kills, five block assists and two aces in a five-set win over Iolani

Hailey Kauweloa, Nanakuli — Had 11 digs, nine kills and four assists in a four-set loss to Mililani

Melene Matautia, Nanakuli — Had 20 assists, six digs, five kills, two aces and one block assist in a three-set win over Aiea and had 14 assists, 12 digs, two kills, two block assists, one solo block and an ace in a four-set loss to Mililani

Aria Miller, Mililani — Had 13 kills and three aces in a four-set win over Nanakuli

Senna Roberts-Navarro, Iolani — Had 13 kills and one assist in a five-set loss Punahou

Haiti Tautuaa, Waianae — Had 26 assists, four aces, three kills and a dig in a three-set win over Aiea 

Lucky-Rose Williams, Punahou — Had 14 kills, four solo blocks and three block assists in a five-set win over Iolani

Jaelyn Tang, Mililani — Had 25 kills and two assists in a four-set win over Nanakuli 



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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