If you Google Kahuku High School, "football" will be recommended. Kahuku High and Intermediate prides itself on quality football and has for some time. Saints second round selection Hau'oli Kikaha, a sophomore year transfer to the football powerhouse, has many of us fans wondering what his impact might be. He DID rack up an impressive 19 sacks his senior season as a Huskie in Washington.
I caught up with Hau'oli's high school coach, Reggie Torres, who was awesome enough to answer some Qs for us.
To your knowledge, what year did Hau'oli start playing football and what positions did he originally play (on either side of the ball)?
He transferred to Kahuku and played as a sophomore. Beyond that, I don't know. He played Defensive End and some Tight End on goal line offense.
Was he a leader at Kahuku? What are his best characteristics as a player but also as a person?
Hauoli was a leader by example, His work ethic and drive for perfection was matched by just a few. Add to it his humble demeanor and you have a coach's dream of an athlete.
What’s it like seeing Hau'oli get drafted in the 2nd round?
To see him get drafted brought a sense of pride and happiness to know that he was one more step closer to achieving his dream and that all his hard work and perseverance is about to pay off.
Did you ever think he was going all the way to the NFL? What do you think of his fit with the Saints?
I've always believed that he would achieve success no matter what he did because he had the qualities and drive to be successful. He worked hard, he had the mental and physical strength to overcome two ACL operations and still make it into the league. I think he will fit great with the Saints because of the type of defense they run. He's a rush end and if they use him for that, he will be successful.
Kahuku is a perennial Hawaii powerhouse – Have you coached any other current or former NFLers?
I've been blessed to coach Aaron Francisco, Chris Kemoeatu, and Manti Te'o their freshmen year as the Head Junior Varsity Coach. I've also coached Kona Schwenke his sophomore, junior, and senior year.
How does Kikaha stack up among the best the players you’ve ever coached?
He's right up there with all of them. His work ethic and drive is either equal if not more than the previous names mentioned.
Can you share any fun or interesting stories you have about him?
He was such a humble and hardworking young man who was so respectful and wouldn't say much. He would joke a little but he was more focused on getting better so there's really no funny or weird stories to tell.
Any predictions for his success with the Saints in his rookie season? Stats?
I believe that if he can stay healthy, he'll be able to play, possibly start, as a rookie. Once he gets acclimated to the speed and strength of the NFL, he will begin making and impact for his team. Maybe even get 5 sacks his first year.
If you could give Hau’oli sage advice about playing in the pros as his former coach, what would you say?
The advice I would give him is 1) to plan a future beyond football so when it's all done, he can continue being successful. 2) Outwork the competition. 3) Lastly, enjoy every moment of his dream because no one knows when that dream is gonna end.
Anything else you would like to add?
I just want to say, on behalf of all the coaches, team moms, staff, and anyone else that was associated with the program when he played, that we want to wish him the best of luck as he begins a new journey in his life and that we are so proud of him.
Good luck, Hau'oli. Our fans know how big a task you have before you. Just know that there are some talented dudes around you and we all wish you the best.