Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
McKinley edges Kalaheo for first win of season


  



Sat, Sep 7, 2019 @ Kailua [ 6:00 pm ]


Final 1 2 3 4 T
MCK (1-5-0) 0 0 0 66
KHEO (0-6-0) 0 0 0 33
Pass: I. Akiu (KHEO) 118 yd 0 TD
Rush: J. Neufeldt (KHEO) 84 yd 0 TD
Rec: B. Johnson (KHEO) 64 yd 0 TD

KAILUA — This one had all the dramatics.

McKinley fullback Khert Vincent-Saing punched in the game-winning touchdown with 88 seconds left in the game as the Tigers rallied past Kalaheo, 6-3, in an OIA Division-II battle between two winless teams Saturday night at Alex Kane Stadium.

The Mustangs had a chance to tie the game on the final play of regulation, but Adam "Kainoa" Ferguson's 55-yard field goal attempt was well short of the uprights and the Tigers (1-4 overall, 1-3 league) walked away with their first victory of the season.

"The hung in there and they came back and played solid and made some plays and forced Kalaheo to rushed some things they weren't used to," McKinley coach Pat Silva said of his team's effort. "We were fortunate to make some stops. It was a good team effort."

Indeed.

Vincent-Saing scored the Tigers' first offensive TD of the season from one yard out, but it was a group effort for much of the entire night.

McKinley, who averaged just 2.4 yards a carry and rushed for 73 yards as a team against the Mustangs, started the game off in an I-formation set that included a wingback and a tight end. When that couldn't generate points, the Tigers mixed in a spread offense with backup quarterback Kaena Leopoldo.

McKinley backup QB Kaena Leopoldo took most of the snaps on the Tigers' game-winning drive. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

The Tigers started their game-winning drive with 4:18 left in the game on their own 20 after a touchback. On the first play of the series, Leopoldo found Joab Cruz open on a short out route to the right side. Cruz then tiptoed the sideline and turned the short pass play into a 33-yard completion, which was McKinley's longest play from scrimmage.

After two incompletions, an encroachment penalty and a sack, Leopoldo threw a 6-yard pass to Cruz, who held on after taking a big hit on the third-down reception. Two-way player Zion Williams caught a 7-yard pass on the next play before Leopoldo scrambled up the middle for a 16-yard gain to take McKinley into the red zone.

Jayden Victorino then showcased his 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame with a physical catch-and-run on the following play with a 13-yard reception that set up the go-ahead score one play later.

"It was good that we had that drive and we were lucky to make things happen and guys made plays," said Silva, who also is the offensive coordinator.

On switching to a spread offense, Silva said: "It came down to execution. We didn't do a good job. We got to a point to where now we had to do something different so we went to a spread. Good thing we were able to put that drive together and punch it in. It's a crazy game."

Leopoldo and starting signal-caller Alexandria Buchanan combined for 111 yards on 8-for-13 passing. Safety Quincy Owens-Barnes was the team's leading rusher with 26 yards on four misdirection handoffs. Owens-Barnes also added a 22-yard reception.

McKinley's Quincy Owens-Barnes made plays on the ground and in the passing game.

For the Mustangs (0-5 overall, 0-4 OIA D2), the biggest culprit in their loss was penalties. Kalaheo was flagged for 86 yards on 12 penalties, with five of those involving some form of an illegal block.

On a dropped snap on fourth down late in the game, Kalaheo punter Jack Lemonds called his own number and scampered all the way from the Kalaheo 47 to inside of the McKinley 25-yard line. However, an illegal blindside block negated the first down and McKinley was able to piece together the game-winning drive on the following series.

“I think the victory that we gave them was down in the last stretch of the game,” said Kalaheo coach Darrell Poole. “As young as our team is, I think we got a little bit complacent and thought we had the game in the bag and we were making some mental mistakes down the stretch. We were both battling to get a win. This is a tough loss for my boys.”

On the penalties, Poole said: “I got to go back and look at our film because there was some crucial calls I think that were drive killers. Couple plays that was in the game that turned the tide in positioning on the field and how our play was going. I’ll look at the film and I’ll submit it and see because I think some of the blocks they were saying were illegal blocks, but they were legal blocks, but I got to watch the film and I’ll submit it and see if I get an answer on that.”

The Mustangs’ lone scoring drive was also noteworthy.

After McKinley punter Tyler Sheindlin had a 73-yard punt and an unsportsmanlike call against Kalaheo, the Mustangs began their drive at their own 1-yard line with 3:17 to play in the third quarter. A pair of personal fouls against the Tigers and a 30-yard reception by Bryson Johnson helped set up Ferguson’s 25-yard field goal with 8:43 left in regulation.

Johnson led the effort in the receiving game with three receptions for 64 yards while Jordan Neufeldt rushed for a game-high 84 yards on 17 carries. Alan Aber spearheaded the Kalaheo defense and had a hand in all three of the Mustangs’ sacks.



Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].


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