Sabers rally past Warriors to stay unbeaten


Fri, Sep 7, 2018 @ Campbell [ 7:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
KSK(4-6-0) 0 15 0 722
CAMP(8-5-0) 0 7 9 1026
Sky Lactaoen 128 yd 1 TD
Reino Bush 99 yd 1 TD

EWA BEACH — This one was a team win in every sense.

No. 5 Campbell blew an early lead, but rallied with 19 consecutive second-half points to remain undefeated with a 26-22 win over sixth-ranked Kamehameha Friday night.

The Sabers improved to 4-0 on the season before a home crowd of about 1,000 fans.

The Warriors fell to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Open Division standings.

"First and foremost I just want to thank God," Campbell wide receiver Titus Mokiao-Atimalala said. "We're happy. It wasn't what we wanted it to be, but we came out with the W. We had some mistakes on both sides of the ball, but I'm just happy that we came out with the win."

The Sabers posted 392 yards of total offense in the victory, but got off to a bit of a slow start. It was their running game that got things going in the second half.

Running back Sky Lactaoen carried just 13 times but rushed for 101 of his 128 yards after halftime — including a 4-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to cut Kamehameha's lead to 15-13.

Campbell coach Darren Johnson credited the offensive coaching staff for their halftime adjustments.

"We started to see some things we could do. Our (offensive coordinator) Kawe (Johnson) saw some things, the o-line coaches made good adjustments and we started to block things a little better — we missed some here and there, but (Kamehameha) has a great defense, they can play and hats off to them because they're coached up," Johnson said.  "Our kids got some hats on hats, we got some good yards with our running backs. We got two or three good running backs that run hard all the time, so they saw some spots and hit ‘em and did some good things."

The Sabers took the lead for good on a 21-yard Jadon Arola field goal with 2:14 left in the third quarter.

Both scoring drives started with short fields for Campbell due to errant long snaps on Kamehameha punts.

"We say that you gotta win three phases. Tonight we turned around (and) played good D, got our offense going and our special teams, they played better. It was a better week for them than the past weeks. We made some changes and some moves and our guys are doing a real good job in adjusting," Johnson said.

Arola converted a 36-yard field goal with 6:42 left to play to extend the lead to 19-15.

"Man, he's got to be the best field goal kicker in the league right now — knock on wood," Johnson said. "This is his first year playing football. One of our o-line coaches (Randy White) is our soccer coach and he talked this guy into coming out and he works hard every day. He lifts, he runs, he puts in time and he's getting better and better and we throw him on the field and say, ‘come through for us.' "

The Warriors were forced to punt on their ensuing possession and the Sabers made it a two-score advantage on Kaniala Kalaola's 38-yard touchdown pass to Mokiao-Atimalala with 2:59 remaining.

"Kawe just told us that, ‘let's just go for the touchdown,' and the DB was playing on the inside and Kawe just told me to head-and-shoulder him at 12 yards and I did that and it was wide open and Kaniala threw a perfect pass. It was a great finish," said Mokiao-Atimalala, who finished with seven receptions for 126 yards.

After Arola tacked on the extra point, Campbell led 26-15.

Kamehameha got within 26-21 with 44 seconds left after the Sabers lost a fumble in victory formation. Kupono Blake scooped up the loose ball before pitching it back to Tiger Peterson, who finished off the 24-yard scoop-and-score.

However, the Warriors opted to kick the PAT with Preston Rezentes instead of attempting a two-point conversion — which could have potentially made it a three-point game.

RJ Tadeo recovered the ensuing onside kick for Campbell and it was able to run out the clock.

Kamehameha ran for 195 of its 295 yards of total offense. Reino Bush carried 12 times for 99 yards and scored his team's first points on a 4-yard TD run with 7:54 left in the second quarter.

Alec Serrao added eight rushes for 72 yards and Skyler Ramos had team-highs of four receptions for 59 yards. Quarterback Christmas Togiai completed 13 of his 28 pass attempts for 100 yards and was intercepted once. He also rushed for a 1-yard TD that gave the Warriors their largest lead at 15-7 with 4:41 left in the first half.

Rezentes made a 34-yard field goal that was sandwiched between the TD runs by Bush and Togiai midway through the second quarter, but he missed two other kicks from 29 and 35 yards — both of them, wide left.

After the teams played to a scoreless first quarter, Tyrese Tafai's 1-yard TD run one play into the second gave Campbell its first lead. The score was set-up by Pokii Adkins-Kupukaa's interception in the end zone off Togiai.

Jhoven Sausal and Kaiiniakapuuwai Hall-Pukahi each recorded a sack for the Sabers.

Kamehameha was just 1 of 11 on third downs and 0 of 2 on fourth downs. Ten of its 15 first downs were by rush.

"Our defense is amazing. They do a lot for us, they put us always in the right spot and we just had to finish and we're just thankful," Mokiao-Atimalala said.

The teams combined for 30 penalties for 287 yards. Campbell was flagged 17 times for 170 yards.

"Our kids are so emotional. Every play is an emotional play for them. We're learning to be more disciplined, we know we can win football games, but we gotta tone down their emotions, but we're still working on that because we come out and we overexert ourselves and we get penalties, we get things that are costly and we gotta stay basic and get the best playing out of them," Johnson said.

Both teams will face stern road tests next week. Kamehameha will visit second-ranked Kahuku Friday, while Campbell will travel to third-ranked Mililani Saturday.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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