Konawaena quarterback Kainoa “Boo” Jones had a great day against Waiakea and so did defensive lineman Jason “AJ” Alani in a football game that defined the Wildcats’ progress to date.
Jones was 23 of 35 for 351 yards with six touchdowns and no turnovers in a 41-0 BIIF Division I win against Waiakea on Saturday at Ken Yamase Memorial Stadium.
The first-year quarterback was masterful in his understanding of Konawaena’s pistol spread offense, a quick-strike attack that requires Jones to read the safety and quickly attack the perimeter.
Alani, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior had a whopper of a game with two sacks and three tackles for loss. He made himself familiar to the Waiakea backfield, which struggled to produce any type of offense.
“I liked our teamwork, and I try to bring intensity to the game,” Alani said. “I want to be focused on the field and humble.”
The Warriors (0-8 overall, 0-7 BIIF) rushed for 30 yards on 24 attempts. Quarterbacks Reyn Segovia-Tanonaka and Vance Kamau went a combined 7 of 13 for 74 yards.
The Warriors tried a bit of innovation. In the second half, they ran the wishbone, Oklahoma’s Barry Switzer’s old-fashioned smash-mouth style, that produced three national titles.
The Wildcats (6-2, 6-1) know the obvious, that they’re on a collision course with six-time defending BIIF champion Hilo in a few weeks.
“For us, it’s about execution every week,” Konawaena coach Brad Uemoto said. “Our opponent is truly ourselves. We have to play with disciple on both sides of the ball.”
Maybe this is the game that puts Jones on the fast track as the quick-twitch triggerman.
“He’s got athletic talent to work with, and he’s understanding our offense,” Uemoto said. “He’s not even halfway to learning it. He’s got a lot to learn. We want to get him to play with more consistency.”
First a little background info on the 6-foot, 170-pound junior. At birth, he was nicknamed by his mom as “Honey Boo.” The Boo part stuck.
“On the field, everyone knows me as Boo. Off the field, people don’t really know my first name,” said Jones, who transferred to Konawaena this season.
During his Pop Warner days, he was a running back and later was a slotback at Kealakehe.
As a QB, he’s got enough of an arm to fire deep balls and good touch for medium-range rainbow passes over linebackers.
“I’m feeling good. I just need to keep getting more reps,” Jones said.
The play designs allowed his receivers to get wide open, and they posted big numbers.
Marc Basa had 10 catches for 105 yards and three TDs, Jesse Canda had four receptions for 76 yards and a TD, Kaden Baptista had five catches for 61 yards and a TD, and Joseph Roback had five receptions for 61 yards.
As a sign that Jones went through his progressions, rather than taking off if his first read was covered, he ran just four times for seven yards.
Of course, his offensive line gets a gold star for the protection (no sacks allowed) and the holes created for the running game.
Senior Riley Sato rushed for 94 yards on eight carries, getting a pair of explosive plays (20 yards or more) with runs of 22 and 32 yards. Maui Ellis-Noa added 28 yards on three attempts.
Jones could see the Hilo question coming from a mile away. What’s it going to take to beat the Vikings on Friday, Oct. 25 at Wong Stadium in the rematch?
“It’ll take our ‘A’ game and teamwork,” he said.
Speaking of Hilo that’s the team Waiakea faces next. That 104-0 score still stings. But the Warriors solider on.
One moment in the third quarter perfectly summarized what it’s like to be a Warrior on this winless team.
Senior Samuel Harrison-Cummings injured his ribs during a special teams play in the third quarter. The game was delayed for 15 minutes, and he was hauled off on an ATV.
He was already wearing a cast on his right arm. Not even an earlier injury could keep him away from the field and helping his fellow Warriors.
Alani doesn’t have the rangy athletic frame of Alex Muti, who’s 6-3 and 205 pounds and verbally committed to BYU, so he has to use every edge to his advantage.
“He’s quick off the ball and has a good motor,” Uemoto said. “We played well. We have so much talent upfront, and it was his turn today.”
Alani, who likes Ray Lewis and Aaron Donald, wants to play college ball, too. He’d settle for a junior college offer, so stellar stats help his resume.
Uemoto is right about one thing. He’s got a talented team, including guys like Muti, Jones, Alani, the unsung O-line, and those speedy pass catchers. They all shined on a sun-baked Saturday.
It’s inevitable that each game is a build-up toward the rematch and the eventual BIIF championship, a week later.
For the Wildcats, who lost to Hilo 43-0 at home, they don’t feel like they’re holding a short stick in the talent department.
Like Jones, Uemoto knows a lot of people are wondering the same question: How do you beat Hilo?
“We have to hang in there and keep it a game,” he said. “Talent-wise I think we have enough to match up with anybody.”
The game and the score stated the obvious: Konawaena’s talent came to play.
Konawaena 14 20 7 0 — 41
Waiakea 0 0 0 0 — 0
Kona — Marc Basa 12 pass from Kainoa Jones (Ro’o Satta-Ellis kick)
Kona — Jesse Canda 26 pass from Jones (Satta-Ellis kick)
Kona —Jones 1 run (kick failed)
Kona — Kaden Baptista 24 pass from Jones (Satta-Ellis kick)
Kona — Basa 16 pass from Jones (Satta-Ellis kick)
Kona — Basa 1 pass from Jones (Satta-Ellis kick)