Punahou will be Seattle-bound again
Qwest Field is becoming a mecca for Punahou alums in the Northwest.
For the second time in the past few years, Punahou's football and girls volleyball teams are heading to Seattle. The Buffanblu football team will face Central Kitsap on Sept. 6 at Qwest Field. The volleyball squad will be competing in the Emerald City Volleyball Invitational at Eastlake High School on Sept. 5.
For Buffanblu alums in the Northwest, the weekend involves gatherings and a pre-game rally. The athletic program has been raising funds in recent months with T-shirt sales on the school Web site. The football squad, a contender for the state championship, will get a taste of the big time.
"It's an opportunity to play in an NFL stadium and practice at the University of Washington," coach Kale Ane said.
Ane, a former NFL player, knows he and his staff will have to be parental, at times.
"You worry about all the things adolescent boys can get into. There are a lot of distractions," he said.
Punahou's regular season begins just one week after the mainland game. The Buffanblu will play defending Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Saint Louis on Sept. 13.
"It won't be easy to play the Saturday after we get back, but you look into the kids' eyes and it's an opportunity to play in a stadium where some of the greats play," Ane added.
For Kailua fans, it was a night of broken hearts. Kenny Ellis
, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback, saw his season come to an abrupt end in a scrimmage against Kapolei on Thursday.
Ellis, a fluid athlete who also stars in basketball, was scrambling out of the pocket when Kapolei linebacker Chad Lopati caught up. Lopati made the tackle and landed on Ellis' shinbone, resulting in fractures of the tibia and fibula. Ellis had surgery that night and a pin was placed in the leg.
Recovery time is three to four months, with rehab to follow.
With an entire summer of hard work behind him, Ellis won't see the fruits of his labor just yet.
"We had a lot of plans for Kenny. He's a unique athlete, tall, athletic, can run and pass," coach Gary Rosolowich said, noting that Ellis had drawn early interest from some Pac-10 schools. "Now we're in the midst of retooling."
Rosolowich is proud of his injured signal-caller, who had transferred from Kamehameha two years ago and showed significant maturity and growth since. That made Saturday's team meeting a tough one.
"He came in because he really, really wanted to be with his teammates," Rosolowich said. "It was pretty emotional."
In a recent scrimmage, Kaimuki gave first-year Word of Life fits, and the Bulldogs were impressive in another scrimmage at Waianae on Thursday, scoring five times.
Many of the scores came against Waianae reserves - there are 78 players on the Seariders roster - but coach Darren Johnson's wide-open offense is showing potential.
Returning running back Justin Paderes darted his way through the young Waianae defense, and newcomer Keola Kiko-Kahawai added size as the other runner. Kiko-Kahawai, cut by Kailua last season, is 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds. Trendt Marsom, a transfer from Mililani, scored on a short pass that turned into a long touchdown play.
The Bulldogs use 6-3, 270-pound junior Desmond Tautofi at defensive end and wide receiver. It's a throwback to his older brothers, Darrell and Daniel Tautofi, who also played receiver at Kaimuki. At Waianae, Tautofi had three catches, dragging three to four tacklers up the sideline on a couple of plays.
Kaimuki's defense, however, is big, fast and tough.
"Darren Johnson is doing a great job," Word of Life coach Joe Onosai said. "I think Kaimuki is just as talented as Kahuku."