Moanalua is 10-1 entering the state tournament. They’ve been one of the best teams all year thanks largely to their dual-threat, playmaking quarterback. But there was a very long moment in their last game where everyone thought they’d have to go the rest of the way without him.
“They’re asking me if I’m OK and ‘how did it feel?’ I just told them I forgot everything that happened. I only remember the pylon,” said Na Menehune quarterback RJ Javar. “The color of the pylon: Orange. That’s the only thing I remember.”
RJ and MJ Javar transferred to Moanalua from Mililani this summer. RJ, a senior, is the quarterback, while his little brother, a grade younger, starts at center.
“I’ll be snapping it to him,” MJ said. “And I know it’s a connection over there.”
“It’s brotherly love. And it’s kind of cool how MJ starts it and RJ finishes it,” said head coach Savai’i Eselu.
RJ has gone off this year, 32 touchdowns and he’s Division 1’s passing yards leader. Javar guided Na Menehune all the way to the OIA title game. But in the first half, his 32nd touchdown looked like it could be the last of his high school career.
RJ was unconscious for 30 seconds and laid on the Aloha Stadium turf for about 25 minutes.
“I was scared because I didn’t know what happened,” he said. “I just woke up and everybody was surrounding me. Our training staff telling me, ‘Don’t move. Just stay put until the ambulance comes.’ That’s why I kinda started crying because I didn’t know where to go or didn’t know what happened.”
A stretcher took RJ off the field and into an ambulance. He was diagnosed with a concussion. But was released from the hospital quickly after tests came back negative.
“I was like ‘Mom, where are we going?’ She’s like ‘We’re going home.’ I was like ‘Really?’ Then she asked me your want to go back to the game?’ I was like ‘Oh yeah.'”
Moanalua came back to win and though once inconceivable, RJ is set to play in Moanalua’s very next game.
“Honestly I never thought about that this was my season-ending injury,” he said. “I just thought ‘I’m going to be back next week.’”
Fortunate that that fast of a return wasn’t necessary. Na Menehune had a month between that game and state semifinals. That’s when RJ will aim to finish what he started.
“I’m just glad for everybody that prayed for me so I can continue playing,” he said.