Defense carries No. 8 Govs past No. 10 Mules


Fri, Aug 3, 2018 @ Leilehua [ 7:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 OT
FARR (2-10-0) 7 7 7 14 - 35
LEI (8-3-0) 0 6 10 0 - 16
Pass: M. Nichols (LEI) 196 yd 1 TD  Rush: R. Millare (FARR) 43 yd 0 TD  Rec: R. Millare (FARR) 80 yd 1 TD

WAHIAWA — No. 8 Farrington leaned on its defense en route to a 35-16 season-opening win over No. 10 Leilehua in a non-league game at Hugh Yoshida Stadium Friday night.

The Open-Division Governors (1-0) held the Division-I Mules (0-1) to 159 yards of total offense, including minus-37 rushing in their first game under coach Daniel Sanchez.

Farrington posted 247 yards of total offense, but 77 of those came on one play — a throw-short, run-long touchdown pass from Richard "Rjay" Tagataese to Raymond Millare just 47 seconds into the game.

On defense, the Govs racked up nine tackles for losses and five sacks to go with three takeaways.

"I feel we did real good," said senior defensive lineman Cameron Faletufuga, whose 21-yard scoop-and-score gave his team a 14-0 lead with 2:13 left in the second quarter.

On the play, the Mules had just crossed midfield and were facing a third and 11, but quarterback Max Nichols was unable to find the handle on a snap over his head and Faletufuga was Johnny-on-the-spot.

"I was supposed to hit the edge hard and I did that and I saw that it was a bad snap and the quarterback," Faletufuga recalled. "It looked like he was going to get it, so I tried to really read it out — like if he was going to pick it up, I was going to sack him, but if not I was going to get the ball — and he didn't get the ball so I just picked it up and I just took it home."

Faletufuga finished with three tackles — all of them for losses — one sack, a forced fumble and his fumble recovery.

"We set the tone early on, (but) it's just the little mistakes, like the penalties — blocking from the back, offsides, roughing the kicker, (pass interference) — that really killed us a lot even on defense, but overall I think we did real good. We just gotta work on the little things," Faletufuga said.

Farrington freshman QB Rjay Tagataese (left) connected with Selau Kalani (right) on one of his two passing TDs on the night. Kalani also closed out the scoring with a 2-yard rushing score late in the game. Sylvia Lee | SL    Purchase image

The teams combined for 29 flags and 246 penalty yards. Farrington alone was flagged 18 times for 158 yards.

"Defensively, I'm happy, but we just gotta be more disciplined and cut out the penalties. We can't play in this Open Division and make those mistakes," Sanchez said.

Leilehua got on the board just before halftime on Jeremy Evans' 25-yard touchdown reception from Nichols, but the snap on the extra point attempt was botched.

The Mules got to within 14-9 after Akoni Tom-Makue converted a 25-yard field goal with 6:54 left in the third quarter.

However, Farrington started with a short field on its ensuing possession after a 64-yard kickoff return by Tre'shawn Kepa. Four plays later — on fourth-and-7 — Tagataese completed a short pass in the right flat to running back Selau Kalani, who slipped a few would-be tackles en route to the 32-yard score.

Andrew Elijah Juan Cabuco tacked on the PAT to make the score 21-9.

Leilehua again cut it to a one-score game after Nichols broke free down the left sideline for a 39-yard TD run with 3:40 left in the third quarter.

One play into the fourth quarter, TJ Paleafei bullied his way in for a 1-yard Farrington touchdown to stretch the lead back to 28-16.

On the Mules first play of their ensuing drive, Nichols was strip-sacked by Faletufuga and Chase Sedeno recovered the loose ball for the Govs. Six plays later, Kalani closed out the scoring with his 2-yard TD run with 8:36 left.

"First half, I think the defense played well. Second half, we got sloppy defensively, but I think we found our rhythm and we did a better job in the second half offensively," Sanchez said.

Farrington played without starting quarterback Chris Afe-Alaivanu, who is out for the early part of the season with broken fingers in his right (throwing) hand. In his absence, Tagataese, a freshman, threw for 149 yards on 6-of-13 passing with one interception.

"He got a lot of help. We tried to manage the game for him," Sanchez said of Tagataese. "I think he's still learning. There were a couple of plays that he should have just taken what they gave him, but he'll learn off of that and get better."

Six different ball carriers combined to rush for 98 yards on 38 carries. Millare rushed six times for 43 yards and Kalani carried a game-high 14 times for 43 yards.

Nichols finished 18-of-38 passing for 196 yards with one interception. Evans led all receivers with seven grabs for 74 yards.

Defensive lineman Justus Rogers-Makainai and linebacker Samsen Tanuvasa made seven tackles apiece for Farrington. Rogers-Makainai had four tackles for losses and three sacks and defensive back Sapati Laloulu intercepted a pass in the win.

Vitale Afoa made a game-high eight tackles and Jashawn Wakefield posted seven stops to lead the Mules defensively.

Leilehua played without senior running back/cornerback James McGary, its leading rusher a season ago. McGary's right arm/hand was in a cast on the sideline.

The Governors led at halftime, 14-6. They avenged a 33-6 loss to the Mules in their previous meeting on Sept. 29 of last year.

Farrington will travel to No. 3 Mililani next Saturday to open the Oahu Interscholastic Association regular season.

Leilehua next plays Friday, when it visits Kailua.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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