Saturday was a long one for Hilo High football coach Kaeo Drummondo, and the 40-point loss the Vikings absorbed against Campbell High was only one of the reasons.
A veteran officer with the Hawaii Police Department, Drummondo’s trip to Honolulu was delayed so he could attend the funeral of fallen colleague Bronson Kaililoa, who was killed in the line of duty last month.
“I had the honor and privilege to attend the funeral of a hero,” Drummondo said. “I wish his wife and children peace and hope moving forward.
“It was an emotionally draining day, but I’m just glad that I was able to attend Officer Kaliloa’s funeral and still make it in time for most of the game.”
On the field, the OIA Sabers were every bit as athletic and talented as Drummondo predicted and looked like an HHSAA Open Division contender, racing to a 54-14 victory in a preseason opener in Ewa Beach, Oahu.
Considering that Hilo traveled with a short-handed roster of 30 players, the Vikings were able to accomplish one of Drummondo’s primary goals: They stayed relatively healthy and avoided major injury.
Junior Kyler Aguiar accounted for both of Hilo’s touchdowns with a nifty 75-yard run in the second quarter that made the score 40-6 and a 9-yard pass to Guyson Ogata that capped the scoring.
Aguiar, who rushed for 124 yards and passed for 17 more, Ogata and Kalae Akui each saw time at quarterback and combined to go 6 of 24, with Aguiar making the bulk of the throws. Each is also listed at receiver – Ogata was all-BIIF last season – and Hilo would like to work two more quarterbacks into the fold when they become available.
“Kyler Aguiar was a major bright spot for us,” Drummondo said. “His ability to extend plays with his legs and even make some throws where he gave his receivers chances to make plays.
“We’ll be looking for additional ways to get him the ball along with the rest of the playmakers we’ll have.”
He also said freshmen Tysen Kaniaupio, a tackle, and Lyle Silva, running back/linebacker, helped cemented their roles.
Defensively, Drummondo looks forward to getting to work on retooled unit that has time to find its footing. Hilo doesn’t take the field again until its BIIF opener Aug. 31 against Hawaii Prep at home.
The Vikings gave up 211 yards through the air against Campbell, which also rushed for more than 150.
“We need to get back to work on basic alignment, assignment and fundamentals,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have some time to get prepared for league play. We need to make the most out of every practice moving forward.”