Top Performers
Mahiko, Hawkins propelled Cougars, Bulldogs to key victories




Kamakana Mahiko

Kaiser football  •   #13    

Kamakana Mahiko's hard work is paying off. 

The Kaiser senior had himself a night to remember Friday, when he hauled in 10 receptions for 292 yards and three touchdowns to help his team to a 34-14 win over previously-undefeated Radford. 

"It was a great performance," Cougars coach Tim Seaman said. 

Much of Mahiko's production came in a 27-point first half for Kaiser. He opened the scoring with a 6-yard TD pass from quarterback Easton Yoshino just about two and a half minutes into the game. That came not long after he pulled down a long reception along the left sideline on a play that started with a bad snap that could have gone for a loss of 20 yards. 

After Radford pulled ahead, 8-7, midway through the opening quarter, Mahiko answered in a big way with a 75-yard TD pass from Yoshino to put Kaiser back ahead. 

The same duo hooked up for a 78-yard scoring strike at the 3:08 mark of the second quarter, which stretched the Cougars' lead to 27-14. 

"I think what stuck out to me was his ability in the open field to shake tackles and his ability to make people miss and then he's fast enough to put the ball into the end zone," Seaman said. "He had one of those special nights and that's pretty neat to see."

But it certainly didn't come without some sweat equity. Seaman has seen with his own eyes just how much work Mahiko has put into perfecting his craft over the years. 

"He's very dedicated in the weight room, he trains hard all year long and he's just one of those guys that's kind of a gym rat: constantly working out, constantly physically active," Seaman said. "He's very serious about his training. He takes care of business in the classroom, he's a good guy to be around, his teammates respect him, but we keep coming back to work ethic — that's probably his strongest suit."

And when it comes to Mahiko's work ethic, it's certainly not sporadically or in spurts. 

"He goes hard and gives great effort every day, every practice and it's a real positive for us as coaches to have a kid that talented, but yet still have that desire to work hard in practice every day," Seaman added. 

As a third-year varsity player, Mahiko has a hand in providing leadership for his teammates, but he does so in his own unique way. 

"He's not a real vocal kind of guy, in practice anyway. Game nights, he'll take it up a notch, but for the most part it's his work ethic and how hard he works in practice and that's important, again, because when your more talented players are also your hardest-working players, it's good for everyone to see that," Seaman said. 

Mahiko averaged 29.2 yards per catch Saturday night. For the season, he's recorded 22 receptions for 430 yards — which ranks third in D2 statewide — and five TDs. 

"It was good to see his hard work and his dedication pay off for him in that manner, and for the offense as a whole," Seaman said. "He realizes without that offensive line providing that protection and without Easton Yoshino making the proper read, it's always a team effort and in this case it was Kamakana who got the ball in space and he made the most of his opportunities."

As a sophomore in 2019, Mahiko was third on the team with 28 receptions for 415 yards and five touchdowns. His previous career-best game came against Kaimuki that season, when he had five catches for 124 yards and three TDs. 

Since then, Mahiko has grown an inch and put on 20 pounds. 

"Based on everything that's happened over the past two years, it's just nice to see someone that works hard receive that little payoff, where they have one of those nights that you dream about and again, all the hard work that goes into it — I mean, that just doesn't happen," Seaman said. 

"There's a lot of hard work that goes into it — in terms of running routes on his own, catching footballs on his own, being in the weight room, conditioning, running and all that stuff — so to have that type of night, we're happy for him that he got to experience that."

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Mahiko is not just a standout on offense. In addition to his ability at wide receiver, Mahiko has also seen time at cornerback on defense and on special teams as a returner. 

In fact, he recorded three interceptions in a season-opening 28-6 win over Kalani; he also caught five passes for 66 yards and a touchdown that night. 

"He really played well at that position and in terms of his future, I'm really not sure now," Seaman said. "Every time I think he's gonna be a receiver, he plays really well at (defensive back) and then when I'm thinking that, he comes back at receiver and turns it on at receiver, so right now we're just lucky to have him on both sides of the ball and on special teams as well, because he's a really solid return guy."

Seaman reiterated the fact that what Mahiko lacks in terms of prototypical size, he more than makes up for with his diligence and commitment to his craft. 

"I think he's really athletic — he's not the biggest guy in the world — but he works really hard in the weight room and in his conditioning. He's got nice length — he's a longer body type — and then his speed, he's deceptively fast. He's not gonna run a 4.5 (40-yard dash) or anything like that, but I'll tell you what, when you put the ball in his hands, he's fast enough," Seaman described. 

Perhaps the most surprising part of Mahiko's prolific night was the fact that he was fighting a cold earlier in the week. 

