Kaiser Football Back on Track

A year has passed since Kaiser’s unfortunate 2017 campaign. The disappointing season featured an abundance of forfeits, six of them in total, and one blowout loss to Campbell. The 2018 season was a complete turnaround, from coaching staff to player personnel, and many were pleased by how well Kaiser did just one year removed from a season that was nearly rock bottom for theprogram. The Cougars finished with a record of 4-4-1, with wins against Kalaheo, Kalani, Waialua, and PAC-5.

Considering that, just a year ago, only 19 players suited up in the blue and gold, it was a functional rebuild of the program in 2018. The Cougars turned to assistant coach Tim Seaman to be the next head coach, as he revamped offensive and defensiveschemes. At the start of the season, the roster listed 53 players, a whopping 34 more than a year ago.

The varsity team was led by senior quarterback Koa Tom, whoachieved team-highs in every major passing category: he finished the season with 96 completions for 1330 yards and 12 touch-downs. Seaman used a committee approach at the halfback posi-tion, with three players taking on much of the work. SophomoreCavin Lime led with 70 carries for 215 yards, and senior Noah Matsumoto led the team in total yards with 244 off of 41 touch- es. Senior Curtis Chung also added 39 carries for 97 yards, and tied the team-high score for rushing touchdowns with two. As for receiving, sophomore Mason Yoshino racked team-high stats in receptions (36), yards (614), and touchdowns (5). Junior Dre Falls was second on the team, with 27 catches for 354 yards and four scores. Junior Jesse Stroede added 16 receptions for 222 yards andfour trips to the end zone.

Center Kieran Gabriel prepares to “snap” the ball to the quarterback.

The dual-threat quarterback Tom was instrumental in facilitat-ing the offense. He saved multiple broken plays, giving Seamanthe flexibility to run multiple sets on offense. Casey Nguyen, the returning starter, was equally influential, completing 18 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns.

The varsity team ended the year in unfortunate fashion with a canceled senior night game against McKinley and a loss toKaimuki in the first round of the OIA playoffs. However, the junior varsity team, coached by Alex Miguel, did reach the Divi- sion II championship game before losing to Pearl City with a final score of 28-14.

On that night, sophomore quarterback Brock Perreira threw for 185 yards off of 17 completions and two touchdowns, hismain target being freshman Kamakana Mahiko. Mahiko hauledin a team-high five catches for 53 yards, and sophomore Hud- son McQuay led the team in receiving yards with 63 off of three catches. However, all night, Kaiser’s rushing game was stifled by the suffocating Chargers’ defense. Kaiser scored 14 points in thesecond quarter but none in the other three periods.

Both the varsity and junior varsity teams did respectively wellin what seemed destined to be a developmental and transitionalyear. It is projected that 27 underclassmen will continue to par-ticipate in the varsity program, including stellar wideout Mason Yoshino, who led the team in receiving yards and turned headsduring his sophomore campaign. It seems likely Kaiser will re- main in Division II next season, but if this first year under Sea-man is any indication, the Cougars could be headed for the top in the next few years.

By Jaren Kawada / Staff Writer

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