Kahuku opponents should expect the unexpected


POSTED: Friday, December 04, 2009


Between the old and the new, Kahuku finds the right time for a little deception.

Whether it's a well-timed fake punt and run, or a double-pass for a game-winning touchdown, the Red Raiders are always ready for that sleight of hand. Sometimes those decisions come in the middle of a drive and barely register a blip on the scale.

Kahuku was at its 48-yard line, down 6-3 in the third quarter against Farrington in the semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I State Football Championships. Normally, an ace formation has the Red Raiders with one running back (Viliami Pasi), a tight end (Shairone Thompson) and three receivers lined up. In this case, however, Pasi was 7 yards behind quarterback Evan Moe—deeper than usual. Instead of Thompson on the line, he was on the sideline, and fullback Fonoivasa Mataafa lined up as a slot, part of a loose bunch set to the right.

This rare formation by Kahuku had Farrington playing it safe. The Governors, with speedy linebackers, stayed in the 4-3 and spread their D-line wide. Defensive backs were 5 yards (and more) off the ball. The gap up the middle was sizable and enticing.

On the snap, Pasi went right for a toss sweep and the left side of the offensive line released upfield. This gave Farrington's linemen momentum into the backfield, but it also took them out of position as Moe faked the toss and handed the ball inside to Mataafa, who spun away from a defender and exploded upfield. Getting two blocks from his center (Jamal Napeahi pushed the defensive tackle, then sealed off the middle linebacker) and a bone-crunching trap block by the right guard (Alexander Fetuli), Mataafa had clear sailing for a 10-yard gain, brought down on a shoestring tackle by safety Vaughn Tomas.

For Red Raider fans, it was a work of art. For Kahuku, it was one of many calls that augmented a struggling pass attack in a defensive battle. It was just enough to keep the chains moving and help get better field position later in the game for place-kicker Cameron Mercado.


  1. When Kahuku isn’t in an ace formation with a tight end and a slotback, the shotgun/four-wide is preferred. This ace/four- receiver set is uncommon.
  3. With the ball at midfield on first and 10, Farrington responds conservatively with deep coverage and spread its line wide, creating a gap in the middle. Kahuku FB Fonoivasa Mataafa (45) lines up as the inside slot.
  5. At the snap, QB Evan Moe (19) fakes a toss sweep right to RB Viliami Pasi (1).
  7. The left side of Kahuku’s line does a matador move and allows Farrington to penetrate. Kahuku’s LT and LG head upfield immediately.
  9. Moe hands off to Mataafa, who gets key blocks from center Jamal Napeahi (60) and right guard Alexander Fetuli, who delivers a perfect trap block.
  11. Mataafa uses a spin to elude a defender, then sprints 10 yards through the heart of the defense before a last-second tackle brings him down.