OIA Football
Kailua rallies by Castle to claim playoff berth


Sat, Oct 5, 2019 @ Kailua [ 6:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
CAST (2-7-0) 14 7 0 021
KAIL (4-7-0) 6 6 14 026
Cameron Friel 100 yd 3 TD
Kila Kaio 37 yd
Samson Rasay 190 yd 1 TD
Raynen Ho Mook 44 yd 1 TD

KAILUA — Samson Rasay came through on his word.

Rasay rushed for 190 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns to help Kailua rally to a 26-21 homecoming win over visiting Castle at Alex Kane Stadium Saturday night.

The Surfriders (4-5 overall, 3-2 league) scored 20 unanswered points and pitched a second-half shutout to clinch a spot in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I tournament.

The Knights (2-6, 2-4) were dealt their third consecutive loss and were eliminated from postseason contention.

Rasay, who is listed as a wide receiver on the team roster, recorded season-highs in both carries and rushing yards. His second trip to the end zone Saturday — a 5-yard TD run late in the third quarter — proved to be the game-winning score.

"We put the load of the game on a senior, four-year varsity player," Wong said of the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Rasay. "He said, ‘coach, I got you,' and he just told me that from the beginning, when we were at the locker room, and he sure did get me. I didn't know what he ran for, but 190 (yards) that's something pretty special right there."

The soft-spoken Rasay passed the credit to his teammates.

"I felt like it was a team effort overall, but I couldn't take 11 guys on by myself," Rasay said. "This feels really good. Words cannot explain the kind of emotions that are running through my head right now, I'm just so happy to be a part of this team and to help this team win."

Kailua opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game. Three plays after Rasay ripped off a 27-yard run, Cameron Friel connected with Koalii Kohatsu for a 16-yard touchdown.

On the scoring play, Friel bobbled the shotgun snap from center before gathering it and lofting a pass to the right corner, where Kohatsu pulled down the over-the-shoulder catch just inside the back line of the end zone. The PAT no good, however.

Castle answered with a nine-play, 81-yard drive that included six rushes — all of them by Kala Estocado-Matthews, including a 1-yard TD run to even the score with 6:23 left in the first quarter. Cheydan Costa added the extra point to put the Knights ahead, 7-6.

A high snap over the head of Friel two plays into Kailua's drive led to a punt two plays later and a short field for Castle, who took over possession at the Kailua 33-yard line. Matthews picked up 32 yards on first down to set-up his own 1-yard TD run behind right tackle on first-and-goal.

A few minutes into the second quarter, the Knights capitalized on a special teams miscue by Kailua. Kela Harbottle covered up a loose football on a muffed Surfriders' punt return to give the Castle offense the ball back just outside of the red zone.

Estocado-Matthews carried on five straight plays after Harbottle's recovery — including a 6-yard run to move the chain on fourth-and-5. He capped the drive with a 14-yard TD run up the middle one play later. Costa's PAT extended Castle's lead to 21-6 with 7:31 left in the first half.

The Knights used multiple offensive formations and three different players at quarterback, including Estocado-Matthews, a wide receiver on the roster. He had 124 rushing yards by his 15th carry — his third TD of the first half — but was held to 50 yards on his next 13 rushes.

Wong said it was a matter of his players settling their nerves early on.

"I think the game in itself it was too big of a stage at that point — you know, a lot of emotions going through at homecoming — but the main emotion is the game that's being played on the football field," Wong said. "Once we got rid of that, we settled down and I'm glad it happened the way it did and we were able to recuperate faster than (the Knights) were able to adjust to what we were doing. We adjusted and we just stuck to the game plan and nothing changed, it was just the technique and guys just getting out of position and they got themselves back into position and they played Kailua football."

Kailua's defense forced a three-and-out on Castle's next possession and the offense put together a 10-play, 63-yard drive that included two fourth-down conversions. On fourth-and-5 from the Knights 20, Friel completed a 13-yard pass to Kohatsu to set-up goal-to-go. Four plays later, Friel connected with Rasay for a 4-yard TD pass along the left sideline.

"It was a wheel route. We noticed that there was nobody on the outside, so we just decided to take a shot and it worked out in the end," Rasay said of the scoring play, which came with 21 seconds left in the second quarter.

Wong credited Friel and the rest of the offense for their execution of a well-rehearsed situation.

"We work that every week — gotta get points before the half — and we run that drill every week, day in and day out to get down either a field goal or a (touchdown), but I felt that we needed the touchdown and that was a big boost for us to get that six, instead of three points at the end of the half," Wong said.

The PAT was no good and Castle's remained 21-12 at halftime.

After a Castle three-and-out to open the second half, Kailua orchestrated a 10-play, 81-yard drive that culminated with Friel's 18-yard TD pass to Raynen Ho Mook. The extra point, by Maka Roberts, was good to cut the Castle lead to 21-19 midway through the third quarter.

Three plays after the score, Hastings Yee Hoy intercepted an Estocado-Matthew pass to give Kailua the ball at the Castle 30-yard line.

The Surfriders eventually recycled the turnover into the go-ahead score on Rasay's 5-yard TD run on third-and-goal with 59.6 seconds left in the third quarter.

"The goal after every turnover is to make something out of it and to score, so it felt good to do that," Rasay said.

Castle was forced to punt and turned it over on downs on its next two drives, but got the ball back with 1:33 to play deep in Kailua territory due to a low punt snap that resulted in a 16-yard loss on fourth-and-26 for the Surfriders.

The Knights started at the Kailua 23-yard line, but Kila Kaio threw four straight incompletions to turn it over on downs. His pass on fourth down was in the direction of wideout Jonah Figueroa near the goal line, but it was broken up by Kalai Cardin-Kiaha and Lydell Romero.

Kailua got the ball back with 1:04 left on the clock and took two knees to run out the clock to secure its first playoff berth since the 2017 season.

"I mean, the word that I use is ‘battle-tested,' so at least I know if my team is in a hole or against adversity, that they're going to scratch and claw their way back out of that hole and they proved that tonight and they kept it together, kept their composure and they didn't fold," Wong said.

Rasay, along with wide receiver Kamryn Kahoonei, are the only two players on the team to have played in Kailua's last postseason appearance.

"It's just Kailua football," Rasay said of Saturday's come-from-behind win. "We worked all this entire week and we just put everything on the line. We knew what was at stake in this game."

The Surfriders are assured of at least a fourth-place finish in the OIA D1 standings. They can earn the third seed in the four-team tournament with a win at Waipahu (3-5 overall, 3-2 league) next Saturday.

Castle concludes the season Friday, when it hosts No. 9 Iolani (7-2) Friday.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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