Vikings Rally Over Waiakea For League Title Opportunity
In the first 24 minutes of Friday’s semifinal matchup between Waiakea and Hilo, the game resembled a low-scoring, frustrating battle with plenty of missed opportunities.
The last 24? Big plays and lots of scoring.
Hilo’s Donovan Kelley hauled in a 52-yard pass from Drew Kell and broke away from the Waiakea defense to score the game winning touchdown with 2:16 remaining in the game, giving the Vikings a 21-20 win over Waiakea at Wong Stadium. The win advanced Hilo to next Saturday’s Division I championship game against the winner of Saturday’s contest between Kea`au and Kealakehe.
Kelley, a talented sophomore who has played several skill positions this year, broke out after several consecutive quiet performances. He had 86 yards rushing, including a run of over 60 yards that set up the team’s first touchdown of the game, a four-yard rushing score from Makana Josue-Ma’a to give Hilo a 7-0 lead with 7:31 left in the first half.
His biggest play of the season, however, was the game winning touchdown catch. Quarterback Kell lobbed a deep pass down the left sideline for Kelley, who had one-on-one coverage from Lono Leasure-Lucas. The defensive back froze and looked up to see where the ball was in the air. Before he knew it, the ball was behind him and so was Kelley, who raced the rest of the way to the endzone.
Hilo (7-2, 5-2) lost their halftime lead early in the third quarter when the Warriors strung together some big plays of their own. Quarterback Kean Wong turned what was supposed to be a screen play, and ran all over the field, turning right, then left, and eventually going to the grass 70 yards later to get the Warriors into the red zone. Several plays lter. Wong fired his first touchdown pass to favorite receiver Dayton Kiko from 14 yards out, tying the game at seven with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter.
On Waiakea’s next drive, Wong scrambled out of the pocket to his right and bought enough time to find Kiko once again, this time from 22 yards away to give the Warriors their first lead of the game, a 14-7 advantage with 2:38 left in the third period.
Hilo fought back to tie the game with 5:36 to play in the game when Josue-Ma’a, who had not scored a touchdown all season, ran his second of the night in from six yards away. The junior, who also starts on the defensive line, added a pair of sacks to his stat line to match his two offensive scores. He had 14 yards rushing on four carries.
With the game even at 14, Waiakea quickly got right back down the field. After a couple of completions to Kiko got the Warriors deep in Viking territory, Wong found Kiko one more time. The 24-yard touchdown pass dropped right in Kiko’s lap as he streaked by over the middle of the field. Waiakea took a 20-14 lead, but Kiko’s missed extra point, which was shanked into his own blockers, held the score there with 4:12 remaining.
Fast forward to Kelley’s touchdown reception. The extra point from Keola Miller turned out to be the difference. The right-footed kicker hit all three of his point-after tries, which proved to be enough of an edge for the Vikings to advance.
After a slow first half for each quarterback, both Wong and Kell improved their numbers in the third and fourth quarters. Kell finished completing 11-of-24 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown and interception, while Wong went 12-of-32 for the Warriors for 172 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.
Wong also led his team with 115 yards rushing on 16 carries. His top receiving target, Kiko, hauled in seven passes for 136 yards.
Waiakea 0 0 14 6 – 20
Hilo 0 7 0 14 – 21
2nd (7:31) – HILO: Makana Josue-Ma`a 4 yd TD run (Keola Miller XPT good)
3rd (7:41) – WAIAKEA: Kean Wong 14 yd TD pass to Dayton Kiko (Kiko XPT good)
3rd (2:38) – WAIAKEA: Wong 22 yd TD pass to Kiko (Kiko XPT good)
4th (5:36) – HILO: Josue-Ma`a 6 yd TD run (Miller XPT good)
4th (4:12) – WAIAKEA: Wong 24 yd TD pass to Kiko (Kiko XPT no good)
4th (2:16) – HILO: Drew Kell 52 yd TD pass to Donovan Kelley (Miller XPT good)
Honoka`a 78, Ka`u 0
For a second straight week, the Trojans (2-6, 2-6 BIIF) played under the mercy rule after trailing 59-0 at halftime. Honoka’a improved to 6-4 overall, 5-3 in league play, and 1-2 in the second round of the season.