Kamehameha takes on Pac-Five QB Minaya


POSTED: Friday, October 09, 2009

Kawika Stant isn't being cocky when claiming Kamehameha School's defensive line is the best around. After all, the Warriors junior linebacker has been right behind the fearsome foursome on a daily basis since summer.

“;Our line is mean. We have the best line. They're strong and they're all fast,”; Stant said.

They're a key reason second-ranked Kamehameha (6-1, 4-1 Interscholastic League of Honolulu) is alone in first place in the league's Division I standings entering tonight's league encounter with pass-happy Pac-Five.

“;I don't want to say we have the advantage,”; said Stant, son of coach David Stant. “;Last year, Saint Louis was like this going into the second (half of the season) and Punahou ended up beating them.”;

Pac-Five quarterback P.J. Minaya (996 yards, nine touchdown passes in league play) will face that fierce rush as the Warriors try to remain on top. Defensive ends Beau Yap and Koa Ka'ai — both drawing attention from college recruiters — flank tackles Landon Aano and Keko'opono Weisbarth-Tafaoimalo. Their prowess has given the Warriors and defensive coordinator James “;Doc”; Nakamura the flexibility to alter their schemes at any point in the game.

Mobile linebackers like Stant, who returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown in a 15-6 win over Saint Louis last week, are key. Having shutdown cornerbacks Chaz Bajet and Walter Santiago, however, is what frees up the linebackers.

“;It was the pressure,”; Stant said of the win over Saint Louis. “;Every other play, we were running a blitz. The corners, as long as they play man-to-man, we can bring as many guys as we want.”;

The key to this year's team, aside from talent and immense conditioning in preseason, has been a unified front.

“;We're not as athletic as last year, but we're smarter. We're more of a team than last year,”; Kawika Stant said. “;This year, we don't have as (many) individuals as last year's (team). Last year, we had a lot of college prospects, but they wouldn't listen to our defensive coordinators and go for hits and stuff. This year, we understand that if we don't all do our defensive assignments, we'll lose.”;


No. 4 'Iolani vs. No. 6 Saint Louis, Aloha Stadium

The Division II Raiders (7-1, 5-0 ILH) have already knocked off Punahou and Kamehameha and could make it a sweep of the league's D-I programs. Quarterback Jarrett Arakawa has thrown a league-high 11 touchdown passes with only four picks (181 yards per game). The Crusaders (5-2, 2-2) not only lost a share of the ILH's D-I lead in the standings a week ago, but have to deal with a Raiders team that beat Saint Louis last year.


No. 8 Waianae at No. 5 Mililani

A year ago, Waianae (4-3, 4-1 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West) was ranked eighth and Mililani was unranked when Dalaunte “;Taz”; Stevenson's 71-yard catch-and-run gave the Trojans a close 20-16 win. This time, Stevenson may be out because of an injury suffered in last week's loss to Kapolei. If he's out, Mililani (6-1, 4-1) will miss him on both sides of the ball.


Waipahu at No. 7 Leilehua

The Marauders need a win plus a Campbell loss to eke out the fifth and final playoff spot in the Red West. Victor Moananu leads the Red West in rushing with 629 yards and seven touchdowns in conference play.

The Mules (5-2, 4-1 OIA Red) are gaining momentum behind an improving corps of receivers led by Kamana Akagi (31 receptions, 541 yards in conference play). It won't be easy against Waipahu (3-3, 1-3). Andrew Manley needed 422 passing yards last year as the Mules squeaked out a 27-21 win.


Word of Life at No. 9 Punahou

The Firebrands (0-5, 0-4 ILH), who amassed 332 rushing yards last week against Pac-Five, have four of the ILH's top 10 rushers. Awa Poggi, with 89 yards per game, ranks second in the league. Punahou's defense has been steady. Kahuku, Mililani, 'Iolani — none had a 100-yard rusher against the Buffanblu (2-4, 2-2). The exception? Ryan Ho of Kamehameha.


McKinley at Roosevelt

This season finale is a battle to stay out of the cellar for the Tigers (2-5, 1-4 OIA) and Rough Riders (2-5, 1-4). Roosevelt won last year's matchup 34-20.


Nanakuli at Campbell

The Sabers (2-5, 1-4 OIA Red) are clinging to playoff hopes. A win over Nanakuli clinches fifth place in the Red West even if they finish in a tie with Waipahu. Campbell won the head-to-head matchup with Waipahu 21-0 on Aug. 21.


Kalani at Radford

A win for the Rams (4-3, 4-2 OIA White) would strengthen their hold on third place in the OIA White. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs


Kaiser at Moanalua

Na Menehune (6-1, 6-0 OIA White) nearly have a playoff berth locked up. Kaiser (3-4, 3-3) needs a win to stay in the hunt. The Cougars won last year's game 13-12.


Waialua at Aiea

The visiting Bulldogs (2-5, 2-4 OIA White) are a long shot to make the playoffs, but a win would keep their hopes alive. Aiea (6-1, 5-1) is on a four-game win streak.