King Kekaulike Gets QB Boost in Win Over Maui
By Rodney S. Yap
For the record, Trenson Himalaya did not attend King Kekualike High School. But for one game, Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium, he wore the Upcountry school colors and the result was devastating to Maui High.
The former linebacker from Baldwin found out he was going to be playing quarterback for Na Ali’i on Friday and 24 hours later he helped Kekaulike build a 24-6 first-half lead en route to a 30-20 victory over the Sabers.
A sparse crowd of about 300 watched the Alumni Football USA game to determine who would play Lahainaluna in November, according to area coordinator No’eau Lindsey.
Like Kekaulike, the Lunas won their AFUSA debut on Nov. 13 and are both 1-0, turning back Maui High 16-6. The Sabers fell to 1-2 in the AFUSA.
“(No’eau) Lindsey called me last week and said King Kekaulike was short of players and to get some Baldwin guys to come over … I guess I was the only one who showed up,” said the 2005 graduate and two-sport star from Baldwin.
“They actually asked me yesterday to play quarterback and said, ‘We need a quarterback, can you throw?’ I said, ‘I can do whatever you want me to do.’ ”
Lucky for Maui High Himalaya was not asked to do any more, because everything he did on Saturday proved to be successful.
In fact, at 6-foot, 270 pounds, almost 50 pounds over his high school playing weight, Himalaya made plays by scrambling out of trouble and finding an open receiver or by tucking the ball away for a drive-extending first down.
Evidence of his efficiency came at the end of the first half when he engineered a length-of-the-field drive that lasted more than 6 minutes and ended with a 4-yard fade pass to Von Sparks (2008) in the corner of the end zone. Himalaya found Makana Fraiser (2013) for the two-point conversion on the next play — 23 seconds before halftime.
After Maui High cut the lead to 10 points, 30-20, with 7 minutes, 42 seconds remaining, Himalaya lead King Kekaulike’s “backyard” offense to control the clock and sealed the outcome with a game-ending seven-minute drive.
When all was said and done, Maui High retained possession with 40 seconds left in the game and 90 yards of real estate ahead of them.
Kekaulike’s defense shared the spotlight when Landen Kerbow (2005) sacked Saber quarterback David Tufaga (2001) on consecutive plays near the end zone. A remarkable feat when you consider Kerbow’s right arm was heavily wrapped from the wrist past the elbow.
Asked if he has been working out or staying in shape, Himalaya smiled and said: “Negative.”
“But I always wanted that shot at quarterback in high school.”
Himalaya made every throw, from the deep route to the far hash mark, to the touch pass while rolling away from the pressure. A blocking behind-the-back penalty 27 seconds into the second half nullified a 40-yard touchdown catch-and-run from Himalaya to Kaipo Cabanting (2005).
Himalaya did score his team’s final touchdown on a 4-yard run with 10:52 to play that made it 30-12.
Tufaga found a wide open Keoni Kaupu (2007) for a 52-yard touchdown toss against the grain for the game’s final touchdown. Tufaga also connected with Dustin Cabico (2002) for a 23-yard scoring pass at the 2:31 mark in the third quarter.
“King K was ready … hats off to them,” said Cabico. “I’m disappointed yes, but they beat us fair and square. We had our chances.”
Maui High linebacker Kenny Carrol (2001) said: “They have talent, they had some speed. They have a bunch of young guys. Credit goes to them they played better and they executed. We tried and made a good comeback and did what we could. But at the end of the day they were more crisp and played better.
“They took advantage of a couple of good breaks for them and a few bad penalties on our half that gave them good field position. Unfortunately it cost us and they executed when they needed to.”