Video: Jayden de Laura highlightsSee FBS recruit in action during his junior campaign.Freelance writer Edward Jackson provided this report. He has contributed high school sports coverage in the past for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and The Columbus Dispatch.Saint Louis (Honolulu)
remains the favorite to continue its streak of three consecutive Open Division championships, a title which was first up for grabs in 2016.
As always, head coach Cal Lee will be sending out a blue chip college recruit to nearly every position. But with the strength of schedule in 2019 seemingly up, there may not be much margin for error for Saint Louis this season.Jayden de Laura
quietly put together one of the best seasons for a quarterback in the school's history in 2018. He led the Crusaders with over 2,300 passing yards and 19 touchdowns en route to an 11-0 record. The offense averaged 46 points per game.
The senior signal caller is going to need receivers Roman Wilson
and Koali Nishigaya to contribute at the same level as last season if they are to improve upon the 398 offensive yards per game they produced last fall.
Wilson reeled in 32 passes for over 800 yards and seven touchdowns while Nishigaya caught 43 passes for over 500 yards and four TDs. Wilson is committed to Michigan.
Running back Sam Dayton had an excellent sophomore season in gaining over 500 ground yards, reaching the end zone eight times.
Defensively, the Crusaders are rock solid.
Saint Louis returns 6-foot-3, 220- pound sack machine Jordan Botelho. The senior linebacker recorded 50 tackles, 15 sacks and four forced fumbles along with four defensive touchdowns. Botelho recently committed to play for Notre Dame.
Fellow linebacker Nick Herbig
is committed to Wisconsin.Kamo'i Latu
and Kaiser Cambra-Cho
govern the secondary, helping the defense grab 28 interceptions last season including 12 in games against Kahuku, Kapolei and Punahou.
Saint Louis will open its season on Aug. 15 against Kapolei. The main event of their schedule will feature a matchup against regional power Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) Aug. 30 at Aloha Stadium.PunahouPunahou (Honolulu)
will be led by 6-3, 200-pound quarterback Hugh Brady
, who has been offered by Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich.
With the help of an exceptional offensive line, Brady threw for 2,309 yards and 26 touchdowns during his junior season. Brady gets the ball out quickly, is usually accurate on all throws, able to manipulate the pocket with his feet and defensive backs with his eyes as well as remaining calm in the face of pressure.
Brady has a crop of strong receivers to throw to led by Koa Eldredge
. Other capable receivers are Moku Dancil-Evans
and Kanoa Kalahiki
Eldredge is viewed as an elite speed receiver with good route-running abilities. Last season, the senior scored 10 touchdowns on 41 catches for 734 yards. During his game against Mililani, he corralled two catches resulting in two TDs and 127 yards.
The Punahou running game will be a valuable asset throughout the season. The duo of Vincent Terrell
and Kobe Muasau are very capable runners in offering a balance attack of rushing effectively when ground yardage is needed.
Terrell is very shifty, yet decisive as a runner. At 5-7 and 170 pounds, he is not a big back but he's durable running between the tackles.
Punahou head coach Kale Ane has 30-plus seniors back this season. He's eager to challenge Saint Louis to the end in hopes of winning the ILH championship that has eluded them since they won four straight from 2011 to 2014.'Iolani'Iolani (Honolulu)
had an offense in 2018 that could flat out score.
The Raiders averaged 33 points over 11 games last season, putting up video game highlights while advancing into the semifinals of the state Division I tournament.
That high-octane offense should continue this season as Iolani returns most of its major players.
The main returnee is highly-regarded quarterback Jonah Chong
, who threw for 2,162 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Carter Kamana
will be the main target at wide receiver after catching 84 passes for 959 yards and eight TDs a year ago. The 6-2 standout has 141 career receptions for 1,749 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Also in the receiver unit is senior Cole Ichikawa
and juniors Noah Gaudi
and Wailoa Manuel
. Running back Rexton Suzuki
is also a dependable receiver. All four are small, speedy types with superb hands.
The offensive line will be anchored by all-league senior Kilo Scanlan
On the defensive side, head coach Wendell Look will rely on veterans to carry the load. The secondary combination of Trevor Kan
, Lanakila Pei
, Micah Camat
, Isaac Ignacio
and Micah Shikada
contributed heavily towards holding opponents to a lowly 11 points a game last season.
The Red Raiders so far have had a majestic run in the 2000s. Iolani won the Division II state championships eight times in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. The Red Raiders came close in 2018, being knocked out of the tourney in a semifinal 20-19 lost to Waipahu in their first season under the newly re-formatted Division I configuration.Mililani
Under head coach Rod York, the Mililani
Trojans have excelled.
