KALIHI — Running back Kanoa Shannon rushed for 113 yards and one touchdown, and Kalamaku Kuewa had two interceptions, returning one for a TD, as No. 7 Kamehameha downed No. 9 Farrington, 34-15, in a non-league Kalihi neighborhood rivalry Friday to spoil the debut of the Edward 'Skippa' Diaz Stadium at Henry Kusunoki Field.
Farrington's new stadium is named after its legendary coach Diaz, who led the Governors to their last Oahu Interscholastic Association title in 1990. Before the stadium was built, the field was already named for Kusunoki, who coached at Farrington from 1941–1949, leading the school to its first Interscholastic League of Honolulu crown in 1944 with the help of legendary running back Wally Yonamine.
Shannon accounted for more than half of the Warriors' 208 yards rushing, benefitting from the read-option led by quarterback Boogie Yam, who had 33 yards rushing himself.
"The O-line (offensive line) is everything," Yam said of the Warriors' success running the ball. "They held it down up front, opening up the holes. The running backs saw the holes, they made the reads and our receivers, they blocked. It was a whole offensive effort."
The Governors, meanwhile, struggled with their assignments as evident by their inability to contain the run.
"It was just fundamentals for us," Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. "It's funny because we run the ROP (read option) ourselves, but it's just a matter of playing assignment football."
Yam and Shannon clicked on the first scoring drive of the game. Starting from their own 19, the Warriors ran left and right on the Govs' defense. Yam kept the ball four times for 27 yards rushing, and Shannon had the ball four times for 68 yards, including his 21-yard scoring run to put Kamehameha ahead, 7-0, with 11:52 in the second period.
The Warriors' second scoring drive was shorter but much the same, this time with Reino Bush doing the damage with three carries for 28 yards, including a 10-yard TD run that made it 14-0 with 8:09 in the half. The drive included a 25-yard pass from Yam to Brock Ai.
A blocked punt by Titan Alii Pesamino set up Farrington's first score. Taking over from the Warriors' 30, the Govs scored with 49 second left in the half when Stephen Eter faked a dive to the running back and threw a swing-out pass to Reginal Faamatau for a 10-yard TD. Farrington faked a PAT and the ensuing pass was incomplete to keep the score 14-6.
Farrington recovered an onside kick, but the half ended with Kuewa's first interception of the game.
Farrington pulled to 14-9 on a 28-yard field goal by Chris Afe-Alaivanu with 5:12 in the third quarter. But Kamehameha wasted littled time, as Yam hit Onyx Freitas on a 53-yard TD pass to make it 21-9 with 3:21 in the third. It was one of Yam's better passes of the night — he was just 4 of 15 for 83 yards.
"It felt real good," Yam said of the TD, "especially after struggling in the first half."
Yam missed on his first six passes of the game.
The game started escaping the Govs when Kuewa returned an interception 71 yards off of Afe-Alaivanu early in the fourth period to make it 27-9.
Kamehameha increased its lead to 34-9 after a 43-yard TD run by Braden Akima.
Farrington scored late on Afe-Alaivanu's 56-yard TD pass to Tymon Paleafei. A failed 2-point pass play kept the score 34-15.
Second-year coach Abu Maafala was pleased with his team's effort.
"Just all around, we played hard, we played with a team effort," Maafala said. "I'm very proud of our guys."
Okimoto said his team needs to a lot of work, especially with the OIA season opener a week away at Campbell in a crossover game. Farrington (0-1) is in the OIA Red and the Sabers (0-1) are in the OIA Blue. But Okimoto also understands that historically, Farrington has been a slow-starting team.
"I gave them an example," Okimoto said. "In 2013, we began 0-2 Nobody expected us to be in the OIA Championship Game and we made the OIA Championship Game (losing to Mililani). Our kids, we usually don't start off well. So (improving each week) is the goal every season."
The Warriors (1-0) still have another tuneup when they travel to Maui to play Division II state champion Lahainaluna next Saturday.
Note: Mary Diaz, wife of ‘Skippa,' Henry Kusunoki Jr., son of the man of the same name and long-time trainer George Kamau took part in the coin toss.
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