No. 1 Kahuku weathers the elements to top No. 4 Campbell


Sat, Sep 10, 2022 @ Campbell [ 6:30 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
Kahuku (6-1-0) 7 3 0 616
Campbell (4-2-0) 0 0 0 66

EWA BEACH — A torrential downpour before the game set the stage for visiting Kahuku Saturday night.

The top-ranked Red Raiders overcame swampy field conditions and won the battle in the trenches to defeat No. 4 Campbell, 16-6, in an OIA Open Division contest before a crowd of about 2,000 fans.

Kahuku, the reigning state champion, extended its winning streak to 15 games as it improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in league play.

Senior quarterback Waika Crawford completed 19 of 27 passes for 200 yards to lead the Red Raiders offensively while the defense racked up six sacks and one interception to hold the Sabers (3-2, 1-2) to just 78 yards of total offense.

Running backs Vaaimalae Fonoti and Clyde Taulapapa each carried the ball 12 times and scored a touchdown as the duo combined for 71 rushing yards.

"Both teams were slipping and sliding all night long, snaps wasn't too good, ball was wet, couldn't throw as much, but when we needed to make the plays, our boys stepped up and made the plays," said Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho.

"Games like this comes down to the trenches and that's where we want it and that's how we finished the game."

The muddy conditions drew a lot of the memories for the Red Raiders, who got field turf installed on their home field prior to the start of the season.

"Growing up at our field and even playing games at Laie Park, there's not really grass over there so we're always in the mud," said senior linebacker Leonard Ah You, who had two sacks, three quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.

It was a perfect storm of events for Kahuku as its defense was able to hold Campbell QB Jaron-Keawe Sagapolutele to a season-low 72 passing yards with no scores through the air. He also forced a deep pass in the fourth quarter that was pulled down by Aiden Manutai.

Sione Pasi came up big with back-to-back sacks to end the third quarter while Kitione Nakauciri and Liona Lefau also recorded quarterback takedowns.

The Red Raiders come up with a strip sack against Campbell QB Jaron-Keawe Sagapolutele on a muddy Saturday night. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

"Our defense, everyone is dogs out there. We just do our thing," said Ah You.

Kahuku wasted no time putting points on the board to take the early lead, scoring on its first possession after forcing a three-and-out on defense to start the game. A 12-yard draw play by Fonoti helped convert third-and-11 and passes of 14 and 24 yards to Kaimana Carvalho got the Red Raiders down the field to set up Fonoti's 5-yard TD around left end. Zaden Mariteragi's PAT made the score 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

Neither team got anything going the rest of the first half, trading fumbles at one point. The only thing that Kahuku could muster was a 33-yard field goal by Mariteragi just before the ending of the second quarter to give the Red Raiders a 10-point advantage at the break.

The Red Raiders' first drive of the second half got into the red zone, but it ultimately stalled thanks to a strong defensive stand by the Sabers defense.

Kahuku's final points of the night came on a scoring drive that was set up by Manutai's INT near midfield. The Red Raiders then drove 50 yards in eight plays before Taulapapa broke through for an 8-yard TD.

"That was huge for us," said Crawford. "I kept telling my O-line when I got into the huddle, just give us a push and we'll score. That's what we did."

The Sabers were able to find the end zone with 2:56 remaining in regulation on Sagapolutele's 4-yard scramble on fourth down. The 2-point pass failed however and Kahuku recovered the ensuing kickoff to help ice the game.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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