"He wasn't a hundred percent, believe it or not," Seaman disclosed. "He had a little cold and everything so he was a little run down. He didn't practice on Monday and Tuesday, then he was able to get some work in Wednesday and Thursday and he really gutted it out on Friday night. We had hoped to use him a little bit more on defense, but the way it was working out, he was having such a good game on offense so we left him there and really he did the best we could have hoped for."

Also, the fact that the Cougars played well defensively allowed Seaman to get Mahiko a little more rest. Radford was shut out in the second half and was held to 71 total rushing yards for the game; it entered the game averaging better than 225 rushing yards per game. 

"We did a good job of playing team defense," Seaman said. "We got people around the ball and we weren't perfect by any means, but I think our tackling has improved as we've gone through the season and I think the biggest thing is getting lined up with the lack of experience that we have, so recognizing formations and getting people in the right spot, that played a part in it, but we can get better, no doubt about that. We need to keep taking steps forward because every week for us is a real challenge."

The win pushed Kaiser to 4-0 on the season and into sole possession of first place in the nine-team OIA Division II standings. 

Mahiko and the Cougars will host Pearl City (2-2 overall, 2-1 league) Friday night. 




Gennezia Hawkins

Le Jardin volleyball  •   #25    

Gennezia Hawkins is what one might call a quick study, which she has certainly proved on the volleyball court. 

Despite being a first-year starter for the Le Jardin girls volleyball team this fall, Hawkins has excelled in her role as the team's setter — a position she is still relatively new to. 

"She was a hitter," Bulldogs coach Lee Lamb said of Hawkins, a 5-foot-7 third-year varsity player. 

Lamb disclosed that it was former Punahou and University of Hawaii standout Larry Tuileta — whose younger sister Nive graduated last year after four highly-successful years with the Le Jardin program — that initiated the position change for Hawkins. 

"He's the one who said, ‘We've got to get this kid setting,' " Lamb said. 

He went on, "I think when Larry saw her, it was just athleticism. He's like, ‘This is one of the most athletic kids in the gym; We gotta get her to put her hands on the ball."

But Hawkins's natural athleticism alone wasn't enough to equip her for the setting job. Lamb talked about her mental make-up that was reassuring for him as her coach. 

"I think there's some other kids in our gym we talked about pushing toward that role, but you can't just be an athlete, you gotta have a mind for it, too, and it usually helps if you're someone who can spend a little time doing game study," Lamb said. "She's a student of the game in that way. That's what pushed us toward her is we knew she would put the time into her role and not just be a setter, but work toward being the best-in-her-class kind of thing."

So far, so good. 

Hawkins has accumulated 330 assists in nine matches this season. She is averaging 10 assists per set has eclipsed the 40-assist mark four times this year, including a season-high 55 assists in a five-set loss to Damien back on Oct. 12. 

Lamb admitted that Hawkins, who goes by the nickname ‘Nene,' has most definitely exceeded his tempered expectations this fall. 

"A lot better than I anticipated, if I'm being honest," he said. "You want to be optimistic with athletes, but she had such big shoes to fill so you worry about the fall off even though you're trying to be optimistic, but I really like where she's at. It's not perfect by any means, but she's made a lot of progress in a year and a half and she just puts in the work — I can't stress that enough — whether it's her hands, the location of sets, timing, putting the time in to get better, so as great as Nive was, I think Nene is doing a good job. Is she Nive? No, but she's holding her own."

Lamb pointed to the operating speed of the Bulldogs' offensive attack as proof of the ability that Hawkins possesses. 

"We're running one of the faster offenses in the state, I think, so she manages that really well and she's enthusiastic and she just loves the game. If you ever get the chance to watch her play, put your eyes on her and watch her jump around a little bit," Lamb said. 

He was asked to describe what kind of a player Hawkins is for the uninitiated. 

"Personally, I feel like she plays pretty fearlessly," Lamb described. "She's very athletic and as a setter, it's easy for her to gain position on a ball and then she has the strength to get it places where some setters might not be able to, that's some of the things she does. I mean, she's only been setting honestly for about a year and a half and she has great command of the offense."

Hawkins posted 45 assists, 11 digs, three kills and two aces in a season-opening win over Sacred Hearts. She notched 40 assists, six digs and one kill in a sweep of Hanalani a week later. In a four-set victory over Hawaii Baptist last month, Hawkins posted 49 assists, one kill and an ace. 

For the season, Hawkins has recorded six double-doubles, most recently a 28-assists, 11-dig performance in a four-set win over then-No. 10 Maryknoll Saturday night. 

Most of Hawkins's assists were converted by outside hitter Reese Diersbock, who finished with a match-high 19 kills. 

"Reese is definitely putting up numbers and Nene is feeding Reese a lot of balls. When you have someone grabbing the ball that high, they're constantly pushing the pace between the two of them to see how much faster they can make it, so I think that's going to make it hard for other teams," Lamb said. "Nene's still new to the position, so she's not completely on with her location, but if there's something that pushes us up over the top and makes it tough on everyone else, it's gonna be the tempo of the offense that she runs."

