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Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Brandon Ching | ScoringLiveNovember 11, 2018, 8:43am
Sat, Nov 10, 2018 @ KS-Hawaii [ 7:00 pm ]
KEAAU, Hawaii — The ball bounced Kaimuki's way in the end.
The Bulldogs prevailed the elements to hold off Kamehameha-Hawaii, 28-27, at Paiea Stadium in the opening round of the First Hawaiian Bank Division II Football State Championships.
"These guys came out with a chip on their shoulder, they brought their best. We did enough to win, but at the same time we kept them in the game as well. We just have to be grateful for this victory," said Kaimuki coach David Tautofi, whose team last made the tournament in 2015.
The Bulldogs, the Oahu Interscholastic Association runner up, advances to the semifinals to face second-seeded Kapaa at Vidinha Stadium on Nov. 17.
"It's a blessing in disguise, we worked so hard to come so far," lineman Sama Paama said.
Kaimuki churned out 265 net rushing yards and three scores with Naomas Asuega-Fuaalaau rushing for 158 yards, Elijah Lemalu adding 97 yards, and Jonah Stephens had 61 yards.
KJ Narvaez, Pfeiffer-Kekoa, and Hunter Mulu each hounded Kaimi Like all night and each registered two sacks each.
Stephens intercepted Like's pass with 2:12 left in the fourth quarter, but a dead ball personal foul penalty pushed the Bulldogs back and they gained only five yards on the next two plays forcing a punt. Harry Lloyd dropped the snap on the punt attempt and Luke Kaniho recovered the fumble.
The Warriors found the end zone two plays later as Like threw his second touchdown pass to Izayah Chartrand-Penera, but Christopher Knell missed the extra point as KS-Hawaii trailed, 28-27 with 48 seconds left.
Paama recovered the ensuing onsides kick after a mad scramble and Kaimuki ran out the clock by taking a knee twice.
"We had miscues on specials teams costed us, but our guys played hard and Kaimuki played hard and they deserved to win," KS-Hawaii coach Dan Lyons said.
The Bulldogs managed to squeak by with the win despite losing five fumbles.
"A lot of the seesaw had to do with our own mistakes. It's more motivational for these guys and they did more than enough to get where their at and correct it for next week," Tautofi said.
Lemalu blocked the punt and Blade Pfeiffer-Kekoa scooped up the ball and returned it 25 yards to the end zone for Kaimuki's first points. The Bulldogs' offense was stagnant as six of their seven first half offensive drives resulted in turning it over on downs or giving the ball back to the Warriors.
The Warrior defense forced the Bulldogs to turn it over on downs and went on a 10-play, 79 yard drive to tie the game at 7. During that drive, Like completed a 41-yard pass to Kilohana Haasenritter to the Kaimuki 4 and Like rushed for a 1-yard gain, but was hurt after the play. Haasenritter came in, took the direct snap to the left for a 3-yard touchdown.
Spencer Macanas recovered a bad snap on the Bulldogs' 23 and on the next play, KS-Hawaii redeemed it to points as Like found Chartland-Penera to take a 14-7 lead that held until halftime.
Kaimi Like finished the night with 204 yards on 14-of-35 passing, two touchdowns, and an interception. Chartrand-Penera had six receptions for 125 yards and both of Like's touchdowns.
The Bulldogs lost 16 yards on the first play of the third quarter and three plays later on their own 44, Pfeiffer-Kekoa took a snap off a punt to gain 17 yards to extend the drive. Stephens tied the game at 14 as he punched in a 1-yard touchdown for the Bulldogs to finish a 14 play drive that started on their own 40 that took up nearly 7 minutes of clock.
"The difference was execution and slowing the game down in our minds. We came back in the second half and they finally woke up," Tautofi said.
"We came out with a different motivation and we really wanted to win," Stephens said.
Following a Warrior punt, Kaimuki got the running game going Asuega-Fualaau gained 29 yards on the first play from scrimmage and Stephens gained 22 yards to set up Lemalu's 17-yard touchdown to reclaim the lead for the Bulldogs, 20-14, but on the PAT try, the holder could not handle the snap and was tackled on the run.
"We just had to wake up and had to get used to this weather. Second half we had to play our game. Coach was preaching with us that everything starts and finishes with the line. We took pride in that and ground and pound," Paama said.
"If it wasn't for them, none of this would be possible," Stephens said as he credited the offensive line.
Siosaia Nisa opens up a running lane for Kaimuki in the first quarter.
KS-Hawaii turned it over on downs, but two plays into their drive, Kaimuki lost 15 yards on a high snap and Noah Carvalho recovered the fourth fumble of the game. The Warriors took the lead, 21-20 after Wilde Germano rushed for a 4-yard touchdown with 10:40 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs answered with a five play drive that included Lemalu ripping off a 54-yard run into the red zone. Asuega-Fualaau took the direct snap and scored on a 23-yard run and Lemalu's 2-point conversion pass to Pfeiffer-Kekoa gave Kaimuki a 7-point cushion, 28-21.
"We had some difficulties with some missed assignments and alignment issues and they found something that was working for them and they were smart enough to stick with someting that's working," Lyons said. "That's their strength, we knew it would be our speed against their size and strength and their strength won by one point."
Asuega-Fualaau lost a fumble after an 8-yard gain and KS-Hawaii's Micah Mahiai recovered the ball, but six plays later the Warriors gave it back to Kaimuki after Stephens intercepted Like's pass.
"They have been throwing the seam a lot and I jumped it," Stephens said of the interception.
Macanas, Haasenritter, Kaniho, Mahiai and Carvalho each recorded fumble recoveries and Kamuela Santa Maria led the team with 7 1/2 tackles and Kekoa Villanueva added seven tackles for the Warriors.
KS-Hawaii makes their first state tournament appearance since 2014 and ends their season at 6-3 overall.
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