Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
Hilo pulls away from Leilehua to reach D1 final


  



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


Final 1 2 3 4 T
LEI (10-3-0) 0 0 7 29
HILO (14-0-0) 3 6 3 719
Pass: Kyan Miyasato (HILO) 206 yd 2 TD
Rush: Jamil Vereen (LEI) 124 yd
Rec: Kyler Aguiar (HILO) 88 yd 1 TD

HILO, Hawaii—No. 5 and top-seeded Hilo weathered the rain and the elements to pull away from No. 9 Leilehua, 19-9, in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I Football State Championships semifinals at Wong Stadium Saturday.

"It feels great. It was a heartbreaker last year. Nothing is guaranteed. There were times when they could've let the rope go, but they're tested and respond well to adversity. These guys got themselves ready early in the off season. Time and time again, they respond and I'm happy for them and the seniors," Hilo coach Kaeo Drummondo said.

The Vikings advance to the Division I title game for the third year in a row and will face Iolani, who handled Moanalua, 35-9 on the same night in the second game of a triple header on Nov. 29 at Aloha Stadium.

"We saw enough of them during the year where we're familiar with them. That coaching staff is going to be ready to go. That's automatic. Alignment and assignment, as much as you can be ready for fundamental football. You have to be ready because their coaching staff will have them ready and we'll have to do the same," Drummondo said of the Raiders.

Kyan Miyasato passed for 206 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception to help Hilo pick up their 13th win in a row.

"You preach to the kids to trust the process and the system. Everything is a progression. The way you start your career and end it is a progression. The way you start the season and the way you end it is a progression. We're trying to take care of the little things and let the big things take care of themselves. It's about going out there playing free and executing," Drummondo said.

Kyler Aguiar caught a game-high three passes for 86 yards, including a 73-yard score to put the Vikings up, 9-0.

"They were huge. They were like that all year for us. We'd love to be a ball control team, but just so happen this year big plays got us to where we want to go and same thing happened tonight," Drummondo said.

Keanu Keolanui made a 44-yard field goal for the Vikings' first points and later hit a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Leilehua QB Kekoa Turangan floated a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jayzon Ramos on a fourth-and-goal to trail, 12-7 in the third quarter. Turangan ended the night with 84 yards on 7-of-20 passing and a pick.

Jamil Vereen had a game-high 124 rushing yards on 18 carries and had a 44-yard run on the second play from scrimmage on Leilehua's first offensive series and a 49-yard run in the second quarter. 

"You can't replicate the way he runs. He runs tough. To replicate the way Vereen runs, it's tough, he got loose on us and we got loose in our run fits, but that comes with the territory. We told our guys, they're good and they're going to have good plays and you have to come back from adversity. They (the defense) were able to limit them enough and stop them in the red zone," Drummondo said.

The Mules tacked on a safety after Miyasato was called for intentional grounding in the end zone to pull within three, 12-9 with 8:13 remaining in the fourth.

After Kainalu Lewis' strip sack and fumble recovery, three plays later, the Vikings padded the lead with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Miyasato to Kilohana Haasenritter who finished with 55 receiving yards.

"The one Kilo (Haasenritter) caught, broke a tackle, turns it up and scores doesn't seal the game but it puts us in a comfortable position to go up double digits," Drummondo said of a 10-point cushion.

Hilo forced Leilehua to go three and out and turned to Lyle Silva who churned out 86 yards on 19 carries, including a 34-yard run deep into Leilehua territory to eventually seal the game.

The Mules defeated the Vikings, 26-25 in the opening round of the state tournament back in 2016 and was seeking their first state title appearance since 2008.

Leilehua dismantled Baldwin, 34-7, to reach the semifinals and ends their season with a 10-3 overall record.



Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].


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