Andrew Lee photo (http://www.twitter.com/AndrewLeeHI
)By Wes Nakama
Jordan Li'ili'i completed 17 of 28 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns Friday night to help 'Aiea roll past visiing Kailua, 35-0, in the nonleague opener for both teams Friday night.
Li'ili'i, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior transfer from Castle, moved with his family from Kane'ohe this summer. His sister Leisha is the standout first baseman for the Univerity of Hawai'i softball team.
"He wasn't the starter when he first came to us," Na Ali'i coach Wendell Say said. "We had two quarterbacks (Shaenan Hernandez-Fonoti and Mana Ka'aihue) back from last year, and we were comfortable with them. But (Li'ili'i) has gotten better every week, and (with him starting) it's allowed us to use Shaenan at receiver and Mana at linebacker or all over the place."
The result is a better team all-around, and moving Hernandez-Fonoti -- a big (6-2, 190), fast and athletic senior -- to receiver especially has paid dividends.
Li'ili'i threw a perfect strike to Hernandez-Fonoti on a streak route down the right sideline that resulted in a 57-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead after Jae Won Huh's extra point with 1:42 remaining in the first quarter.
They connected again on a 20-yard hitch-and-go TD pass with 8:41 left in the half, when Li'i'li'i pump-faked and then lobbed a rainbow to Hernandez-Fonoti in the back right corner of the end zone.
After an encroachment penalty, Ka'aihue ran in the two-point conversion attempt helped by Fika Taiese's crushing block.
Huh drilled a 24-yard field goal four minutes into the second half to make it 18-0, and Li'ili'i threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Lincoln Tappe on a crossing pattern with 9:28 remaining in the game to help push the lead to 25-0.
Defensive back Elijah Tausaga later picked up a loose fumble in the Surfriders backfield and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown with 5:16 left, and Huh -- a soccer player who recovered from an offseason injury -- barely cleared a 45-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining to complete the scoring.
Huh also put five kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, helping 'Aiea's physical defense limit Kailua to 148 total yards.
It was an impressive victory overall for Na Ali'i, who missed last year's O'ahu Interscholastic Association playoffs and suited up only 32 of 50 players Friday due to injuries and academic probation.
"We gotta stay healthy, because we don't have the numbers like the other teams in the (OIA) West," Say said.
'Aiea will play host to Pac-Five on Aug. 16.
Hernandez-Fonoti finished with four receptions for 127 yards, including a spectacular leaping catch between two defenders inside the 10-yard line.
Kailua sophomore Ko'olauloa Gaspar had two interceptions and two catches for 44 yards.KAILUA (0-1) 0 0 0 0 - 0
'AIEA (1-0) 7 8 3 17 - 35
'Aiea -- Shaenan Hernandez-Fonoti 57 pass from Jordan Li'ili'i (Jae Won Huh kick)
'Aiea -- Hernandez-Fonoti 20 pass from Li'ili'i (Mana Ka'ahanui run)
'Aiea -- FG Huh 24
'Aiea -- Lincoln Tappe 23 pass from Li'ili'i (Huh kick)
'Aiea -- Elijah Tausaga 54 fumble return (Huh kick)
'Aiea -- FG Huh 45
RUSHING -- Kailua: William Kailimai 11-22, Noah Auld 12-15, Tristan Futa 10-24. 'Aiea: Fika Taiese 7-20, Li'ili'i 6-(minus-15), Ka'ahanui 1-(minus-9), Lopaka Souza-White 3-2.
PASSING -- Kailua: Auld 8-26-0-87, Futa 0-1-0--0. 'Aiea: Li'ili'i 17-28-3--272.
RECEIVING -- Kailua: Makaio Gaspar 1-1, Kaimana Lono 3-42, Futa 1-2, Kailimai 1-(minus-2), Ko'olauloa Gaspar 2-44. 'Aiea: Jantzen Shinmoto 1-17, Tappe 4-31, Taiese 4-61, Hernandez-Fonoti 4-127, Glen Igafo 1-17, Ken Ishikawa 1-20, Branson Campos 1-(minus-3), Peterson Howard 1-2.