Seven Takeaways Propel Konawaena to DII Championship
On a rare off night for Konawaena’s passing attack, Konawaena’s defense and running game stepped up, leading Konawaena to a 32-28 victory over Kamehameha-Hawai`i. The win sealed the 2012 Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II championship and a state tournament berth for the Wildcats.
Konawaena (9-4, 9-1) forced seven Kamehameha-Hawai`i turnovers. Four of them were interceptions thrown by Warrior quarterback Micah Kanehailua, while the other three were lost fumbles by Ina Teofilo.
The Wildcats didn’t always capitalize on those mistakes, however. Teofilo fumbled the ball away on the first play of the game, which was recovered by Mikey Rabara. Konawaena would eventually drive down to their opponent’s one-yard line. Lii Karratti was stopped on a third down run by Ka`ua Aganus for no gain, and the junior defensive back would pick the quarterback off on the next play to kill Kona’s scoring threat.
Konawaena would then drive on a seven-play, 96 yard trek down the field, capped off by Kanehailua’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Shaun Kagawa to take a 7-0 lead with 6:00 left in the opening quarter.
The high-powered Konawaena offense would answer immediately. On the first play from scrimmage following the score, Wildcat running back John Kamoku took a simple sweep run to the left and burst down the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown run. Konawaena trailed 7-6 with 5:40 left in the quarter after John Replogle missed the extra point.
Early in the second quarter, Kanehailua’s deflected pass at the line of scrimmage ended up in the hands of Konawaena linebacker Bubba Ellis-Noa, who returned the ball back to the Warrior one-yard line. On the next play, Karratti took a quick snap and pushed into the end zone to give his Wildcats a 12-6 lead with 9:19 remaining in the first half.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (10-3, 7-3) used their next drive to build back the confidence of lead running back Teofilo, who had already fumbled the ball away twice by this point in the game. Teofilo carried the Warriors down the field and, eventually, into the end zone with a 12-yard touchdown run to give his team a 14-12 lead with 6:12 left in the half. Teofilo finished the game with 122 yards rushing and three lost fumbles on 22 carries.
It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to respond. Konawaena replaced Karratti at quarterback with Kamoku, and the former Kealakehe High School quarterback engineered a run-dominated scoring drive that ended with his three-yard touchdown run. Konawaena pushed back up to an 18-14 lead with 4:26 before halftime.
It had appeared that Konawaena had started the second half with a three-and-out on the offensive end, giving Kamehameha-Hawai`i a chance to re-take the lead early in the quarter. But, on fourth-and-12, Kamoku decided to run to his left instead of punting the football. The team’s regular punter picked up 13 yards and an important first down. Later, after Kamoku converted another fourth down in Warriors’ terrirtory, Karratti dumped off a 15-yard screen pass to Kamoku, which was run into the end zone for a touchdown to extend Konawaena’s lead to 25-14.
Moments later, Kanehailua threw a deep ball up for grabs down the left side of the field. Kagawa brought it down and completed a 60-yard touchdown play. Kanehailua’s two-point conversion pass to Adri Castro made the score 25-22 with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats, knowing that they could lose by 12 points and still win the league championship, ultimately sealed the title on a long four minute drive that started at their own three yard line. Bubba Ellis-Noa finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to push Konawaena’s lead to 32-22 with 6:10 left in the game.
Even though the championship had pretty much been decided, the game hadn’t, and the Warriors needed to come up with a big comeback to satisfy their home crowd on the school’s first ever homecoming night. The Warriors went on a long drive of their own, capped off with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Kanehailua to Lopez with ten seconds remaining to trim the Wildcats lead to 32-28. Konawaena recovered the onside kick and sealed the victory.
The ninth-ranked Wildcats were able to win despite a quiet performance from Karratti. The junior quarterback completed just six of 18 passes for 89 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Kamoku and Ellis-Noa led a strong rushing attack that produced 298 yards for Konawaena. For one full series and a few other plays, head coach Cliff Walters decided to use Kamoku at the quarterback position and let him lead the rushing attack while Karratti lined up as a receiver.
The seven turnovers by Kamehameha-Hawai`i spoiled a good offensive performance for Kanehailua. Despite completing three of his first four passes, he finished 13-of-21 for 256 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. His favorite target, Shaun Kagawa caught four passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
Konawaena will open the First Hawaiian Bank / HHSAA Division II Football Championships as the tournament’s third seed. They will host Oahu Interscholastic Association White Division runner-up Nanakulu on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. from Julian R. Yates Field in Kealakekua. The winner will face second seeded Lahainaluna on November 17 at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.
Konawaena 6 12 7 7 – 32
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 7 7 8 6
1st (6:00) – KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAI`I: Micah Kanehailua 31 yd TD pass to Shaun Kagawa (Logan Uyetake XPT good)
1st (5:40) – KONAWAENA: John Kamoku 69 yd TD run (Replogle XPT no good)
2nd (9:19) – KONAWAENA: Lii Karratti 1 yd TD run (2PT pass no good)
2nd (6:12) – KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAI`I: Faaolaina Teofilo 12 yd TD run (Uyetake XPT good)
2nd (4:26) – KONAWAENA: Kamoku 3 yd TD run (2PT pass no good)
3rd (7:51) – KONAWAENA: Karratti 15 yd TD pass to Kamoku (Replogle XPT good)
3rd (6:19) – KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAI`I: Kanehailua 60 yd TD pass to Kagawa (Kanehailua 2PT pass to Castro good)
4th (6:10) – KONAWAENA: Bubba Ellis-Noa 1 yd TD run (Replogle XPT good)
4th (:10) – KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAI`I: Kanehailua 12 yd TD pass to Lopez (2PT pass no good)