Hilo High grads reunite at UH loss


By KEVIN JAKAHI

Tribune-Herald sports writer

One piece of consolation for Charles Clay in the University of Hawaii football team’s 33-14 loss at Oregon State on Saturday was seeing an old friend and former teammate.

Clay, a senior safety, and OSU senior defensive end Devon Kell are 2009 Hilo High graduates.

That’s not the only thing they have in common. Both worked hard to earn scholarships, after entering college as undersized players.

Clay weighed just 150 pounds. Now, he’s 5 feet 11 and 205 pounds. Kell once tipped the scales at 200 pounds. Now he’s 6-4 and 246 pounds.

Clay, who started the game, tied linebacker Julian Gener with a team-high 11 tackles. Each had six unassisted tackles and five assists.

Kell had four tackle assists. He’s also a versatile lineman, playing tackle in the Beavers nickel (five defensive backs) and dime (six DBs) packages.

Kell was a valedictorian and member of the National Honor Society at Hilo High.

His brother, Drew Kell, is a senior playing football at Crescent Valley High, located in Corvallis, Ore.

In a game last Friday, Kell caught four passes for 69 yards and three touchdowns in Crescent Valley’s 63-34 road win over Putnam.

OSU’s Civil War annual rivalry with No. 2 Oregon is the last game of the regular season Nov. 28 at the Ducks football palace, Autzen Stadium. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

The Beavers (1-1) next play at Utah (2-0) on Saturday. The game will be broadcast at 4 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

Last season, then-No. 13 OSU lost to No. 23 Texas 31-27 in the Alamo Bowl. Kell had two tackles. It was Kell’s first bowl playing experience. The Beavers went to the Las Vegas Bowl in 2009, but he redshirted that year.

UH (0-2) last went to a bowl in 2010, under former coach Greg McMackin, falling to Tulsa 62-35 in the Hawaii Bowl.

Coach benched

The Mountain West Conference suspended UH special teams coordinator and safeties coach Chris Demarest one game for his inappropriate actions on the sideline during the loss at Oregon State.

He will be prohibited from coaching in the next Warriors game, Sept. 21 at Nevada. That 2 p.m. game will be available on Oceanic Time Warner pay-per-view.

“Chris is a tremendous football coach who coaches with passion and energy. This is an extremely unfortunate situation and obviously we will abide with the penalty handed down by the Mountain West,” UH coach Norm Chow said in a statement.

Volleyball

Whitman College freshman Shae Kanakaole (Kamehameha 2013) received Northwest Conference honorable mention for matches played from last week.

In a 3-0 home loss to No. 19 St. Benedict on Saturday, Kanakaole led the Missionaries with 10 kills at the Whitman Classic.

The 5-foot-8 outside hitter took 31 swings, made only three errors and hit .226. She added six digs and one block.

In the second match of the day in a four-set loss to St. Scholastica, Kanakaole pounded a team-high 15 kills.

She had 50 attempts, committed seven errors and hit .160. She added 14 digs and three blocks.

Kanakaole leads Whitman (2-7), a Division III school in Spokane, Wash., with 3.17 kills per set, and 63.5 points (kills, blocks, aces).

Same success

Former UHH coach Bruce Atkinson has the Division I Winthrop Eagles soaring with a 6-1 record.

Atkinson, who coached at UHH from 2007-09, was hired by Winthrop, located in Rock Hill, S.C., in February after three seasons at Towson.

At Towson, just outside of Baltimore, he inherited an 8-21 team and finished the 2010 season with a 16-15 record, including a 10-0 start — the best start in school history.

He guided Towson to a 23-9 record in 2011 and a 24-4 mark, including 12-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, last season. He was voted the CAA Coach of the Year both times.

In 2007, he led the Vulcans to a 23-5 record and was named the Pacific West Coach of the Year. UHH went 21-7 the next season. In 2009, the Vuls were 25-2 and advanced to the postseason for the first time in over a decade.

Atkinson hasn’t forgotten his ties to Hawaii. He’s already started a pipeline, recruiting two players from Oahu in 6-2 Annika Rigterink (from Kaiser High) and libero Kasse-Ann Dela Cruz (Moanalua High).

To submit a collegiate athlete with Big Island ties for publication, email kjakahi@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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