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Sunday, December 28, 2003



[ HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ]


Unstoppable

Farrington's versatile running back
Matt Bell kept producing on the ground
and via the air


Running back Matt Bell is one of the most recognized names in Hawaii high school football.

That's because he's been tearing up the Oahu Interscholastic Association in rushing and receiving for the past two seasons.

Ask any opposing coach and he'll tell you his team had to find a way to stop Bell in order to beat the Governors.

Only Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai admitted that he didn't specifically concentrate on finding an answer for Bell, who is the Star-Bulletin's offensive player of the year.


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"Matt Bell is Matt Bell," Livai said before one game. "He's going to get his yards no matter what, so we have to concentrate on Farrington's other guys."

Governors coach Randall Okimoto was impressed with Bell's ability to keep on piling up the rushing and receiving yardage against all comers.

"Our offense is designed around him," Okimoto said. "He didn't have the same line as he did last year, so we had to find other ways to get him the ball. He continued having big games for us right on through the playoffs. He didn't really have a lull, except when we played (eventual state champion) Kahuku and they shut down our ground game and took us out of our game plan."

Bell led the Governors to a spot in the state semifinals after their third-place finish in the Oahu Interscholastic Association. Both finishes represented a step up from a year ago, when they placed fourth in the OIA and made the state quarterfinals.

The team's 7-5-1 record was a bit deceiving, since three of the losses were against the Red Raiders. The other setbacks were against state semifinalist Baldwin in the preseason and against 2002 state runner-up Castle early in the regular season.

"Those three times playing against Kahuku was a pleasure," Bell said. "Playing a team of that caliber, you want to try to win and we tried our best.

"Farrington is going in the right direction. I think people sometimes don't see the pride and heart that we've got for the game. Each and every one of us has that in ourselves and we use it as motivation to go out and play."

In seven regular-season games, Bell rushed 119 times for 630 yards and caught 31 passes for 523 yards. He was third in the OIA in both categories, and he was second in scoring with 71 points on 11 touchdowns and five extra-point kicks.

Bell also punted for the Govs, but what makes him special is his ability to make subtle moves that make defenders miss.

"People are always asking me how I do that," he said. "It just comes off of instinct, I guess. Most times I'm in a laid-back, observing type of mode, trying to read defenses to pick them apart. I don't get hyped. I'm more of a control type of player."

Okimoto said Bell "picked it up a notch" this year and that made other players begin striving harder, too.

"I would say he's one of the best I've seen and he's done it for two years in a row. He was just as good his senior year and he did it with everybody keying on him."

McKinley quarterback Abel Werner and Saint Louis wide receiver Desmond Hanohano were legitimate contenders for player of the year. Both joined Bell on the 14-player first-team offense.

Werner hurt opponents with his accurate passing (1,487 yards and 16 touchdowns) and scrambling. He also earned his second straight Hawaii Gatorade Player of the Year award.

Hanohano was nearly unstoppable when it counted for the Crusaders. Relying on his 6-foot-6 frame and uncanny speed for someone his size, he caught eight TD passes in the regular season and made 22 catches overall for 429 yards and an Interscholastic League of Honolulu-leading 19.5 yards per catch. He also broke three state-tournament records in a quarterfinal win over Mililani, including most receiving yards (307) and TD catches (4).

The first-team offense also includes plenty of other game-breakers at the skill positions -- wide receivers Spencer Hafoka of Kahuku and Christopher Duncan of Punahou, running backs B.J. Batts of Saint Louis, Micah Strickland of Punahou and Ranson DeCosta of Damien, and the multi-talented Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada of Kapolei.

Duncan (713 yards receiving, 8 TDs) and Strickland (788 yards rushing, 213 yards receiving, 8 TDs) were at the top of the ILH lists as part of a major Buffanblu resurgence.

Batts (648 yards) and DeCosta (570 yards) were second and third in the ILH in rushing, while Kaheaku-Enhada was a dangerous receiver and a scrambling, poised quarterback for OIA White runner-up Kapolei.

Hafoka averaged 24.6 yards a catch on a team that likes to run.

The first-team line includes a set of brothers -- Bronson Carvalho of Saint Louis and Brennen Carvalho of Kamehameha. It also has a set of teammates -- Kailua's Kainoa LaCount and Kekoa Crowell, who opened holes for the Surfriders' potent running game.

Jeremy Perry, who anchored the line for state champ Kahuku, also made the first team.


