Kaanahui Named Red West Defensive Player Of The Year
Chucky Kaanahui’s impact on the Aiea football team was immediate as he parlayed his starting role as a sophomore into an All-Conference season two years ago.
Over the time that followed, his stellar work ethic never wavered, to hear longtime head coach Wendell Say tell it.
“Each year he progressed and got even better,” said Say, whose team finished 5-4 in 2010.“He had a great season this year, leadership-wise as well. Defense was his forte, and we needed that from him.”
Kaanahui was recently named the OIA Red West Defensive Player of the Year in a vote of league coaches. His steady play was one of the reasons Na Ali‘i had one of the top defensive units in the state. Aiea yielded only 189 yards per game and just 76.4 per outing on the ground.
When Aiea quarterback Freddie Taliulu went down early in the season to a broken collarbone for the second year in a row, Kaanahui eventually moved behind center again to fill the void.
“We hadn’t considered playing him at quarterback because of his leadership back there (on defense), but when we felt we needed him there, he did a good job. When Keenan came back, we still kept him in the secondary.”
Fellow defensive back Kainoa Raguindin was also named to the First Team and, like Kaanahui, was a three-year starter.
“He was our quiet leader — he just gets the job done,” Say said. “He never missed a practice — in season or in the off-season.”
Ilaio Sio (DL) and Douglas Tautua (LB) also made the First Team defense from Aiea.
“(Sio) was one of the best D-linemen in the state,” Say said.“He had six sacks against Campbell — that’s almost unheard of — and he was consistent throughout.
“Douglas is going to be a great player,” he added of Tautua, a junior. “He started as a sophomore, and he really turned it on this year.”
Anae Vaa was Aiea’s lone First Team selection on offense as a utility player despite playing through injuries and missing two games.
“He was a threat whenever he was on the field,” Say said of Vaa, a slot back/running back and return specialist.
Vaa also made the Second Team for his play at running back, along with teammates Otto-Titan Salausa (RB) and Zachary Mauga (OL). Michael Noga made the Second Team defense from Aiea, while Na Ali‘i also placed 13 team members on the Honorable Mention team: Matt Fa’alele, Michael Williams, Mansfield Silva, Fale Faatoafe, Brendan Abiva, Tony Iosua, Christian Salvador-Aspera, Max Maafala-Maiava, Samson Maeva, Jholy Mauai, Taylor Taliulu, Matt Mendiola and Taliulu.
Senior down lineman Lopisoni Mailei was a First Team Defensive selection from Campbell, while Sheldon Maae (DL) and Sau Momoe (LB) made the Second Team.
The Sabers also boasted a pair of Second Team selections in Keoni Piceno (WR) and Bennett Muasau ( OL). Receiving Honorable Mention from Campbell were Nilo Agbayani-Omalza, Aries Pihi, Jaelen Subia-Etrata, Davin Viernes, Aliifua Ryan, JunJun Leybag, Kelaiah Fonoti, Isaiah Thompson, Giovanni Stevenson, Solomon Leaeno, Joshua Torres, Romelo Wilson and Jyrell Umali.
Keaka Fernandez, Samson Kaleikini, Manuia Ioane, Kapua Awong, Kenja Wiseman, Kaeo Kanoa, Toali’i Scanlan and Josh Simmons were named Honorable Mention from Kapolei.
Senior defensive back Seth Roman also made the Second Team for the Hurricanes.
Mililani coach Rod York, who is an Aiea resident, was chosen as the Red West Coach of the Year.
Contact Jack Danilewicz at firstname.lastname@example.org.