After enjoying their first bye week of the young season, Saint Louis (2-0) remained number one in the latest Cover 2: Power Poll released Monday night.
ILH rival Kamehameha (3-0) made the most significant move after week three, jumping ahead of 2-time defending State Champion Kahuku (1-1) to take the number-3 spot in the poll.
Punahou (1-0) remained second, while Waianae (3-0) kept their number-5 ranking.
COVER 2: POWER POLL (WEEK 3)
- Saint Louis (2-0)
- Punahou (1-0)
- Kamehameha (3-0)
- Kahuku (1-1)
- Waianae (3-0)
- Leilehua (2-0)
- Mililani (2-1)
- Campbell (2-1)
- ‘Iolani (2-1)
- Radford (3-0)
League play in the O.I.A. has left things mighty interesting for Cover 2 Power Poll voters this week. A couple of ranked match-ups have helped clear the vog, as the high school football season starts to take shape. Here’s a quick look at my ordering for 8/26:
1. Saint Louis – After seeing the Crusaders play Baldwin on Maui, it was apparent that this was a much improved team from last season. QB Ryder Kuhns has been nearly perfect, hitting on 73% of his passes with 7 TD’s, as well as a big Nene egg in the interception column. He’s unexpectedly challenging Larry Tuileta of Punahou as the state’s top passer. The same could be said of WR Devan Stubblefield challenging Buff ‘n Blue star Kanawai Noa. Stubblefield has stepped out of graduated Texas A&M wideout Jeremy Tabuyo’s shadow with an ankle-collapsing array of moves. On the offensive line, a standout local pass rusher told me recently that Crusader junior Fred Ulu-Perry is by far the best blocker he’s ever faced.
2. Punahou – At this juncture of the season, these two teams might as well be 1a and 1b. Punahou has only hit the field once, with a workman-like 24-14 win over Mililani in Central Oahu. The ‘Buffs were without 5 star defensive end prospect Canton Kaumatule, who missed the game precautionarily with a dinged elbow. Not having the number 1 junior prospect in the country can change things drastically, but some opposing coaches have told us that Canton’s prestige is based more off of his astronomical ceiling than his production last year. With that, I’ll take a wait-and-see approach with their defensive front. The offensive line was a concern against Mililani, allowing an alarming 6 sacks. A trip to Helix High in San Diego should tell us more about where this team is at right now.
3. Kamehameha-Kapalama – Speaking of workman-like efforts, Kamehameha has quietly dismantled two HHSAA 2012 state tournament teams to the tune of 72-4 over the last two weeks. Poised by a powerful running game, the Warriors are taking on the toughness of new head coach Doug Cosbie. With a couple of wideouts stretching the 6’3″ barrier in Kayson Smith-Bejgrowicz and William Young, Kapalama will be a nightmare to defend at the goal-line. This week’s date with Saint Louis should prove if this team is ready for the big stage.
4. Waianae – Another surprising team out of the gate so far have been the boys from the Westside. Especially defensively, not many expected this kind of production with the loss of superhuman Under Armour All-American DT Kennedy Tulimasealii to graduation. The defense has improved, allowing only 14 points-per-game against three solid opponents in Aiea, Moanalua, and Farrington. Senior QB Kekoa Kaluhiokalani Jr. is one of the best play makers in the state, totaling 558 yards of total offense and 7 touchdowns.
5. Kahuku – I know, Kahuku at 5? I don’t expect them to stay here for long, but right now this team seems to be struggling with youth. It’s not often you have to replace 18 starters from a back-to-back state championship squad. That being said, I fully expect head coach Reggie Torres to have the boys from where the salt winds blow in state championship-contending form when November rolls around. Giving up 500 yards to Saint Louis and 14 1st half points to Kaimuki was jaw-dropping for a Kahuku defense, but stud DE Lamone Williams and company have the pieces necessary to turn it around.
6. Leilehua – From a power poll perspective, there’s a lot of jumble in the middle of this order. The Mules bring a strong resume to the table, being the only team in our top-10 with two wins over fellow ranked teams. Dynamic play makers in RB Ikaika Piceno and WR Tristian Kamaka have over 300 yards combined with 6 scores, including each with a kick returned to the house. The old cliche “defense wins championships” seems to ring true in 808 prep football, and though they can light up the scoreboard, I’m not sure the Mules are ready to buck the trend and jump into the elite category.
7. Mililani – Speaking of horses, the Trojans seem to be just a few short of joining the elite teams in Hawai’i. With Vavae Malepaei, a sophomore, Mililani has potentially the best runningback in the state. The 6’0″ 190 pounder has 369 yards and 7 TD’s through 3 games, and looked every-bit the part against Punahou. Combined with bruising all-purpose pounder Dayton Furuta, the Trojans are running thunder and lightning Jr. If Mililani can get some improved quarterback play from rookies McKenzie Milton (So) and Robert Faleafine (Sr), they could make some serious noise. It’s too bad UNLV signal caller Jarin Morikawa doesn’t have another year of eligibility.
8. Campbell – The Sabres gave Leilehua all they could handle Friday night, so they aren’t too far behind the other contenders in the O.I.A. Returning senior QB Isaac Hurd has lit up the Ewa skyline with 553 yards and 7 TD’s this season. Replacing future Army Black Knight Paul-Andrew Rhoden is Austin May, who has 7 scores on almost 9-yards-a-carry. If the Sabres smallish linebacking corps can hold steady, they won’t be a tomato can for anyone in the west.
9. Aiea – There’s nothing cute about the way Na Ali’i head coach Wendell Say has his team playing this season. Aiea is 2-1 after a bruising defeat to Waianae on Saturday, in which rising WR Shanean Hernandez-Fonoti racked up his 5th touchdown of the year. The 6’2″ 190 pound senior is doing so despite Na Ali’i rotating quarterbacks due to injury. This weekend’s battle with Campbell could decide who stays in contention in the east, and who starts thinking about winter break.
10. Lahainaluna – Its always tough to grade neighbor island teams, simply because we don’t get to see them as often. A box score can only tell so much, but everyone who follows Hawai’i prep football saw what Hurceles Mata’afa (sorry, I couldn’t help it) did in the state tournament last season. The 6’3″ 235 lb. senior defensive end wrecked havoc on Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium last fall, guiding the Lunas to mere seconds away from a HHSAA DII title. The West Maui boys, at 2-0, open up M.I.L. play this week with Kamehameha-Maui.