True-Blue Warrior: Chase Newton Leads KS-Maui
By Rodney S. Yap
If fantasy football existed in the Maui Interscholastic League, Chase Newton would be the overwhelming favorite at quarterback for team owners looking to draft a franchise player with its first selection.
The three-year starter from Kamehameha Maui is a familiar face and proven commodity at quarterback. In other words, he’s the real deal. His production and management skills as a football player are unmatched in the history of the school and often under appreciated as his efforts have not translated necessarily to victories.
But one week into the second-round schedule of the 2014 MIL season and Newton’s body of work on the football field are raising eyebrows. That’s because the 6-foot, 2-inch, 220-pound passer has quietly thrown for 2,633 yards, rushed for 939 yards, and once upon a time even caught 11 passes for 103 yards. His career all-purpose statistics — which combines a player’s numbers passing, rushing and receiving — rank him No. 1 all-time at the school, surpassing the marks set by Keahi Raikes between 2005-06.
Newton’s current all-purpose total is 3,675 yards, which annihilates Raikes’ previous high of 2,664 with three games remaining on the MIL schedule.
While Kamehameha Maui’s struggles (3-21) as a team have been documented with Newton at the controls, his individual numbers are unmistakeable and ultimately defines him. Opposing coaches have had fits game planning ways to contain him, often seemingly settling on outscoring him instead.
Either way, Newton’s talents have not been overlooked and his efforts are worthy of high praise.
“I think the kid is a phenomenal athlete and right now he looks like a pure Division I passer when he throws the ball and he’s healthy,” said King Kekaulike head coach Kyle Sanches, who voted for Newton as the MIL Offensive Player of the Year last season. “The kid has a hell of an arm, he’s very athletic, a big, strong, physical quarterback. He’s your prototypical quarterback that next-level schools look at. He’s a very impressive athlete in the MIL and I absolutely think he’s got college potential.”
Newton would like nothing better than to have the opportunity to play quarterback in college; thus, extending his career playing the sport he learned to love growing up in Waihee.
“Wow, I didn’t know,” he said when told of his feats. “It feels good. It feels like all my hard work has paid off.”
The work Newton has put in to be the player and teammate that he is have not gone unnoticed.
“He’s a tremendous student-athlete, a kid who is always willing to put in the time to study and to make sure his classroom work is taken care of before he gets to practice,” said Jordan Helle, Kamehameha Maui’s offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach. “We’ve never had to worry about him being academically ineligible or even a little borderline.
“When it comes to football he’s the same way, he’s that proverbial student of the game. We don’t have the time to do an organized film study, so he puts the time in to film study and he does a lot of that on his own, at home after practice without the coaches there. He’s always trying to prepare himself the best possible way he can so the team will be successful.
“I think the world of him in that sense because of how much time he’s put in to make himself better, knowing that it will subsequently helps the team.”
As a former all-star quarterback himself, Helle added: “He does a little bit of everything . . . it wouldn’t matter what position we put him at, we could put him at any position — defensive back, receiver, heck he even played a snap at defensive end against Lahainaluna on Saturday. We could put him at any position on the field and he would be the best player we put at that position.”
Helle said Newton has handled all of his responsibilities like a champion.
“As a quarterback he has progressed immensely. He has put in his time developing his fundamentals and he is a gifted natural passer and a gifted natural athlete. He has refined the skills of the quarterback position, being able to be fundamentally sound, from throwing the football correctly, on balance, and not being inconsistent.
“We’ve put a lot on his plate. He’s able to change plays at the line of scrimmage, audible to get us in the right play and his knowledge of the offense is unbelievable. He knows what everybody on the team is supposed to be doing, down to the center, to the guards, to the tackles, to the receivers — it’s quite impressive.”
Sometimes it can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially losing, Newton said.
“It’s very frustrating. As a team, we can see that there can be greatness but we just can’t put it all together as one — it just comes in glimpses.
“And yeah it’s quite a lot to deal with, we have a lot of young players, but you don’t ever want to put down your teammates. I always try to do what I can to boost them up and give them credit.”
“We ask way too much of him,” Helle admitted. “We have a lot of young kids. I counted nine offensive linemen have missed at least a half of a game. At times we’ve had two freshmen and two sophomores in front of him. And because of that he’s basically bringing them along. We’ve put that on his plate kind of as necessity and he’s taken it in stride and never complained. He’s taken on this challenge and he’s done a fine job doing it.”
Newton said he wants the ball in his hands on every play, and it doesn’t matter if he’s lined up at receiver.
“He’s athletic ability is unbelievable. He’s so hard to bring down. He’s like a tight end back there playing quarterback and his escapability is remarkable,” Helle concluded. “He has to be one of the toughest kids I’ve ever met. He gets hit a lot back there, not only on pass plays but we run him a lot as well, on designed quarterback runs, because he’s so dangerous and means so much to the offense.”
Raikes led the Warriors to their only MIL Division II championship his junior season (2005), including a first-round playoff upset of Kauai at Vinidinha Stadium. The Warriors loss in the semifinals the following week at Radford, 37-27. Raikes had 231 all-purpose yards in the loss as KS-Maui finished 6-7 overall.
The following year (2006), Kamehameha Maui finished 4-5-1. Raikes played safety for two seasons at Orange Coast College and in 2009, his sophomore season, he had 36 tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups.
Raikes, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, redshirted in 2010 after walking on at UNLV.