Late Touchdown Strikes Push KS-Hawai`i Past Kalaheo
A pair of late touchdown passes by Micah Kanehailua led the Kamehameha-Hawai`i Warriors to a gritty 26-23 victory over Kalaheo on a rainy Saturday night at Pai`ea Stadium.
The junior quarterback threw a pair of interceptions in the third quarter but found his composure in the game’s crucial moments.
With his team trailing 16-12 in the fourth quarter, Kanehailua engineered a 10 play, 68 yard drive that led to a touchdown. That score nearly didn’t happen as he faced a 4th-and-14 at the Kalaheo 24 yard line. On that play, he faced a pass rusher coming at him unblocked. Kanehailua shuffled away from the rusher, rolled to his right, and found Alapaki Iaea in the middle of the end zone to put the Warriors back on top by the score of 19-16.
Kalaheo (0-1) took the lead back on their next drive when Makena Johnston capped off a long drive with a 11-yard touchdown run, giving the Mustangs a 23-19 lead with under two minutes to play.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Kanehailua found Logan Uyetake on the left sideline for what normally would be a play that goes out of bounds to stop the clock. Instead, Uyetake spun away from his defender and raced down the field for the 55-yard game winning score, putting KS-Hawai`i back on top 26-23 with 1:27 left.
Kanehailua was 10-of-21 passing for 154 yards with both fourth quarter touchdowns and a pair of third quarter interceptions.
Warriors’ head coach Dan Lyons admitted after the game that his quarterback wasn’t in rhythm early, largely in part to his focus on running the football. That changed once he started dialing up passing plays.
“Once we got him in rhythm more of the way I think we want to play, ultimately, I think he got better,” said Lyons, who is also calling the offensive plays this season. “That touchdown (to Iaea) was a big play. He almost got sacked. He had to move, got a nice pass, didn’t lose his composure, and he hung in there.”
Kalaheo had a chance to orchestrate one final drive, but quarterback Jack Bell was picked off on a 3rd-and-15 play by Kekolu DeRamos to seal the deal.
That interception was one of seven turnovers that the Mustangs coughed up on the game. The first two, fumbles by Bell, came in the team’s first three plays. Bell’s second fumble led to a first quarter touchdown run of three yards by Ina Teofilo to put the Warriors up 6-0.
Kalaheo tied the game on the next play when Johnston took an option handoff and streaked through the middle of the field for a 65-yard score. The Warriors came back on the next drive and fed Teofilo the football on seven of its nine plays. The senior workhorse cashed in with a one-yard TD run to put Kamehameha-Hawai`i back ahead 12-6.
Kalaheo settled down for its first true drive of the game, a 12 play, 62 yard journey that was capped off by a James Geren 32 yard field goal to cut KSH’s lead in half. The drive was aided by a key pass interference penalty on the Warriors that helped the Mustangs extend its drive.
The third quarter was marred by turnovers on both ends. Kalaheo fumbled the football away for the fourth time to end cut their first drive short, but the Warriors gave it back when Johnston picked off Kanehailua on the very next play. The interception led to an eight-yard touchdown run by Kawika Cavnaugh to give Kalaheo a 16-12 third quarter lead.
The touchdown drive that led to Kanehailua’s pass to Iaea was started by a key defensive play. Paka Davis sacked Bell and knocked the football free from his hands. Malcolm Baptiste recovered the fumble at the 32 yard line to get Kamehameha-Hawai`i started on its key drive.
There were nine turnovers in the game, seven of them committed by the Mustangs.
Lyons was pleased with his team’s effort after the win. “I just liked the fact that they just kept competing. I kinda felt that a lot of things didn’t go our way, and in that respect, you can get down easy. But, they just kept fighting, kept fighting, kept fighting.”
Johnston was the game’s top rusher, racking up 107 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries for Kalaheo. KSH’s Teofilo also had two scores, picking up 72 yards on 14 rushes.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i opens the season with a 1-0 record. They take on King Kekaulike in a controlled scrimmage next Saturday at 1 p.m. Kalaheo visits Roosevelt next Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
In the only other game of the day, Hawai`i Preparatory Academy blanked Waiakea 34-0 on the HPA campus.
Kalaheo 6 3 7 7 – 23
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 6 6 0 14 – 26
1st: KSH – Ina Teofilo 3 yd TD run (pass failed)
1st: KHEO – Makena Johnston 65 yd TD run (kick failed)
2nd: KSH – Teofilo 1 yd TD run (run failed)
2nd: KHEO – James Geren 32 yd FG
3rd: KHEO – Kawika Cavnaugh 8 yd TD run (Geren XPT good)
4th: KSH – Micah Kanehailua 24 yd TD pass to Alapaki Iaea (Logan Uyetake XPT good)
4th: KHEO – Johnston 11 yd TD run (Geren XPT good)
4th: KSH – Kanehaulua 55 yd TD pass to Uyetake (Uyetake XPT good)
Waiakea 0 0 0 0 – 0
Hawai`i Preparatory Academy 21 6 7 0 – 34