Football
Defense lifts Kahuku to 26-0 win over Waianae


   



Fri, Aug 12, 2011 @ Kahuku [ 7:00 pm ]


Final 1 2 3 4 OT
WNAE (4-6) 0 0 0 0 - 0
KAH (12-1) 7 13 6 0 - 26
Pass: V. Livai (KAH) 160 yd 1 TD  Rush: S. Moe (KAH) 31 yd 0 TD  Rec: M. Fiso (KAH) 54 yd 1 TD

KAHUKU - The marquee game of the opening weekend of high school football ended up being a one-sided affair.

In its first game since it forfeited last year's Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Division title game, Kahuku ran away with a 26-0 non-league victory over defending state runner-up Waianae Friday night.

An enthusiastic crowd of about 1,200 at Carleton E. Weimer Field saw the Red Raiders - in action without head coach Reggie Torres, who was suspended due to an incident during team camp earlier this month - use a stifling defense to shut out the Seariders. Kahuku scored on a pair of interception returns for touchdowns while limiting the opposition to just 42 yards of total offense.

"It was great just to play a game again," said Red Raiders' defensive back Evan Ramirez, whose 77-yard pick-six in the second quarter gave his team a 20-0 halftime lead. "Everybody was just anxious to get on the field again, especially since it was a home game."

While the Kahuku offense sputtered at times - it managed just 67 rush yards on 33 attempts - the Red Raider defense was stellar, allowing just nine Waianae first downs (four were on Kahuku penalties) and holding the Searider offense to 2-of-13 on third-down conversion opportunities.

"Our defense has really been stout since camp and throughout our scrimmages and we expect some really big things from them - they're really the backbone of our team," said interim head coach Walter Santiago.

Kahuku capitalized on an early Waianae miscue when a muffed punt return was recovered by Polikapo Liua Jr. at the Seariders' 25-yard line. Mason Kualii-Moe found the end zone on a 1-yard dive seven plays later to open the scoring. Kekahu Aluli converted the extra point to make it 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

After the Seariders turned it over on downs on their next possession, Kahuku used a six-play, 64-yard drive to extend its lead to 14-0. Back-to-back false start and holding penalties turned a third-and-1 into third-and-16, but quarterback Viliami Livai found Kawehena Johnson, who picked up 26 yards and a first down on a screen pass. Three plays later Livai connected with Mikeli Fiso on a 54-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline with nine minutes and 38 seconds left in the second quarter.

Minutes before halftime, Ramirez brought back an 80-yard punt return to the end zone, but a roughing the kicker penalty against Kahuku negated the score. However, four plays later Ramirez, who missed nearly all of last season after suffering a broken leg in Kahuku's first game, picked off a Kaluhiokalani pass and took it 77 yards the other way. The extra point was missed make it 20-0 at the intermission.

The Red Raiders, who totaled six sacks - including three from linebacker Daylen Kalulu-Sugai - added a score late in the third quarter on a 25-yard interception return by Bronson Beatty.

Waianae head coach Dan Matsumoto gave credit to the Red Raiders.

"Kahuku is a great team and they really executed well," Matsumoto said. "This game showed our weaknesses and what we need to cover, so it was a great learning experience for us."

Both teams played without their top running backs in Kahuku's Aofaga Wily (ankle) and Waianae's Jaylen Mitchell (missed practices) and also debuted new starting quarterbacks in Viliami Livai and Kekoa Kaluhiokalani. Livai, who replaced the graduated Evan Moe, threw for 160 yards with one touchdown and one interception on 9-of-16 passing. Kaluhiokalani, who is trying to fill the shoes of former two-year starter Puletua Wilson, struggled to finish 6-of-19 for 40 yards and was picked off twice.



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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