Hawkins also had four kills, two block assists and one ace against the Spartans. The win was the fourth in a row for the Bulldogs, who locked up one of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's fourth state tournament berths in Division II with the victory. 

"That was really important for us. I really felt like Maryknoll was gonna come in with a chip on their shoulder, but I thought that we handled it really well and I thought we won pretty handily even though we didn't play exceptional volleyball," Lamb said. " Our timing was off some places, serve-receive was off at times, so for us to win in that manner was pretty important for us and it gives us some confidence going into the next one — and it was nice to secure a berth. I think that takes some of the pressure off for us."

Lamb noted that Hawkins's background as a hitter has helped her with her setting duties. 

"Yeah, I think it does and I think, as an attacker, she understands that it's her job to help them be successful. She had the benefit of having Nive for a setter for a couple years, so she understands how important it is to have good location to help your attackers be successful, so I think that definitely helps," he said. 

As far as leadership, Hawkins has definitely stepped up her game in that department. 

"She definitely provides leadership for the team — maybe she's not as vocal as I would like her to be — but, for sure, with her work ethic; there's no one that works harder than her," Lamb said. 

Others have begun to take notice of both the work ethic and ability that Hawkins possesses. She gave a verbal commitment to Cal State Bakersfield over the summer. 

"I'm excited for her that she was able to secure an offer with them. She went up there for a trip in August and she felt like that was the right fit for her, the coach wanted her and they locked it up," Lamb said. "I think that allows her to operate with less stress, too, so I'm thankful for that for a lot of different levels."

Le Jardin moved up one spot to No. 9 in this week's ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Power Rankings. 

Hawkins and the Bulldogs (8-2) will host University Lab (7-3) Friday at 6 p.m.

FOOTBALL

Kahoa Abreu, Kamehameha-Maui — Caught eight passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Kekaulike

Hunter Acia, Kealakehe — Caught six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown and made four tackles and intercepted a pass in a win over Keaau 

Hunter Ah Loo, Kamehameha — Made 14 total tackles, including nine solo stops, with one sack, a forced fumble and an interception in a loss to Saint Louis

Noah Ah Sam, Kalani — Caught seven passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns in a win over McKinley

Kealii Ah Yat Kamehameha — Threw for 162 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-23 passing with one interception and carried 10 times for 52 yards and two more TDs in a loss to Saint Louis

Leonard Ah You, Kahuku — Had two sacks in a win over Waianae

Isaiah Akiu, Kalaheo — Caught eight passes for 78 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Kaimuki

Koa Akui, Hilo — Caught three passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, intercepted two passes and returned one for a 55-yard touchdown in a win over Waiakea

TJ Arakawa, Kealakehe — Carried 21 times for 255 yards and three touchdowns and made four tackles in a win over Keaau 

Renstin Baker, Kapolei — Made five total tackles, including 2 1/2 sacks in a loss to Campbell 

Brody Bantolina, Iolani — Carried 16 times for 110 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Castle

Ryan Bethke, Kaiser — Had five tackles, including two sacks in a win over Radford

AJ Bianco, Saint Louis — Threw for 358 yards and a touchdown on 19-of-22 passing with one interception and carried 20 times for 117 yards and two more TDs in a win over Kamehameha

Ian-Jay Cabanilla, Lahainaluna — Carried 18 times for 218 yards in a win over Baldwin

Kaonohi Casco, Kamehameha-Maui — Scored on a 55-yard interception return in a win over Kekaulike

Ayzen Cummings, Kealakehe — Caught 10 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Keaau 

Javiyen Cummings, Kealakehe — Caught six passes for 107 yards in a win over Keaau 

Kanai Eckart, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Scored on a 23-yard interception return for touchdown in a win over Pahoa

Romeo Failauga, Waipahu — Scored on a 79-yard fumble return in a win over Waipahu

Kekainalu Fuerte, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Scored on a 43-yard interception return for touchdown in a win over Pahoa

Michael Hayslett, Radford — Had 3 1/2 tackles, including two sacks and forced a fumble in a loss to Kaiser

Jakob Honda, Hawaii Prep — Carried 10 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Kau

Kimo Ibanez, Hilo — Threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns on 18-of-30 passing with one interception and carried six times for 56 yards and another TD in a win over Waiakea

Kamuela Kaaihue, Roosevelt — Caught two touchdown passes in a win over Kailua

Caleb Kahi, Pearl City — Carried 23 times for 141 yards in a win over Nanakuli

Damien Kai, Hilo — Caught six passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Waiakea

Makana Kamaka-Brayce, Kamehameha-Maui — Threw for 321 yards and four touchdowns on 24-of-33 passing with one interception in a win over Kekaulike

