Goal-Line Defense Gives Hilo Narrow Victory
Defense saved the day.
Hilo High School’s defense made two stops on fourth-and-goal from inside the five yard line with a minute play, securing a 21-14 win over Waiakea High School Friday night in front of a packed house at Dr. Francis Wong Stadium in Hilo.
The Vikings defense had to bail out their offense after miscues kept them from running down most of the clock. After Waiakea quarterback Kean Wong threw an interception to Kamu Patnaude, Hilo got the ball at their own seven yard line. Hilo struggled to move the football, hurting themselves with a botched snap and several penalties. Punter Keola Miller had to hurry his kick out of the endzone, giving Waiakea great field position with less than three minutes to go, starting at the Hilo 37 yard line.
After picking up several first downs, Waiakea got down to the 10 yard line and had a first and goal. Several short runs kept them short of the end zone, eventually setting up a fourth-and-goal from outside of the five yard line. Wong tried to run the ball to the left side of the field, but was shut down at the four. It appeared that Hilo had sealed victory, but the officials threw a flag for face mask contact against the Vikings, which gave Waiakea one more chance from the two yard line. Devin Preston got the carry and was knocked backwards as he headed toward the right side of the line, wrapping up the victory for the Vikings.
As much as defense played an important role in the second half, the methodical nature of each offense stood out in the opening half. Waiakea won the opening toss and took the ball to start the game. They didn’t waste time punching the ball into the end zone, as preston ran the ball in from two yards out to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 8:22 remaining in the quarter.
Hilo (3-2, 2-1 BIIF) answered on the ensuing drive with a Drew Kell three-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion play failed, and HIlo trailed 7-6 with 2:10 remaining in the first quarter.
Kell got his second rushing touchdown of the night late in the second quarter when he faked an inside handoff and dove at the goal line from four yards out to give Hilo a 14-7 lead with 4:53 left. They converted the two-point conversion when Kell found Isi Holani in the back of the end zone.
A short time later, Wong showed off his spectacular arm with a picture-perfect touchdown pass to Dayton Kiko, who raced past two Hilo defenders to haul in the 68-yard bomb to tie the game at 14 with 2:57 left. Waiakea tried to connect on the same play prior to the touchdown, but Kiko dropped the ball. After a timeout was called, the Warriors tried it again, and it worked.
After switching up looks on offense in the first half, David Baldwin’s Vikings stayed primarily in a shotgun formation in the second half, allowing more time for Kell to throw the football when the play called for it. The passing game led Hilo to the lead with 5:20 left in the third quarter when Kell found Jacob Genegabus for his only catch of the game, a nine-yard touchdown pass in front of the goal line that the senior ran in the rest of the way for the go-ahead score, giving Hilo a 21-14 lead and victory.
Waiakea (2-4, 1-2) struggled to find success in the running game, which usually is their bread-and-butter. Wong tallied 89 yards on 11 carries, but the workhorse of the group, junior running back Devin Preston, only managed to get 14 yards on 16 carries. The numbers would have only looked slightly better if not for two fumbles, one that lost over 10 yards when he dropped a pitch from Wong, and another one that Hilo recovered near the line of scrimmage.
Wong completed two passes out of 10 attempts for 73 yards with the Kiko touchdown and an interception. His counterpart, Drew Kell, completed 13-for-24 attempts for 168 yards with the third quarter touchdown and a second half interception by Ian McKee. Kell also led his team in rushing with 95 yards on 19 carries and the two short touchdown runs.
Both teams have completed the first half of Division I play in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation. Unlike Division II, there is no first and second half champion, but the halfway point also marks the last three league games to determine seeding in the BIIF Division I semi-finals.
The Vikings “visit” Wong Stadium and Kea`au High School next Friday night at 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com. The Warriors will also play at Wong Stadium as they host Kealakehe in a Saturday matinee at 3:00 p.m.
Waiakea 7 7 0 0 – 14
Hilo 6 8 7 0 – 21
1st (8:22) – Waiakea: Devin Preston 2 yd TD run (Dayton Kiko XPT good)
1st (2:10) – Hilo: Drew Kell 3 yd TD run (2-PT pass failed)
2nd (4:53) – Hilo: Kell 4 yd TD run (Kell pass to Holani good)
2nd (2:57) – Waiakea: Kean Wong 68 yd TD pass to Dayton Kiko (Kiko XPT good)
3rd (5:20) – Hilo: Kell 9 yd TD pass to Jacob Genegabus (Keola Miller XPT good)
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 43, Ka`u 0
The Warriors improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in BIIF Division II play with a victory on the road against the Trojans (0-4, 0-4 BIIF). Kamehameha-Hawai`i visits Konawaena next Saturday in a game that will likely determine the first round champion in Division II. The game, which will be played at Yates Field, can be heard on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com