As they’ve carved out a BIIF dynasty, the Hilo Vikings have never taken the field with a player committed to a Division I school in football, but that will change this season from someone who has yet to play a down for them.
Kilohana Haasenritter accepted a 2020 scholarship offer from the University of Hawaii football team last weekend, and Haasenritter told the Star-Advertiser he will sign a letter of intent on Feb. 5, the first day of the spring-semester signing period for football prospects. He said he chose that date instead of the December signing period because it would allow one of his mentors, Asai Gilman, to attend the ceremony.
The rich got richer when Haasenritter transferred to the the six-time defending Division I champion Vikings from Kamehameha, where he was used as running back, receiver and defensive back and was selected the BIIF Division II Offensive Player of the Year after igniting the Warriors with nine touchdowns and more than 900 yards in rushing and receiving. He said he projects to compete as a running back or slotback for the Rainbow Warriors.
Two weeks ago, Haasenritter received the UH offer. He decided to delay a decision until after attending the Warriors’ football camp on June 8 and “Junior Day” on June 9.
“It was so surreal, just all the love I felt over there,” said Haasenritter, who learned about the school and the run-and-shoot offense from head coach Nick Rolovich and quarterbacks coach/pass-game coordinator Craig Stutzmann. “Coach Rolo and Coach Craig made me feel more at home. It was my home. It made it a lot easier. It made me feel I was with family.”
First, he’ll join a loaded a group of Vikings skill players that also includes Fiki Aguiar, the BIIF D-I Offensive Player of the Year, as well as all-BIIF selection Guyson Ogata.
Hilo is undergoing voluntary workouts leading up to the start of summer camp in mid-July.
“I’m not going to complain about having another dynamic playmaker,” coach Kaeo Drummondo told the Tribune-Herald Tuesday. “(Kilohana’s) transition has been as smooth as it can be as we implement a new player to a change in system, and a change in terminology.”
While Haasenritter’s primary offensive role is undecided, Drummondo said he would “definitely play slot back, which is the position he is being recruited to for college.”
Haasenritter played defense last season by necessity because of Kamehameha’s low roster numbers, and Drummondo said the Vikings could use him all three facets of the game as well.
Haasenritter becomes the second BIIF player to commit to an FBS school before their senior season in the last week after Konawaena linebacker Alex Muti pledged to BYU.
Haasenritter has family ties to the Warriors and UH-Hilo. His uncles Mana Silva and Kana Silva are former Warriors, and Mana Silva, who played safety, had stints in the NFL. His father, Charlie Haasenritter pitched for Hilo High, his mother, Kahea, was a libero at UHH, while an uncle, Matt, played on the baseball team and an aunt, Haunani, was a softball player.
Haasenritter told the Star-Advertiser that Mana Silva “treats me like I’m his brother. He calls me Braddah Kilo. It’s a funny thing he does. He’s a cool guy. He taught me a lot of tips and techniques of the game to help me become better.”
Haasenritter said he used to travel with Silva’s parents to Honolulu to watch UH games at Aloha Stadium.
Haasenritter said he has received guidance from family members, coaches and trainers. Jason Saturnio helped craft the early-morning program.
“We do beach workouts, weight-room workouts, and we even go through mental work and spiritual work,” Haasenritter told the Star-Advertiser. “”I like to work out in the mornings, 4 in the morning.”
All of which led to fulfilling what he described as “the life-long dream” of securing a UH scholarship. “Just the history there and, after discussing it with my parents, it made it a lot easier for me to be in my home state and represent ‘Pride Rock,’ ” Haasenritter said of the program’s self-styled motto.