Honorable Mentions

Aiea: Sterling Ohia, C.J. Tausaga, Alden DeMello, Jonathan Burgos, Kali Kuia, RJ Kiesel-Kauhane. BALDWIN: Shevis Shima, Weylin Costa, Roy Antolin. CAMPBELL: Isaac Laupola, Kealii Basham. Castle: Antone Watanabe, Keoni Gomes, Bryce Kalauokaaea, Elde Agcaoili. Damien: Fehi Sevelo, Brennan Dela Cruz, Keoni Steinhoff, Andrew Canoy, Tevita Williams, Cory Mullen, Kyle Meheula.

Farrington: Eti Atonio, Alvin Faimui, Harrison Harris, Jerome Crisostomo, Luavalu Sagapolutele, Josiah Milo, Shaun Lauvao. Hawaii Prep: Michael Kopra, Mauae Purdy. Iolani: Keone Nakoa, Nicholas Wong, Alex Why, Kyle Muraoka, Shawn Agustin, John Takamura.

Kahuku: Paea Vaimoui, Dustin Huddy, Hyrum Moors, Ernest Reid, Kimball Niumatalolo, B.J. Beatty, Quentin Beaver, Frank Bracewell.

Kailua: Kekoa Sua, Damien Torres, Kalae Meagher, Jermaine Hisatake-Se'i, Keoki McCabe, Dylan Linkner, Michael Kealoha, Ryan Rodrigues, Zach Meredith. Kaiser: Chris Assily, Steven Pratt. KaLAHEO: Jacobe Akiu, Jacob Myking, TJ Meyers. Kamehameha: Waika Spencer, Gabriel Spencer, Tamatoa Silva, Guyton Galdeira, Travis Beyer, Kepa Gaison, Hayden Kahele, Matt Coelho, Sy Cullen. Kapolei: John Dela Rama, Roland Mason, Brandon Pieper, Ikaika Aken Moleta. Kauai: Kekoa Crowell, Darryl Higashi, Justin Arakaki, Aren Racca, Garen Itamura. KING KEKAULIKE: Kona Quinabo. Kealakehe: Jonathan Kang, Michael Kaniho. KONAWAENA: Daniel Libre. Leilehua: Blake Furtado, B.J. Fruean, Pio Malagaoma. Maui: Andrew Nakihei, Tim Larson.

McKinley: Michael Vasconcellos, Raphael Ieru, Quinton Sayers, Tony Sefo, Jeremiah Mata, Randy Faletoi. Mililani: Jake Ingram, Peter Raneses, Darren Smith, Carlo Raneses, Sene Ma'afala, Jordan Apduhan. Moanalua: Nigel Ross. Nanakuli: Albert Distajo, Kyle Beck. Pac-Five: Brent Umehira, Brashton Satele, Daniel Paileulu, Dustin Pilialoha, Travis Tyler, Gyles Lawrence, Paul Kaohu-Nishimura. Pearl City: Jensen Cabanero, Preston Chesnutt, Brandon Green, Robert Tanuvasa, Michael Yamauchi-Yamate, Ricky Morgenstein.

Punahou: Chris Shiramizu, Reyn Wicklund, Chris Takemoto-Gentile. Saint Louis: Ben Soliven, Makaala Kuewa, Aaron Bain, Chester Wilson, Kealii Perbera, Tyson Alualu. Radford: Lino Kavika, Lincoln Kavika. Waialua: Justin Barit. WaiaNAE: Chris Lave, Uilau Faliuga, Junior Faliuga, Chris Medeiros, James Robinson, Ronald Jimenez. Waipahu: Curtis Masaniai, Maifala La'a. Waimea: Gary Mata, Lanikai Kanahele.


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Kahuku linebacker Walker Vave
played smartly and responsibly


Kahuku had a suffocating defense with more than its share of rock-hard hitters this year

It was this Red Raiders defensive unit that led the team to the Oahu Interscholastic Association championship and eventually the state title and a No. 5 national ranking.

Senior middle linebacker Walker Vave served many roles for Kahuku. He got to the ball quickly to make tackles all over the field. He helped with the pass rush and, most importantly, used his brain to be in the right place at the right time.

One of the Red Raiders' team captains, Vave is the Star-Bulletin's defensive player of the year.

"He was our only returning linebacker," coach Siuaki Livai said. "And he was right there in the middle for us on the run and the pass. He's pretty much a hard hitter, but the best thing about him on the field was that he was always there and always making sure (the opponents) went down."

Vave and the Kahuku defense proved how good they were this year in a 6-0 shutout of Kailua in the OIA title game.

The Red Raiders' defensive unit placed three others on the Star-Bulletin first-team defense -- roaming, in-your-face free safety Afa Garrigan, the speedy, interception-minded Toriano Taulogo and sack master Shosei Yamauchi.

