Defense Pushes Konawaena to First Round Championship
The Konawaena Wildcats’ calling card this season has been their big-play offense. On Saturday night, Kamehameha-Hawai`i kept that offense mostly silent.
The Wildcat defense would step up in a big way, however, by accounting for all nine second half points as the Konawaena defeated the Warriors 16-3 to claim the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s Division II first-round championship.
Leading 7-3 at halftime, Konawaena’s first drive sputtered after five plays. John Kamoku’s 60-yard punt would pin the Warriors at their own five yard line to start their first drive of the half. After two wildcat plays by Shaun Kagawa that lost a combined four yards, the Warriors gave Kagawa one more carry on third down as a running back, and Makoa Chapa wouldn’t let him out of the end zone, resulting in a safety. That score extended Konawaena’s lead to 9-3 with 7:18 remaining in the third quarter.
Both offenses continued to trade posessions with little success throughout the second half. The Wildcat defense once again stood tall midway through the fourth quarter when Kawika Kealoha sacked Brandon Howes at the 37 yard line. Howes lost the football, which was recovered by Bubba Ellis-Noa and taken in for a Konawaena touchdown, pushing the Wildcats to a 16-3 lead with 6:12 remaining.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (7-1, 4-1 BIIF) was pressured into four turnovers on the night. Howes threw an interception on their last offensive play of the game to Kenan Gaspar and fumbled the football away twice in the second half. Faaolaina Teofilo fumbled the ball away on the Warriors third drive of the game. Kawika Kealoha, Mikey Rabara, and Ellis-Noa each recovered fumbles. Kealoha was also credited for a sack on the game.
Konawaena’s (4-4, 4-1) offense did have its opportunities to put points up early in the game, but was slowed by penalties and sacks. On their first drive, they started in Warrior territory and got inside their 20 yard line before being pushed back by a pair of sacks and a penalty. They went for it on fourth-and-33 and Lii Karratti threw an incomplete pass to end the drive.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i scored the first points of the game on a Logan Uyetake 34-yard field goal with 3:52 remaining in the first half. On the ensuing kickoff, Dishon Cho returned it 50 yards to the Warriors’ 40 yard line. Two Ellis-Noa first down runs got them into the red zone, and on the sixth play of that drive, Kamoku scored a seven-yard touchdown with :34 left in the half to give Konawaena a 7-3 lead.
The Wildcats gathered only 95 yards of total offense on the game. Sensational junior quarterback Lii Karratti was held down to one of his quietest performances of the season, completing three of his 16 passing attempts for 24 yards. He also ran for negative 15 yards on four carries.
Two of his passes were caught by Chase Takaki, accumulating 25 yards. The other pass was caught by Domonic Morris. Kamoku was the leading rusher for Konawaena with 41 yards on 15 carries. Ellis-Noa had 37 yards on five carries.
Brandon Howes, making his second consecutive start at quarterback for Kamehameha-Hawai`i, went 7-for-13 for 99 yards and an interception. He also had two rushing yards on six carries and a 12 yard completion from Shaun Kagawa. Kagawa had 40 yards ruushing and a 32 yard catch. Faaolaina Teofilo led the team in rushing with 44 yards on 15 carries.
Konawaena, Kamehameha-Hawai`i, and Honoka`a all finished the first round of the season with 4-1 league records. The determining tiebreaker used by the BIIF was point differential in games between the three teams. The Wildcats needed to win by at least six points to secure the first round victory.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 0 3 0 0 – 3
Konawaena 0 7 2 7 – 16
2nd (3:52) – KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAII: Logan Uyetake 34-yard field goal
2nd (:34) – KONAWAENA: John Kamoku 7-yard TD run (John Replogle XPT good)
3rd (7:18) – KONAWAENA: Makoa Chapa Safety
3th (6:12) – KONAWAENA: Bubba Ellis-Noa 37-yard fumble recovery for touchdown (Replogle XPT good)
Kealakehe 26, Waiakea 12
Kealakehe scored 20 unanswered points after trailing 6-0 in the first quarter to improve to 4-0 in league play and 6-1 overall. Kainoa Kipapa’s two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter put the game away.
Waiakea (2-5, 1-3) opened up with a touchdown pass from Kean Wong to Dayton Kiko, but couldn’t score until the two hooked up again for the final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter.