Konawaena’s Walters Defends 91-8 Win over Ka`u
Ever since Konawaena’s 91-8 win over Ka`u was announced on radio, newspaper, and online outlets, one question has been growing around the island.
Did Konawaena run up the score against the Trojans?
According to ScoringLive.com, the 91 points scored by Konawaena was the most scored in the state since 1923. That’s when Kamehameha defeated Honolulu Military Academy 104-0 in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu game.
Wildcats’ head coach Cliff Walters addressed the topic on Tuesday’s edition of “The Josh Pacheco Show” on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com. He explained that while the 91 points was excessive and unintentional, there was no intent to run up the point total on the Trojans.
“It (the score) got away on me kinda quick,” explained Walters. “Ninety points is out of the question.”
A punt return touchdown that wasn’t supposed to be was one example of how the score got away from the coaching staff.
“I had a punt returner in the game and I said ‘fair catch it so we don’t return it.’ He has to leave the game because his knee pads aren’t long enough. The coaches rushed somebody in, and the kid that they rushed in runs for a 60-yard return for a touchdown.”
Walters used stats and usage of some of his top players to explain how he tried to keep the game from getting out of hand. The second year Konawaena coach noted that he sat a couple of his players, including top receiver Domonic Morris. He also dialed back the amount of times his quarterback, Lii Karratti, threw the football.
“Normally, he passes between 24 and 30 passes a game,” said Walters. “He passed 12 times. Of the 12 times he passed, nine were completions. Of those nine completions, seven of them were touchdown passes.”
Karratti threw two hitch passes in the third quarter to rookie receivers and did not play in the fourth quarter, according to Walters.
Walters also noted that his team only ran seven offensive plays in the second half, and his team only gained four first downs in the game.
In a story that appeared on HawaiiPrepWorld.com, former Ka’u head coach Greg Rush said “this was a payback event,” in describing why the game played out the way it did. When asked to clarify his comments by writer Paul Honda, Rush responded by saying “don’t want to go there, but it’s not hard to read between the lines if you look at the ‘official’ won-loss records.”
When asked about those comments, Walters responded by saying that he didn’t know what there would be payback for. “I came in to Konawaena in May of last year. I wasn’t around when Kona lost to Ka`u. So, I had nothing to pay back. Why would I do that? There was no intention to run up a score and score a bunch of points. I don’t even know why he would say ‘payback’ when I wasn’t even there.”
The Big Island Interscholastic Federation does have a mercy rule that is in place for all league contests. The mercy rule states that at the start of the second half, a running clock will be instituted when the point margin reaches 35 points. Even if the losing team gets back under 35 points, the running clock does not stop. Konawaena had scored 35 points by the end of the first quarter, and had 70 by halftime.
The Wildcats, ranked ninth in the state by voters in the Star-Advertiser Top Ten poll, were supposed to face Kohala this weekend. The Cowboys announced weeks ago that they were forfeiting the rest of the games this season because they could not safely field a team to play. That means the Wildcats essentially have a “bye” this week before hosting Hawaii Preparatory Academy on October 26.