HHSAA Football
Raiders race past Na Menehune to D1 title game


Sat, Nov 23, 2019 @ Moanalua [ 7:00 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
IOL(10-3-0) 7 14 0 1435
MOA(10-2-0) 0 0 3 69
RJ Javar 383 yd 1 TD
Jonah Chong 168 yd 2 TD
RJ Javar 65 yd
Brock Hedani 90 yd 2 TD
Jansen York 168 yd 1 TD

SALT LAKE — Iolani flipped the script on Moanalua and came away with five interceptions as the Raiders raced past Na Menehune, 35-9, Saturday evening in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships Division I semifinal round. 

The 10th-ranked Raiders (7-2 ILH, 10-2 overall) will make their 11th Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championship game appearance when they take on No. 5 Hilo for the Division I title Friday, Nov. 29 at Aloha Stadium.

Going into Saturday's matchup, the Moanalua (8-0 OIA, 10-2 overall) defense's 30 interceptions on the year had nearly tripled Iolani's total of just 11, but senior defensive backs Micah Shikada and Meki Pei each nabbed a pair of takeaways and sophomore Stirling Sakashita added another as quarterback Jonah Chong finished with a clean slate of zero giveaways.

All but one of the Raiders' picks happened deep in Iolani territory to keep Na Menehune out of the end zone for three and a half quarters, while the remaining interception was recycled into points off of Pei's 28-yard pick-6 to close out the scoring with under a minute and a half left in the contest.

Although an entire month spanned between games, Iolani's Meki Pei (23) has now come up big with a defensive touchdown in back-to-back contests. Sylvia Lee | SL    Purchase image

"When he scrambled out, we practiced all week to stay in coverage. I had to stay outside, stay low, and then ball came and just had to make most of the play," Shikada said, whose first interception at the Iolani 8 yard line stunted an 8-play, 76-yard Na Menehune drive as time winded down on the first half. "Just got to play assignment ball and trust the guy next to us will do their job too."

While Moanalua fell short of the end zone on a handful of drives deep in enemy territory, the Raiders had no problem punching the ball in for six points as Brock Hedani found paydirt on runs of 1 and 17 yards in addition to a 7-yard reception from Chong. The senior running back finished with 90 rushing yards on 24 carries.

Both teams' seasons came full circle after one point was the difference when the Raiders and Na Menehune met nearly three and a half months ago in an Oahu Interscholastic Association-Interscholastic League of Honolulu interleague opener that saw Moanalua walk off with the win on a game-winning field goal as time expired.

Iolani finished as runner-up in the 2016 HHSAA Division I state championship game, the first year of going to the three-tier state tournament format.

Hilo will be making its third-straight D1 championship game appearance after winning it all in 2017 and finishing second a season ago.

More to come.

Reach Spencer Honda at [email protected].




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