HHSAA Football
Rough Riders beat Wolfpack; on to semifinals


Sat, Nov 10, 2018 @ Roosevelt [ 6:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
P5 (4-5-0) 0 0 7 07
ROOS (12-2-0) 7 7 0 620
Sky Ogata 128 yd
Rocket Uechi 75 yd 1 TD
Keneke Gusman 57 yd 1 TD
Evan Ramirez 31 yd

MAKIKI - The dream season continues for Roosevelt football.

The Rough Riders, who won their first league title in 61 seasons, got a key interception by Joshua Maikui in the closing minutes to stop a potential game-tying or go-ahead drive to deny PAC-5, 20-7, Saturday night in the opening round of the First Hawaiian Bank Division II state football tournament.

Roosevelt (12-1) will play at defending state champion Lahainaluna (9-0) in a semifinal 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner advances to the championship Nov. 24 at Aloha Stadium.

"It's another big game (coming up)," Roosevelt coach Kui Kahooilihala said. "We know Lahaina's No. 1. It's going to be a challenge for us. Postseason for us is ‘Us against the world,' proving things out there in the OIA. Our kids worked real hard during the offseason. They know what our football program is about."

About 1,000 fans at Ticky Vaconcellos Stadium watched the Rough Riders make their first appearance in a state tournament since 2007 instead of attending Roosevelt alumnus Peter Hernandez's concert at Aloha Stadium. At least one family member was at the game instead of the concert: PAC-5 coach Kip Botelho is Bruno Mars' stepfather.

The game did not have the fireworks that was on display at the concert. Still, it was a nail-biting in the closing minutes.

Trailing 14-7 with four minutes, 52 seconds left in the game, the Wolfpack (4-5) took over from their 26 and marched - with the aid of defensive holding and personal foul penalties - to the Rough Riders' 35.  On second-and-10, Maikui literally stole a pass from Rocket Uechi out of a PAC-5 receiver's hands at the Roosevelt 27 with 3:35 left in the contest. Roosevelt not only ran off most of the remaining time, but scored for good measure.

Keneke Gusman (35) scored the final touchdown of the game for the Rough Riders. Greg Yamamoto | SL    Purchase image

"Honestly, I just seen the ball and I thought, ‘This is my chance to get the ball back to my offense,'" said Maikui, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound sophomore. "I'm pretty sure I took it from him."

It was a bang-bang play and difficult to see what actually happened. It appeared the receiver caught the ball, but Maikui stuck his hands in pulled the ball out.

"We have to look at the film," Botelho said. "It's close. I'll always say, ‘Yeah, tie goes to the receiver,' but you have to go with the call."

Roosevelt milked most of the 3:35 left, first by converting a third down into a first down and also with a 45-yard pass from QB Sky Ogata to Isaac Kaleikau to the PAC-5 20. The drive ended with Keneke Gusman's 7-yard TD run with 48 seconds left.

The Wolfpack managed three plays in their little time left, but the last two plays of the game lost yards.

Ironically, the Rough Riders' auspicious start turned out inauspicious. Roosevelt took the opening kickoff from its 25 and nine plays later scored on Mitchel Camacho's 29-yard run with 8:51 in the first quarter. But after Camacho scored, he went down to the ground even though he wasn't touched on the play. He suffered an apparent injury to his ribs and was eventually taken to the hospital by an on-site ambulance.

"From what we heard, he bruised his ribs," Kahooilihala said. "I'm going to go an see him, but that's all we got from our trainers and team doctor."

Kahooilihala said the injury came eight plays earlier after Camacho rushed for 15 yards.

"The first play he took a hit," Kahooilihala said. "He said he felt something down there (pointing to the ribs)…He wanted to go back in, so went back in but after that score, he went down and felt weak."

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].




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