OIA Football
Nanakuli rallies in second half to beat Kaimuki, 21-14


Sat, Sep 13, 2014 @ Nanakuli [ 5:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
KAIM(2-6-0) 0 6 0 814
NANA(10-1-0) 0 0 7 1421
Kale Kanehailua 203 yd 2 TD
Tevita Lino 131 yd 2 TD
Keanu Momoa 90 yd
Nixon Siona 43 yd 2 TD

NANAKULI – Despite being grounded for most of the first half, the Golden Hawks were able to gain enough altitude after the break to come out on top.

Quarterback Kale Kanehailua accounted for all three Nanakuli scores to help the Golden Hawks (4-0) rise over Kaimuki, 21-14, in an Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II game at Nanakuli’s field Saturday night.

With the win the Golden Hawks remain in a three-way tie with Pearl City (4-0) and Radford (4-1, 4-0 OIA D2) for first place in the league standings.

Kaimuki held a 6-0 lead at halftime before getting outscored 21-8 in the second half. The Bulldogs also tied things up at 14-all with 1:38 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“I got a lot of respect for Kaimuki. I’m glad they didn’t make it easy for us,” said Nanakuli coach Keala Watson, whose team is ranked No. 5 in the ScoringLive/OC16 Division II Power Rankings. “I love when teams come out and test us. We haven’t really been tested this year so I’m glad Kaimuki came out today and showed us a good game.” 

After the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, Nanakuli started its game-winning drive on its own 40-yard line. Kanehailua threw two straight incompletions to start the drive, but came up clutch in a 3rd-and-10 situation with a 10-yard completion to Keanu Momoa to bring it to midfield.

Nanakuli’s second half rally was completed a play later with a 50-yard catch and run by Clifford Cunningham. Cunningham turned a simple seven-yard comeback route into the eventual game-winner.

“Our line, they gave us time to pass the ball,” said Cunningham. “We have weapons all around so somebody is open all the time; it just happened to be me.

“They was playing a cover three so I knew (that the cornerback) was going to back off. When I caught the ball I just spun out around and then all the receivers came in to block (for me).” 

The Golden Hawks’ first score of the game came thanks to a defensive takeaway in the third quarter. Kaimuki had a nice 12-play, clock-milking drive end on a Billy Masima fumble. Nanakuli’s Nakanaela Kipi scooped up the loose ball and returned it 27 yards to the Kaimuki 45-yard line.

“It was a real big help because it boosted up our offense and the crowd just kept the momentum going through for us,” linebacker Randy Manewa said on the turnover. Manewa led the Golden Hawks’ defensive charge with a game-high 13 tackles. 

Nine plays later Kanehailua punched it in from three yards out to put the Golden Hawks on the board. Kanehailua’s rushing touchdown came on a naked bootleg play on 4th-and-goal. Cunningham’s PAT put Nanakuli up by one with 6:19 to go in the quarter.

“The play before was a zig right which the two (defensive) ends bit, so (on) the next play our coach called a quarterback roll. When the ends bit I rolled around and I was able to score,” Kanehailua said describing his first touchdown.

Nanakuli’s second touchdown of the game came on a 60-yard, five-play drive early in the fourth quarter. Kanehailua found a wide-open Brandon Sevellino in the left seam for a 21-yard touchdown connection.

Kaimuki got back in the game with less than two minutes to play with a five-yard hookup between quarterback Tevita Lino and Nixon Siona. A personal foul was assessed against the Golden Hawks after the play, moving the spot of the extra point to the one-yard line. Dathan Lloyd ran in the two-point conversion to knot things up at 14 apiece.

The Golden Hawks host winless Anuenue next Friday while Kaimuki takes on Kalani (3-2) at Kaiser stadium on Saturday.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].




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