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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveAugust 21, 2022, 12:23am
Sat, Aug 20, 2022 @ Kahuku [ 6:30 pm ]
KAHUKU — There was an air of brotherly love for the top-ranked Kahuku football team Saturday night.
Kaimana "Mana" Carvalho provided it right off the bat for the Red Raiders in their 41-6 win over No. 13 Waianae with his 77-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff before a crowd of about 2,000 fans at Carleton E. Weimer Field.
It was the regular-season opener for both teams. Kahuku, which played without reigning All-Hawaii Offensive Player of the Year Kainoa "Kaikai" Carvalho, improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Open Division of the Oahu Interscholastic Association. Waianae fell to 1-1 and 0-1.
"There were still things that we still have to clean up, but it's early in the season,"Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho said. "Hats off to Waianae — they're big — I know coach Thom (Kaumeyer) will get them going, so they're going to be a dangerous team towards the end of the season, for sure."
But the Seariders were already down a score only 12 seconds into Saturday's contest thanks to Mana Carvalho. The sophomore fielded the kickoff at his own 23-yard line, found a seam right up the middle and went untouched on the long touchdown return.
"It was just ‘pop middle' — up the middle — and then I had to do the rest; I just saw that ball coming and I just knew I had to take it," Mana Carvalho said.
Sterling Carvalho said his nephew's touchdown return got his team off on the right foot.
"It's a blessing when you're already up seven-zero on the first play of the game, thanks to special teams and we just rode that momentum," he said.
With Kaikai Carvalho expected to miss multiple games due to the lower leg injury, his younger brother knows that he will be among those needing to shoulder more of the workload. He likens the situation to when Kaikai was out due to injury for the Pylon 7on7 Mecca 2 tournament in Arizona back in May, when the Rebel Squad team successfully defended its national title.
"That motivated me — just like Pylon, when we went up for that Mecca 2 and my brother went down and I just had to step it up — so it was just a rewind of that and it worked good," Mana Carvalho said.
Brock Fonoimoana, who made a highlight-reel play of his own with his 60-yard touchdown on a screen pass just before halftime, credited Mana Carvalho for rising to the occasion.
"Once Kaikai got injured we knew that everyone had to step up and then Mana stepped up on the first play and scored; that was a really good way to get us going," Fonoimoana said.
The Red Raiders were unable to convert on the ensuing extra point after a mishandled snap forced Mana Carvalho to scramble and he was stopped short of the end zone.
Waianae went three-and-out on its first possession and then was flagged for fair catch interference on the punt return to give Kahuku the ball at the opposing 46-yard line. Vaaimalae Fonoti punched it into the end zone from a yard out six plays later.
After the Zaden Mariteragi extra point, the Red Raiders led 13-0 with six minutes and 51 seconds left in the first quarter.
Three plays into the second stanza, Clyde Taulapapa turned on the jets with his 41-yard sprint off right tackle.
Waianae cut into the Kahuku lead with Jamal Plunkett's 5-yard touchdown run on fourth down. It took advantage of a seven-yard punt off the foot of Fonoimoana and started the possession at the Red Raiders' 35-yard line. The hosts further aided the Seariders with back-to-back encroachment penalties, including a costly one on fourth-and-5.
Sterling Carvalho lamented the infractions.
"We just gotta be a little bit more disciplined in everything that we do. They will say ‘guys were twitching,' but it doesn't matter. We don't watch the player, we watch the ball, so we'll clean that up and we cannot be making that mistake against good teams," said Carvalho, whose team was flagged 11 times for 97 yards, including four encroachment penalties.
Still, the Kahuku defense held the Seariders to 113 yards of total offense, including just 18 rushing yards. In contrast, Waianae ran for 194 yards in its season opener against Castle two weeks prior.
"We did good, but we just gotta work on some stuff: staying disciplined on the offsides and making the tackles, wrapping up," Fonoimoana said.
Fonoimoana drew cheers from the sea of red-clad fans just a few minutes after the Waianae touchdown when he emerged from a large pack of players and broke five or six tackles on a 60-yard touchdown off of a screen pass from quarterback Waika Crawford.
"I thought he went down and then they kept cheering and he was gone; I was so happy for him," said Mana Carvalho, who observed Fonoimoana's scoring play from the sideline.
The touchdown put momentum back on the side of the Red Raiders just 47 seconds before halftime.
"We're more than just Kaikai. We have weapons all over the place and Brock is an attribute to that. We know we can get the ball to his hands and we still have a lot more playmakers on the team, but we're just fortunate that Brock is one of those playmakers that, at any time, he can take it to the house," Sterling Carvalho said.
Fonoimoana, who recently announced his commitment to play at the University of Utah next year, said he was motivated by the poor punt that led to the lone score for the Seariders.
"I was kind of mad about my punt that went wide out of bounds and then from there they scored, so I knew I had to get ‘em back," he said. "I got good blocking, too; it was great blocking."
Waianae's opening drive out of the break ended with a partially-blocked punt that gave Kahuku possession at the Seariders' 33-yard line. Four plays later, Fonoti zipped his way through a big hole up the middle for a 20-yard touchdown run.
The Red Raiders closed out the scoring with 4:45 left in the third quarter on Crawford's 14-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Kingsley Ah You and his pass to Kache Kaio on the two-point conversion that followed.
Kahuku finished with 356 total yards. Crawford threw for 158 yards on 11-of-15 passing without an interception. Clyde Taulapapa ran for 101 yards on only eight carries and Fonoti added 74 yards on six attempts.
Waianae was just 1 of 10 on third downs. Four of its 10 first downs were a result of Red Raider penalties.
Both teams next play Friday; Waianae will host No. 4 Punahou (2-0) in a non-league game at Raymond Torii Field, while Kahuku will host Leilehua (0-1-1) in its third of four consecutive home games to open the season.
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