"But our main guy was Walker Vave," Livai said. "There is nothing wrong with the boy. The best thing about him is his grades. He's got great SAT scores and the whole 9 yards. And he's such a dependable person. He's the kind of guy you can depend on, on and off the field. You don't have to worry about him. You give him an assignment and he does it to the best of his ability. He never misses a game or a practice."

Vave is also an Eagle Scout and youth president of his church ward, according to the coach.

There's a common thread that runs through the rest of the first-team defensive linemen and linebackers -- all-out, undying desire to get to the ball carrier.

Yamauchi, Campbell's David Veikune, Saint Louis' Tavita Thompson and Farrington's Fetaiagogo Fonoti all displayed the same kind of search-and-destroy mentality from their positions on the line.

At linebacker, Castle's Blaze Soares, Baldwin's Kaluku Maiava and Mililani's Mikhail Mabry routinely menaced opposing offenses, while Dylan Moss of Saint Louis continually plugged any holes not covered by his teammates on the line.

Veikune and Maiava also produced big-time single-game performances this season. Veikune, who played for the 2-6 Sabers, had 20 tackles, including seven sacks, in a victory over Waianae. Maiava helped the Bears get to the state semifinals by making 10 solo tackles, including three sacks, and forcing two fumbles in a 20-13 quarterfinal win over Kailua. He also scored an offensive touchdown on a 16-yard run, and that turned out to be the game-winner.

Three big-play defensive backs -- Saint Louis' Keao Monteilh, Kailua's Derek Mailau and McKinley's Daniel DeSoto round out the first-team defense.

Monteilh and DeSoto made blanket coverage a part of nearly every pass play, while Mailau had a knack for clutch breakups and downfield tackles.

Taulogo made the biggest play of the year, returning a punt 62 yards to set up the Red Raiders' winning touchdown with 19 seconds to go in the 27-26 Division I final win over Saint Louis.

SPECIAL TEAMS players C.J. Santiago of Saint Louis, J.J. Eno of Baldwin and Ben Ah Mook Sang of Division II state champion Aiea round out the first team.

Santiago boomed numerous kickoffs into the end zone, and he was also an accurate place-kicker and adept punter.

Ah Mook Sang and Eno were deceptive return specialists who were counted on to give their teams good field position (and sometimes points). They also played major roles on offense.

THE DAMIEN REVOLUTION was nearly complete this year under co-coaches Dean Nakagawa and Rudy Alejo, who were named co-coaches of the year. The Monarchs captured the school's first football title (ILH Division II), but fell two points short to Aiea in the state final.

A strong group of seniors -- who hadn't won an ILH game before this season -- keyed the dramatic turnaround.


The second team

OFFENSE
Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Year School
QB John Morris 5-6 120 Senior Punahou
QB Waika Carvalho 6-1 180 Senior Kahuku
RB Raynold Stowers 6-1 210 Senior Iolani
RB Royden Nabarro 5-6 152 Junior Hilo
WR Nathaniel Nasca 5-8 140 Senior Pearl City
WR Iakopo Taumua 6-3 190 Senior McKinley
WR Ikaika Ho 5-9 165 Senior Castle
SB Shaun Kauleinamoku 5-6 156 Junior Saint Louis
TE Tevita Finau 6-5 224 Senior Kahuku
OL Keala Watson 6-4 310 Senior Nanakuli
OL Barrett Maioho 6-0 235 Junior Baldwin
OL Max Unger 6-5 275 Senior Hawaii Prep
OL Elwen Freitas 6-2 285 Senior Kamehameha
OL Abe Medeiros 6-5 275 Senior Hilo

Defense
Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Year School
DL Warren Simanu 6-5 230 Senior Kapolei
DL Fale Laeli 6-1 300 Senior Saint Louis
DL Sione Tuifua 5-10 280 Senior Kailua
DL Makana Nicodemus 6-0 230 Senior Kahuku
DL Soane Sevelo 5-10 210 Senior Damien
LB Lawrence Leovao 5-10 225 Senior Aiea
LB Jordon Dizon 6-1 220 Senior Waimea
LB Drake Kula 6-2 220 Senior Kapolei
LB Asti Merino 5-10 194 Senior Kamehameha
DB Al Afalava 5-11 175 Junior Kahuku
DB Pono Vierra 5-7 173 Senior Saint Louis
DB Taeao Fagalele 5-11 145 Senior Farrington
DB James Hadley 6-1 170 Junior Aiea
AP Jimmy Afamasaga 6-0 180 Senior Nanakuli

Special Teams
Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Year School
KR Jarred Suzui 5-11 185 Senior Castle
K Brandon Puckett 5-9 190 Senior Aiea
K Ethan Gonsalves 5-8 145 Junior Castle

Note: The Star-Bulletin all-state teams are chosen based on consultation with football coaches.

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