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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Brandon Ching | ScoringLiveAugust 25, 2019, 1:10am
Sat, Aug 24, 2019 @ Castle [ 6:30 pm ]
KANEOHE — Castle scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally past Aiea, 26-16 in an Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I matchup at the Knights' field Saturday.
The Knights in the process get their first win of the season with a 1-2 record. Na Alii fell to 1-3 overall, 1-1 in the OIA.
"It feels good to head in the right direction," Castle coach John Hao said of the first win.
Chazz Tom scored two touchdowns and had 31 yards on 10 carries. Kila Kaio threw two touchdown passes and was picked off twice in the win.
"It felt really good. I got my team to push forward and play," Tom said.
Castle went with their elephant package and Tom ran it in from three yards out on a fourth-and-1 to help reclaim the lead for the Knights, 19-16 with 7:50 remaining.
Nakoa Gaspar-Takahashi recovered his second fumble on the kickoff and the Knights took over on the Aiea 27 and needed nine plays to get into the end zone as Tom took the direct snap off their elephant package to give Castle a 19-16 lead.
"Cheyden (Costa) is a great kicker. It's not like they can bring guys up. He can put it on the 2 or 3 yard line or he can kick it deep. I was trying to play the return men where they were at. It's always helpful to get the ball back somewhere in that territory and we have to capitalize on it," Hao said.
The Knights brought out their elephant package for the first time this week.
"It was about eating clock. We just practiced it this week. You could see a lot of miscommunication between the coaches and the boys. Coming this week, we're going to clean that up. It was about gaining yardage and moving the chains," Hao said.
Kaio, who filled in for Mana Kahoopii after he went down with an injury, found Kala Matthews on a fourth-and-goal for the insurance touchdown as Castle went up by two scores.
"He was excited. In the second half, everyone was around him and it was a good thing for him as it built confidence. Once he got the reads of the secondary, the ball was coming out nice and smooth, nice and quick. No matter how quick the rush is, the ball is out of his hand," Hao said of Kaio.
Aiea mounted a rally and got down to the Castle 4, but Kayson Castillo was picked off in the end zone by Kela Harbottle that sealed the game.
Gaspar-Takahashi recovered a live ball on the opening kickoff and Castle immediately got on the scoreboard on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Kaio to AJ Igafo, but Cheyden Costa missed the PAT.
Na Alii answered back on three series later as Tyla Reese Mane tacked on a 38-yard field goal.
Castle overcame a strong rushing performance from Javon Miller who had 133 yards and two touchdowns. Miller's 24-yard run helped put Aiea up, 10-6 that held up to halftime. After Tom rushed for a 2-yard score, he answered with a 36-yard run to make it, 16-12 with 1:41 left in the third quarter.
"At halftime, we had to push forward and drive harder to keep going," Tom said of the halftime message.
With 11:08 to go in the fourth quarter, Grant Suka was injured on an interception return near midfield and was transported in an ambulance, which delayed the game for over 20 minutes.
"I was trying to uplift them from what happened. They felt bad, they really did. AJ Igafo went to apologize to the guy and was in tears. It was a matter of uplifting the guys on the sideline and help them refocus," Hao said.
The Knights regained their composure and found the end zone twice in a three minute span to rally and put the game away.
Castle has time to clean up things as it hosts unbeaten Damien on Friday, Sept. 6. Aiea goes to Hugh Yoshida Stadium to take on current division leader Leilehua on the same night.
The Spartans avenged three losses to the Warriors in ILH play to capture their second straight championship.
Cowboys outlasted Roosevelt in a frantic finish to claim first-ever state crown.
Cowboys held McKinley to just three combined points in the second and third quarter.
Maryknoll turned back Damien, while Kamehameha rallied past Kahuku in Thursday's semifinals.
Rough Riders win back-and-forth affair against top-seeded Hawaii Prep.
The Monarchs and Spartans will face off for a fourth time this season in Thursday's state semis.