Open Mic
Saints remain undefeated, but far from perfect

With a 4-0 showing through the first month of the 2018 prep football season, the Saint Francis Saints currently own the best record in the entire state.

But that doesn't mean that they are playing like the best team in the land.

In its latest win over Pearl City on Aug. 31, Saint Francis outgained the Chargers by nearly three football fields, 419 to 138 - yet the scoreboard showed that the Saints won by just two scores, 27-13.

The biggest reason for the close score was in the Saints' ability to continually get penalized. They may have held Pearl City to just 138 yards of total offense, but they consistently shot themselves in the foot and committed 16 penalties for 161 yards.

Saint Francis also got two touchdown passes called back because of a foul, one of which led to a bad snap on a field goal attempt that led to a 25-yard loss.

The Saints also turned the ball over three times in the fourth quarter, all of which happened while holding on to a 27-7 lead.

"All I know is we have a lot of work to do," said Saint Francis coach Kip Akana. "We had too many penalties. We can't be turning the ball over if you expect to go far in the (postseason)."

The miscues was even more evident when Saint Francis lost its top offensive player to an injury late in the first quarter. Running back Jonan "Bubbah" Aina-Chaves, who entered the game leading the state in rushing with 653 yards through three games, suffered a right ankle sprain on a long run down the left sideline and had to be carted off the field.

With their top running threat on the sideline, the Saints went to the skies as senior quarterback Bubba Akana attempted a career-high 31 pass attempts. He completed just 13 passes, but many went for big gains as he finished with two TD passes for a career-high 261 yards. The senior QB also could have had better numbers if it weren't for a handful of dropped passes in the end zone.

Saint Francis senior QB Bubba Akana threw for a career-high 261 yards in the Saints' win over Pearl City. R-Sam Joseph | Special to SL    Purchase image

Shepherd Kekahuna, who also returned an interception 52 yards for the Saints' first score, was the top receiving threat for the Saints with three catches for a career-high 101 yards. Alden Rosa and Makana Poole were also key with TD catches of 11 and 30 yards respectively.

However, the passing game wasn't without its miscues either. Akana threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one of which happened with under a minute to play in regulation. The Chargers capitalized on the error as they added the final points of the game with 31.4 seconds left in the contest.

"For the last couple of years, we've tried to not be so predictable and one-dimensional on offense with the run," said coach Akana. "The passing game stepped up, but there were bad throws, dropped passes, and a few touchdowns were called back because of penalties. It was an OK performance."

Fortunately, Saint Francis will have a week off before taking on its next opponent. Not only be a week to make corrections, but it will also be an extra week for Aina-Chaves to recover.

As of Tuesday night, coach Akana said Aina-Chaves' status for the Saints' next matchup against league opponent PAC-5 on Sept. 15 is "questionable." Regardless if his RB is able to go against the Wolfpack, coach Akana said that his team has to play a lot smarter when they take the field against the only ILH team on their schedule.

"Our goal is to play mistake free with or without our top offensive player. If we do that, we have a chance every game."

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].



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