Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • November 30, 2021
Great Timing By Coach Leads To Bedrock Sports Hawaii’s Choice For Football Player Of The Week: Kalaheo’s Elijah Taylor

New Kalaheo football coach Nelson Maeda just happened to be reviewing the video of the Mustangs’ first victory in more than three years.

What great timing Monday.

That’s when Maeda received a phone call from Bedrock Sports Hawaii asking for a nomination for his player of the game from Kalaheo’s 34-22 victory over McKinley at the Kailua High field on Saturday.

At first, Meada talked abut some of the guys on offense who had some great games, but when he switched to defense, that’s when he had a winner in Elijah Taylor that Bedrock Sports Hawaii ultimately chose as its player of the week.

“Elijah Taylor had about 10 sacks,” Maeda said.

Obviously, that high number caused one eyebrow to raise. Maeda promised to look at the video and get a true count.

It turns out that the coach, taking a real close look at the video, found Taylor had five and a half sacks, two more tackles for loss, five more tackles and a forced fumble.

That’s a pretty awesome night and it made a huge difference in the outcome of the Mustangs’ first win since Oct. 13, 2018, when they beat Kalani 22-7. It snapped a 15-game losing streak.

“Elijah has a motor on him,” Maeda said. “He’s only 5-9 and 160 pounds and a junior, but he was voted as a team captain. That’s how much he’s respected. He’s so quick and they had a hard time blocking him. When the boy gets knocked down hard, he gets right back up and goes right at it again on the next play. And he’s a good kid. A ‘yes coach, no coach’ kind of guy. We put him at tackle and he had never played there before. Had always played linebacker, but he knew we needed a tackle and he said, ‘Coach, teach me how to play tackle.’ ”

Kalaheo’s Elijah Taylor.

Maeda, a former head man at Castle and Kailua, is 1-5 since taking over for Darrell Poole in the spring of 2020, the year no season was held.

The game against the Tigers also featured former Punahou coach Kale Ane, who is in his first year leading McKinley (0-5).

“We’re both kind of in the same situation, trying to build a program up from the foundation,” Maeda said. “The ball bounced our way. We got some breaks that helped us put points on board. Their program is headed in the right direction.”

The Mustangs, who have a roster in the low 30s, have only two seniors and three juniors.

“We’ve got a lot of kids who are basically being thrown into the fire of varsity football,” Maeda said.  “Ninth and 10th graders make up about 80 percent of our roster.

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ALSO AT BedrockSportsHawaii.com:
>> KONAWAENA SHOOTS TO NO. 6, KAISER AT NO. 10 IN BEDROCK’S LATEST FOOTBALL TOP 10
>> FOUR FROM THE JUNIOR CLASS ARE REMINDERS THAT KAHUKU’S ASCENDANCY IS AN OFFSHOOT OF THE RED RAIDERS’ S DESCNENDANCY

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