Entering his 10th season, York has compiled an impressive 86-24 record with two state championships.
This season, York will once again be giving one of his players an opportunity to prove to the world that they are a FBS-type quarterback. During his coaching career, York has molded McKenzie Milton and Dillon Gabriel. Both play for the University of Central Florida.
This season, Mililani is hoping to play Saint Louis during the regular season. In 2018, the game against Saint Louis was canceled due to weather conditions.
Of course, Mililani seems to always have a difficult schedule. The Trojans will play Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) and St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) as well as ILH foe Punahou.
St. John Bosco finished 2018 as the No. 3 team in the nation in the MaxPreps Top 25 and is ranked there again to start the 2019 season.Roosevelt
Last season, Roosevelt (Honolulu)
won 12 games, the most in school history. Unfortunately, its dream season ended with a loss in Division II state championship against Lahainaluna.
Senior quarterback Sky Ogata
is ready for more after accounting for 21 touchdowns and earning all-league honors in 2018.
Ogata passed for 1,185 yards and seven TDs while piling up 855 yards and 14 scores on the ground.
Running backs Mitchel Camacho
and Myka Kukahiwa
provide Roosevelt with a balanced attack. Camacho rushed for over 700 yards and four TDs while Kukahiwa ran the ball for 425 yards and five touchdowns.
Receiver Scott Chung
and all-purpose player Josh Maikui
add to the twist of confusing opponents of where the ball is going. Chung caught 43 passes last season for 318 yards in giving the Rough Riders a sturdy threat for securing first downs when needed.Leilehua
The junior varsity team at Leilehua (Wahiawa)
went 9-0 in 2018 and the majority of those starters will be thrust into the spotlight this season.
Among the key returnees are receiver Kalei Akagi
, slotback Jayzon Ramos
, defensive end Kiaka Pio
, defensive tackle Jaku Hanohano-Baptista
and offensive tackle Terrance Lokan
Second-year Farrington (Honolulu)
coach Daniel Sanchez saw first-hand how tough the Open Division can be, especially when competing against the upper echelon of Oahu teams within a league format.
Sanchez (2-10) took over last season as the head coach for Randall Okimoto, who spent 16 seasons at the helm and amassed a 116-67-3 record. Under Okimoto, the Governors were always a powerhouse in league play, but could never break through on the playoff stage.
The strength of the team will be the defense led by LaDravian Williams
, Caleb Matagi
, Joshua Matagi, Koalii Kama-Toth
, Liloa Kalima
, Selau Kalani
and Matthew Miller
On offense, Sanchez will have a revamped line to work with led by 6-7, 340-pounder Faaope Laloulu
. With the closure of St. Francis, Laloulu, who also played basketball and volleyball for the Saints, indicated this past spring that he wanted to complete his senior year at Farrington.
Also, transferring into Farrington is Laloulu's teammate at Saint Francis, Jonah Aina-Chaves
, who threw for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns in two seasons as a quarterback for the Saints.
Returning in the backfield will be Raymond Millare
, a crafty runner who compiled more than 400 rushing yards and scored six TDs as well as catching 25 passes for 472 yards and five TDs.Aiea
Head coach Wendell Say is upbeat about the chances of 'Aiea
winning the OIA Division I league title. No doubt Aiea will be a contender with senior Kayson Castillo
returning at quarterback.
This season will provide Castillo the opportunity to prove that he is one of the best finesse signal callers in the state. Last season, Castillo passed for more than 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns on this pass-dominated team.Kamehameha
The passing game will be a focus for Kamehameha (Honolulu)
this season. The Warriors graduated their top five running backs from the 2018 season so they will be looking for quarterbacks Christmas Togiai
and Kiai Keone
to share the load in passing the ball to several receivers.
Togiai passed for over 800 yards and six touchdowns last season while Keone tallied 405 passing yards resulting in three TDs. Top receivers will likely be Skyler Ramos
, Edward Correa
, Kimur Wrx
and Anthony Thomas-Fonoimoana
Kamehameha's best players on the other side of the ball are defensive backs Micah Lilo and Ezra Evaimalo.McKinley
Undoubtedly, fans have noticed an uptick in quality for the McKinley (Honolulu)
football program lately. The Tigers finished with a 4-5 record in 2018, fielding hopes that this team is on the verge of returning to the days when this central Oahu school was a mainstay in the upper-half of OIA football.
The offensive unit displayed great improvement in 2018 behind the backfield execution of all-around player Jayden Victorino
and quarterback Alexandria Buchanan
Collin Guttenbeil and Zion Williams
will seek to provide McKinley with a one-two running back punch. Receivers include Leon Montgomery and Alexander Linmark