Fast Start Lifts Kealakehe to Division I Title
Last Saturday, the Kealakehe Waveriders put up 20 unanswered points to take a commanding lead over Hilo.
A week later, the Waveriders did the exact same thing to effortlessly reach a familiar ending to the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season: a championship victory.
The Waveriders defeated Hilo 40-22 in the resumption of the league’s Division I championship game Saturday at Waverider Stadium. The win clinched Kealakehe’s spot in the First Hawaiian Bank / Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I Football Championships.
A tsunami warning forced officials to suspend the game on October 27 with :58.8 remaining in the first half following a Hilo touchdown with Kealakehe leading 20-14. The Vikings tried an onside kick to resume the game, but the ball bounced out of bounds to give Kealakehe good field position at their own 35.
Two straight first down runs by quarterback Jordan Cristobal drove the Waveriders down to the Hilo 42 yard line with twelve seconds remaining. On the final play of the first half, Cristobal rolled around to his right and back to the left before throwing a ball up into the air for Vincent Paogofie. Hilo defensive back Kurtis Suzuki played tight against Paogofie before stopped to watch the ball float in the air. The ball went over his head and into Paogofie’s hands, and the touchdown gave Kealakehe a 27-14 lead.
After a minute of changeover time, Hilo would once again kick the ball back off to Kealakehe. A dejected Vikings defense returned to the field with Kealakehe starting their drive at their own nine yard line. Kealakehe immediately picked up three straight first down runs, including a 47 yard sprint by Lennox Jones. David Fangupo finished the five play drive off with an eight-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 33-14 with 10:14 remaining in the third quarter.
The Vikings would struggle with bad field position on their next two drives, starting at their own five and ten yard lines with no success. Meanwhile, Kealakehe took advantage of great fielld position early in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Starting at Hilo’s 37 yard line, Kealakehe worked into the red zone, where Fangupo finished off another scoring drive with a two-yard touchdown run to make the score 40-14.
Hilo would eventually get on the board with a 14 play, 92 yard drive that finished with a Drew Kell one-yard touchdown run, his third of the championship. After finding Jacob Genegabus for the two-point conversion, Hilo’s deficit was 18 at 40-22 with 2:27 left. They were not able to recover the onside kick, and Kealakehe ran out the clock for the victory.
Kealakehe had 149 yards rushing before the game was suspended last week, and they added 216 more rushing yards in the game’s conclusion. Lennox Jones had 92 rushing yards on six carries Saturday, putting his game total at 159 yards on 13 overall carries with a touchdown. Cristobal eclipsed the century mark in rushing yards with 84 more yards Saturday, pushing his total up to 119 with a rushing touchdown last week.
Also crossing the century mark in rushing was Kell, who finished with 104 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. Through the air, he completed 14 of his 35 passing attempts for 167 yards with two interceptions.
The Waveriders will host the Farrington Governors on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Waverider Stadium. Farrington became the third team out of the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s Red Division to reach the state tournament after their 52-26 win over Leilehua Saturday in the league’s third place game. The state tournament game will be broadcast on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com
Kealakehe will make their eighth trip to the state tournament. They have not won a game in each of their first seven tries.
Hilo 0 14 0 8 – 22
Kealakehe 20 7 6 7 – 40
1st (8:24) – KEALAKEHE: Jordan Cristobal 13 yd TD run (Lennox Jones XPT no good)
1st (:34.6) – KEALAKEHE: Jones 5 yd TD run (2PT run good)
2nd (7:30) – KEALAKEHE: Cristobal 15 yd TD pass to Raymond Yadao (2PT run failed)
2nd (5:38) – HILO: Drew Kell 9 yd TD run (Keola Miller XPT good)
2nd (:15.8) – HILO: Kell 1 yd TD run (Miller XPT good)
2nd (:00) – KEALAKEHE: Cristobal 42 yd TD pass to Vincent Paogofic (Jones XPT good)
3rd (10:14) – KEALAKEHE: David Fangupo 8 yd TD run (2PT run failed)
4th (9:44) – KEALAKEHE: Fangupo 2 yd TD run (Jones XPT good)
4th (2:27) – HILO: Kell 1 yd TD run (Kell 2PT pass to Genegabus good)