OIA Football
Defense paves way for Kalani in rout of Kalaheo


  



Sat, Aug 10, 2019 @ Kaiser [ 6:00 pm ]


Final 1 2 3 4 OT
KHEO (0-3-0) 0 0 0 8 - 8
KLNI (2-1-0) 7 22 0 0 - 29
Pass: L. Lim (KLNI) 155 yd 2 TD  Rush: N. Balangitao (KLNI) 57 yd 2 TD  Rec: D. Cortez (KLNI) 63 yd 1 TD

HAWAII KAI — Kalani did all of its scoring in the first half, including a 22-point second quarter, on its way to a one-sided 29-8 win over Kalaheo in Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II football at Kaiser Stadium Saturday night.

Logan Lim threw a pair of touchdown passes and Nathaniel Balangitao found the end zone twice on short runs to lead the Falcons (2-0 overall, 1-0 league) past the Mustangs (0-2, 0-1) in the first game of the regular season for both teams.

After opening the year with a 35-0 rout of Kohala in a non-league game last weekend, Kalani has allowed just eight points in as many quarters.

"Our team puts in a lot of time — coaches and players — and scheming and just the work we put in in the weight room and on the field," Falcons coach Scott Melemai said. "They work really hard and it shows on the field with how we play. I'm very proud of them."

Melemai's defense held Kalaheo to just 103 yards of total offense and got interceptions from Titan Bringas and Rayce Manriki.

The Falcons also won the field position battle for much of the night. They benefitted from errant snaps over the head of punter Jack Lemonds on three separate occasions.

"Field position, the defense stepped up and the punt that we had were really helpful," Melemai said.

Kalani running back Nathaniel Balangitao (right) rushed for 57 yards with a pair of 2-yard runs for touchdowns. Greg Yamamoto | SL    Purchase image

Kalani got off to a little bit of a slow start. It turned it over on downs on its opening possession, but got back-to-back three-and-outs from its defense. Manriki had a 24-yard punt return after Kalaheo's second punt to give his team possession just across midfield.

The Falcons got on the board on the eighth play of the drive, when Lim found a wide-open Dillon Cortez down the left sideline for a 30-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-28.

Five plays into the second quarter, Balangitao punched in a 2-yard TD run on a third-and-goal, but the PAT was blocked.

Kalaheo's ensuing possession ended with a 37-yard loss on 4th-and-11 after the snap sailed over Lemonds head and down to the 2-yard line. Four plays later — on fourth-and-goal — Balangitao ran behind the right side of the offensive line for another 2-yard TD. Kevin Tabuchi tacked on the extra point to make it a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

A little more than a minute later, a third errant punt snap to Lemonds bounced out of the back of the end zone and three plays after that, Lim connected with Noah Ah Sam for a 38-yard TD pass down the right sideline on another third down.

Kalani led 29-0 at halftime.

Melemai attributed the offense's early struggles to inexperience.

"I think us having school — we're still young, we're still inexperienced — so just coming out and playing, it takes us time to get going it felt like today, but once the quarterback started to see things and our running back started to run harder, then it felt like we were doing good," Melemai said.

Kalaheo's lone score came one play into the fourth quarter, when Bryson Johnson scored on a 2-yard run to cap a seven-play drive that began at the Falcons' 33-yard line following a Jonah Lene fumble recovery. Lene ran in to the two-point conversion to close out the scoring.

The Mustangs were held to 1.3 yards per rush and totaled just 34 for the game. They were 2 of 13 on third downs, but 2 for 3 on fourth downs. Nine of their 10 total first downs came after halftime.

Melemai was especially pleased with the job his defense did in containing 6-foot-3, 230-pound tight end/linebacker Jordan Neufelt.

"I think defensively we covered down on him pretty well. He did still had a couple catches and a couple plays, but I think we were able to kind of minimize his importance on the team," Melemai said.

The previous time the teams met, Kalaheo rallied to a 22-7 win over Kalani in the final game for both teams last season.

Both teams continue league play Friday. Kalani will visit Nanakuli, while Kalaheo will face Kaimuki at Farrington's Skippa Diaz Stadium.



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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