The Maui News 2018 MIL 8-Player Football All-Stars

QBs share top honors: Lanai’s Kahananui-Alejado, Molokai’s Augustiro led teams to championships

Molokai High School’s Chevy Augustiro (in photo) and Lanai’s Devrene Kahananui-Alejado (second photo) led their teams to a share of the Maui Interscholastic League championship this season. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The rivalry between Lanai and Molokai high schools has never been more prominent on the football field than it was in 2018.

The two teams split their games, each winning impressively at home. They shared the Maui Interscholastic League eight-player title, Molokai claiming a fourth straight crown and Lanai winning its first high school football championship ever.

Not surprisingly, the equality between the two teams reaches The Maui News MIL All-Star teams.

The teams’ quarterbacks — Devrene Kahananui-Alejado of Lanai and Chevy Augustiro of Molokai — are the co-MIL Players of the Year. The Farmers landed nine first-team selections, the Pine Lads had seven. Overall, Lanai had a 15-13 advantage in players selected.

“When we’re on the field, yeah, we got that rivalry,” Kahananui-Alejado said. “After the game, it’s all love. We all love each other, we all talk — it’s been like that for a while. We just try to keep that up.”

Devrene Kahananui-Alejado, PIERCE MYERS photo

Augustiro, who also excels as a rodeo cowboy, echoed those sentiments when asked about sharing the POY award with Kahananui-Alejado.

“I couldn’t have done it without my team,” Augustiro said. “We’ve been through it all, the ups and downs. I feel pretty great about the award. Props to (Kahananui-Alejado) — he’s a dang good quarterback if you ask me. He has a few more years to go, so I won’t doubt that he will make it big.”

Kahananui-Alejado and Augustiro are joined on the first-team offense by running backs Kaimana Paleka (Molokai) and Naighel Calderon (Lanai); wide receivers Kai Preseault (Seabury Hall) and Kanalu Kahale (Molokai); and offensive linemen Cheeday Tilini (Molokai), Morgan Jonas (Lanai) and Elijah Gima-Maltezo (Lanai).

The defensive first team includes Landen Kaneakua (Molokai), Kaimana Nakayama (Molokai) and Kolee Pedro-Tabilangan (Molokai) at defensive back; linebackers Jamahl Adams (Lanai) and Stevie Savou (Seabury Hall); defensive linemen Nickolas Rapanot (Molokai), Kanalu Lopez-Agliam (Lanai) and Renze Manuel (Lanai); and Nalima Puaa-Aki (Molokai) at utility.

Lanai’s Stephen “Fergie” Ferguson is the MIL Coach of the Year.

The Pine Lads had to order a new set of uniforms when 38 players turned out for the team. The previous set of uniforms had just 35 jerseys.

“It was quite a journey,” said Kahananui-Alejado, a junior. “It started off with a little bit of people and as it just went on, kids started to show up, coming out, which motivated a lot of kids to turn out. Motivation helped us get where we’re at.”

In the first five seasons of MIL eight-player football, Lanai was challenged to stay out of the league cellar. Last season, they beat Seabury Hall for the first time to reach the championship game, which the Pine Lads lost to the Farmers. Now, they share a spot atop the league.

“We first started and we weren’t up there, but that helped motivate the younger guys that it’s time, we can actually do this if we put heart and effort into it,” Kahananui-Alejado said. “It was really great.”

The Pine Lads held a team meeting before their 44-16 win over Molokai on Sept. 1.

“We all told each other, ‘You know what? Play for everyone, don’t play for yourself, play for each other and let’s see where we can get,’ “ Kahananui-Alejado said. “After than win, it brought our hopes up — we just beat the team that we couldn’t beat before.”

The Pine Lads’ climb to the top nearly mirrors the Farmers’ ascension as they chased Seabury Hall, which won the first three MIL eight-player titles.

Augustiro’s story is also familiar. He took over at quarterback when Nakayama was injured early, similar to the way his cousin, Jayden Dudoit-Tabilangan, stepped in two years when another quarterback transferred.

Dudoit-Tabilangan is currently a rodeo athlete for a junior college in Montana.

“I’ve been doing rodeo since I was in diapers, you know,” Augustiro said. “It’s my family thing.”

Being a bull rider and steer wrestler only makes Augustiro, a senior, tougher. He will concentrate on his cowboy exploits this winter and play volleyball for the Farmers in the spring.

He plans to pursue rodeo in college athletics.

“Rodeo helps me a lot,” Augustiro said. “Being tossed or having to grab a steer, when things aren’t going to plan when you’re on the horse or you’re on the bull getting slammed around … one of the things you look forward to is getting into practice and more reps. That’s what makes winners or champions.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Second team offense

Nahinu Lind Hana Quarterback Sr.

Jayse Lalim-Rillon Molokai Running back Sr.

Jesse Sigrah Lanai Running back So.

Kane Tubera Lanai Wide receiver Sr.

Roderick Noble Lanai Wide receiver Sr.

David Kaupu Molokai Offensive line Sr.

Nathan Gani Lanai Offensive line Jr.

Ardell Muller Lanai Offensive line Sr.

Kian Tubera Lanai Utility Sr.

Second team defense

Leitin Clark Hana Defensive back Sr.

Maka Ahuna Lanai Defensive back Jr.

Luther Pablo Lanai Defensive back Fr.

Chanson Hoopai-Waikoloa Hana Linebacker Sr.

Jordan Kupau Molokai Linebacker Jr.

Hauoli Sinenci Hana Defensive line Jr.

Ben Swartz Seabury Hall Defensive line Sr.

Keanu Akina Seabury Hall Defensive line Sr.

Kali Hirashima Molokai Utility So.