All-BIIF soccer: A scorer turned leader, DeMotta reached all his goals at Kamehameha

  • BRAD BALLESTEROS/Tribune-Herald Jonathan DeMotta scored 26 times during his senior season at Kamehameha, spurring the Warriors to a BIIF Division II repeat and securing the league's Player of the Year honor.

It was a fitting soccer send-off last weekend for Kamehameha graduate Jonathan DeMotta.

A few weeks shy of departing for Peninsula College, he shoehorned four years of BIIF play neatly into 80-plus minutes, dabbling in a plethora of roles all over the field at the Volcano tournament.

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He even took a penalty kick, and, considering the source, there is no need to ask if he converted.

“I just love scoring,” he said.

And everything else on the pitch.

As a Warriors freshman, DeMotta was played holding midfielder before steadily making his was up to striker. It was there that he found his stride as an upperclassmen and finished on top as a two-time BIIF champion and the Division II Player of the Year, as selected by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, West Hawaii Today and the league’s coaches.

“It was definitely a goal,” DeMotta said. “From the start of high school to the end of high school, that was a goal.”

In the end, his career was defined by them.

His team-high 21st goal as a junior came on a penalty kick in the waning minutes of the HHSAA Division II championship match against Kauai’s Kapaa, lifting Kamehameha to its first state title.

“The celebration is something I’ll always remember,” he said.

But his heavy lifting had just begun.

In 2017-18, DeMotta could afford to focus primarily on himself, but when a stout class of 10 seniors departed, more responsibility headed his way as a senior.

“He had to step up as one of the leaders on the field,” Kamehameha coach Kevin Waltjen said. “All the kids respect him. When he is on the field, everyone is always looking for him to score. The pressure is always on him.”

“Even like this game here,” Waltjen said last Sunday at the Volcano tournament. “They want him to be on top, they want him to score, and then he drops back. He did the same thing during the (BIIF) season.”

In 2018-19, DeMotta put home 26 goals for Kamehameha, which found its way after a few lopsided losses against against Division I teams and a misstep early in the season in a D-II match at Makua Lani, a contest DeMotta missed.

“I just had to push our team 110 percent,” he said. “That was our motto, 110 percent during practice, during games.

“We had to pick each other up.”

Especially in the second halves of matches.

DeMotta felt the Warriors fell into the bad habit of becoming a first-half team, but they fixed the problem by the BIIF title game. Locked in a 0-0 tie at the half with the Lions, DeMotta scored two goals, and then he dropped back to defense and helped salt away a 4-0 a victory.

“We had it all the way,” he said of the season and championship. “We knew, we knew.”

In addition to DeMotta, Warriors striker Buddy Betts also become a two-time all-BIIF selection. They are joined by teammates Logan Waltjen and Ethan Shimabukuro at midfield and fullbacks Cuinn Cariaga and Lu’ukapu Roback. Makua Lani had four first-team selections, forward Isaiah Easley, fullbacks Emmett Alcos and Kaipono Benson and goalkeeper Dominic Perrino, and Kohala midfielder Shiloh Perez and Konawaena midfielder Travis Ichishita also were honored.

DeMotta heads to Peninsula, a junior college in Port Angeles, Washington, hoping to make his mark and then transfer to a four-year school.

If the past four years are any indication, he’ll do nothing but move up.

“I always saw myself as more of an attacking player the next season (in high school),” DeMotta said.

First team

Jonathan DeMotta Kamehameha Forward

Buddy Betts Kamehameha Forward

Isaiah Easley Makua Lani Forward

Travis Ichishita Konawaena Midfielder

Shiloh Perez Kohala Midfielder

Ethan Shimabukuro Kamehameha Midfielder

Logan Waltjen Kamehameha Midfielder

Cuinn Cariaga, Kamehameha Fullback

Lu’ukapu Roback Kamehameha Fullback

Emmett Alcos Makua Lani Fullback

Kaipono Benson Makua Lani Fullback

Dominic Perrino Makua Lani Goalkeeper

Player of the year

Jonathan DeMotta, Kamehameha

Coach of the year

Kevin Waltjen, Kamehameha

Honorable mention

Honokaa: Josiah Rodrigues, Malachi Pesta, Kelson Pedro

Kamehameha: Christian Hironaga, Jake Toci

Konawaena: Kalai Santiago, Wyatt Savella, Joseph Roback

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Kohala: Julian Parks, Kamani Provencal, Alika Viernes

Makua Lani: Kahoku Benson, Kai Van Bergen, Chase Lurbiecki, Tim Catanzaro

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