Moanalua wary of Hawaii Prep


POSTED: Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An era of domination by Kealakehe came to a halt this fall on the Big Island.

Honokaa put a dent in the Kealakehe machine, a dynasty that had run roughshod through the Big Island Interscholastic Federation for years. One caveat, though, to Honokaa's Division I championship: The Dragons lost to the league's D-II champ, Hawaii Prep, this year.

Hawaii Prep, with a high school enrollment of just a few hundred, got by arch rival Honokaa 26-20 in mid-August. Ka Makani did it with a stud running back in Keoni Colson, several two-way starters, and a powerful offensive line led by sophomore Shane Brostek (6-foot-3, 300 pounds). That set the tone for a perfect run through the BIIF's D-II ranks.

“;That win was definitely a confidence booster,”; HPA coach Jordan Hayslip said.

In Moanalua, HPA has its first opponent that could easily be a Division I program in terms of enrollment and speed. Still, unlike HPA, Moanalua didn't have a string of blowout wins during the regular season. They were, however, nothing but wins. The teams are a combined 19-1 entering Friday's first-round matchup in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships.

On paper: Hawaii Prep, a mainstay in BIIF football since the 1960s, went 8-0 in league play. Moanalua fell to D-I Mililani 16-3 to start nonconference play, then went 10-0 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference.




Moanalua 10-1

MililaniL, 3-16
KalaheoW, 26-22
@ RadfordW, 34-33
AnuenueW, 28-8
Pearl CityW, 28-25
KalaniW, 41-0
@ WaialuaW, 42-6
KaiserW, 32-20
AieaW, 31-14
KalaheoW, 21-20
AieaW, 21-7

        Hawaii Prep 10-0


HonokaaW, 26-20
@ WaimeaW, 14-6
KS-HawaiiW, 23-0
@ Ka'uW, 49-0
@ KonawaenaW, 34-0
@ KohalaW, 42-6
Ka'uW, 56-6
@ KS-HawaiiW, 24-8
KonawaenaW, 37-14
@ KohalaW, 49-0




While HPA had no close games against the BIIF's D-II field of Kamehameha-Hawaii, Ka'u, Kohala and Konawaena, Moanalua was right at home with dramatic battles. Four of Na Menehune's wins were decided by four points or less, including a 21-20 squeaker over Kalaheo. A loss in that playoff game would've knocked Moanalua from state-tourney consideration. Moanalua then downed Aiea 21-7 for the OIA White title. The winner travels to Lihue for a semifinal game with Kauai on Nov. 27.

The skinny: HPA's defense limited defending BIIF D-II champ Konawaena to only 65 rushing yards on 23 carries in a title-clinching 38-12 win for Ka Makani three weeks ago.

Their lineup of iron men — Brostek, lineman Onipaa Stevens and most of the starters play three ways — will have to contend with Moanalua's precise triple-option attack. Though Na Menehune have hit timely big passes, Adam Francisco is still relatively inexperienced. With Tahje Canyon at running back (1,417 rushing yards, 7.2 per attempt, 19 touchdowns), Moanalua hasn't been forced to rely on the pass.

HPA has been a run-first program for decades, often using the counter to pick up gobs of yardage. Colson is a key component, taking plenty of pressure off sophomore quarterback Keanu Yamamoto.

Moanalua coach Arnold Martinez has warned his squad to be prepared for the unexpected.

“;It's hard to tell what they can do just by watching film,”; he said of HPA. “;You don't know the competition level. Their offensive line is good. They pull well.”;

Ka Makani O-line coach Bern Brostek, father of Shane, has earned kudos from coaches near and far.

“;You can tell he's teaching them well,”; Martinez said of the former lineman for the Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams.

Moanalua's agility and speed on defense are keys. Linemen Richard Villasenor and Jordan Tanioka are quick in the trenches, while safety Xavier Peterson is a playmaker in the open field.

X factor: HPA hasn't been off-island since winning at Waimea three months ago. Playing at Moanalua, which usually draws a full house and the state's largest band, will be a vast difference from afternoon games in quiet Kamuela.

“;Our fans, they just love their team,”; Canyon said. “;Around school, they're always congratulating us.”;