Kaiao Kuamoo, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Ran for two touchdowns in a win over Pahoa

Liona Lefau, Kahuku — Caught four passes for 95 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Waianae

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

Trech Kekahuna, Saint Louis — Caught six passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in a win over Kamehameha

Joseph Lewis IV, Nanakuli — Caught six passes for 90 yards and carried 14 times for 63 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Pearl City

Kayman Lewis, Roosevelt — Threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns on 18-of-24 passing without an interception in a win over Kailua

Andy Liaina, Kapolei — Was in on 12 total tackles, including seven solo stops in a loss to Campbell 

Logan Lim, Kalani — Threw for 277 yards and six touchdowns on 22-of-26 passing without an interception and carried 10 times for 64 yards and another TD in a win over McKinley

Chauncee Lopez, Campbell — Carried 19 times for 57 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Kapolei

Jason Mariteragi, Kahuku — Threw for 228 yards and four touchdowns on 15-of-27 passing with one interception in a win over Waianae

Carson Murakami, Campbell — Recorded two interceptions in a win over Kapolei

Sheynen-Wyatt Nahale, Kealakehe — Threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns on 28-of-43 passing without an interception and carried three times for 20 yards and another TD in a win over Keaau 

Kana Nelson, Campbell — Was in on six total tackles, including three for losses and two sacks in a win over Kapolei

Mikala Nishimoto, Kalani — Caught five passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns in a win over McKinley

Josh Oh, Kalani — Carried 21 times for 119 yards and caught two passes for 35 yards and a touchdown in a win over McKinley

Makel Paiva, Mililani — Caught a touchdown pass, kicked a 44-yard field goal and was 5 for 5 on PATs in a win over Leilehua

Stansyn Pula, Kahuku — Recorded two sacks in a win over Waianae

Seth Setu, Waipahu — Had two sacks and recovered a fumble in a win over Moanalua

Hoohenomauloa Stone-Han, Kamehameha-Maui — Carried 16 times for 67 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Kekaulike

Kaulana Tihada, Lahainaluna — Carried 14 times for 75 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Baldwin

Iosefa Tapeni, Kapolei — Made four total tackles, including 2 1/2 sacks in a loss to Campbell 

Devon Tauaefa, Saint Louis — Caught six passes for 136 yards in a win over Kamehameha

Isaiah Tuliloa, Kahuku — Had two sacks in a win over Waianae

Ofa Vehikite, Kaimuki — Carried 14 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Kalaheo

Kalob Victorino-Avilla, Radford — Threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-39 passing with one interception in a loss to Kaiser

Easton Yoshino, Kaiser — Threw for 462 yards and four touchdowns on 22-of-36 passing without an interception in a win over Radford

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Kilinahe Andrade, Kapolei — Had 32 assists, six digs, three block assists, one solo block and a kill in a three-set win over Mililani

Anae Asuncion, Mililani — Had 23 assists, two digs, two aces, one kill and one block assist in a three-set loss to Kapolei

Nicanora Clarke, Waianae — Had 10 kills, seven digs, four aces, two solo blocks and one block assist in a three-set win over Waialua

Reese Diersbock, Le Jardin — Had 19 kills, seven digs, four block assists and one assist in a four-set win over Maryknoll

Myah Feliciano, Kapolei — Had 11 digs in a three-set win over Mililani

Hailey Kauweloa, Nanakuli — Had 12 kills, eight digs, six assists, four aces and one block assist in a five-set loss to Waialua

Ana Lii, Aiea — Had 10 kills, four digs and four aces in a three-set loss to Campbell and had 10 kills, four digs and one ace in a three-set loss to Leilehua

Marley Mautautia, Nanakuli — Had 21 assists, 12 digs, 10 kills, three aces, one solo block and a block assist in a five-set loss to Waialua

Amanda Naipo, Baldwin — Had 10 kills, six digs and two aces in a three-set win over Maui

Hailee Naone, Le Jardin — Had 10 digs, three assists, one kill and an ace in a four-set win over Maryknoll

Ariana Napo, Baldwin — Had 11 kills, eight digs and two aces in a three-set win over Maui

Pristine Perry, Hana — Had 41 assists, six aces and four digs in a four-set win over St. Anthony

Maya Saole-Sue, Kapolei — Had 10 kills, one solo block and a block assist in a three-set win over Mililani

Alizaysha Sopi, Kapolei — Had 10 kills, nine digs and two assists in a three-set win over Mililani 

Jaelyn Tang, Mililani — Had nine kills and 10 digs in a three-set loss to Kapolei

Haiti Tautuaa, Waianae — Had 30 assists, six kills, three aces, one dig and one solo block in a three-set win over Waianae

Sydnee Walker, Le Jardin — Had nine kills, 12 digs, five assists and one ace in a four-set win over Maryknoll



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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