Despite having ended the 2016 season with a state championship game loss to Saint Louis, just months before losing two-time Cover2 Coach of the Year, Head Coach Vavae Tata, the Kahuku football team enters 2017 ranked 25th in the nation according to MaxPreps.
The Red Raiders, are now under the watch of Makoa Freitas, who replaces Tata who went 24-2, with a state title in 2015, as part of his two seasons with Big Red, but return a trio of game-changers in Quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava, Defensive End Samson Reed, and Linebacker Miki Ah You. The three players were among the five featured as “players to watch” by the online publication.
Max Preps 5 players to watch from Kahuku:
QB Sol-Jay Maiava (6-1, 170, Soph.) – Next big QB prospect out of Hawaii has offers from Fresno State, Michigan and Utah.
OT Izaya Vimahi (6-5, 270, Jr.) – Ranked as the No. 4 tackle in the country for Class of 2019 by 247Sports.
DE Samson Reed (6-3, 250, Sr.) – The state’s No. 4 recruit has already committed to Virginia.
LB Miki Ah You (6-1, 190, Jr.) – Already has offers from Oregon and BYU.
CB Kaonohi Kaniho (5-9, 150, Soph.) – Don’t be fooled by his lack of size. He’s growing fast and ultra talented.
Max Preps STORYLINES for Kahuku’s 2017 season
* Freitas, a former NFL player, played for Tony Dungy and Dick Tomey but has never been a head coach. He takes over for Vavae Tata, who wasn’t rehired after two seasons in which he won a state title and was finalist. Freitas, firm but laid back, will retain almost all of Tata’s staff. “I’m honored they hired me,” he told MaxPreps in May. “There’s a lot here already so I just want to add on.”
* All eyes will be on Maiava, who is being compared (fairly or not) to recent Hawaii quarterback phenoms Marcus Mariota and Tua Tagovailoa.
* If the Red Raiders find themselves in a tight spot, they also boast one of the nation’s top kickers in BYU commit Sekope Latu, quite a specimen at 6-3, 230.
* Don’t be surprised if Kahuku piles up more than 50 sacks with the likes of Reed and other top defensive linemen Sedric Iafeta (6-3, 230) and Junior Tuia (6-2, 270), both among the state’s top recruits.
* Vimahi leads a big, physical offensive line. Establishing a featured running back will be among the top priorities for Freitas.
Kahuku will open their season with a home game on August 11th against Leilehua.
You can follow the Red Raiders this season on Cover2: Hawaii High School Football Weekly. Season five kicks off on Thursday, August 31st at 9:30pm on KHON2.