Konawaena Cruises Past Waiakea to Clinch Division II Top Seed
Waiakea High School head coach Moku Pita said before Friday night’s game against Konawaena that his team needed to cut down its turnovers in order to defeat the Wildcats.
The Warriors gave the football away six times, and Konawaena capitalized with great field position and lots of scoring chances to defeat Waiakea 44-7 at Wong Stadium.
Konawaena (6-1 overall, 5-0 BIIF) clinched the top seed in the league’s Division II tournament with its sixth straight victory. The Wildcats will host the division’s last place team on Sat., Oct. 19 at Julian Yates Field.
The first of Waiakea’s six giveaways came after its defense forced a rare three-and-out on Konawaena’s offense to start the game. Kevin Medeiros’ punt bounced off of a Waiakea player and was recovered by the Wildcats.
The Wildcats drive eventually stalled in Waiakea territory, leading to a 47-yard field goal from senior kicker John Replogle to put Konawaena on top 3-0 with 6:27 remaining in the opening quarter.
Waiakea (3-5, 2-3) started its first drive with another turnover. Shane Picanco had the ball punched out of his hands and recovered by Bubba Ellis-Noa to give the Wildcats great field position at the Warriors’ 18-yard line. Three plays later, lineman Makoa Chapa took the football into the end zone from one-yard away to push the Wildcats lead to 10-0 with 5:40 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors ran just eight plays on offense in the first quarter, gaining one yard of total offense and no completions in the passing game. Quarterback Bryce Felipe was 0-for-3 in the quarter with an interception, picked off by Brandon Awa.
Replogle’s named was called often when the Wildcats offense sputtered in opponent’s territory. The senior kicker, who hit the game winner against Hawai`i Preparatory Academy last week, hit a second field goal from 45 yards away to extend the Wildcats lead to 13-0 with 11:38 left in the first half.
Felipe threw his second, and last, interception on the Warriors next drive to Evyn Yamaguchi to kill a drive that got into Wildcats’ territory. Konawaena converted the turnover into points when Howes found Luka Vartic for a 45-yard touchdown completion to extend the lead to 20 points with 5:26 remaining in the half.
Felipe was pulled after his second interception. He failed to complete a pass in four attempts. Kayed Rodrigues, who started the first four games of the season, didn’t fare much better initially. He was sacked on his first play by Eric Edmund and Makoa Chapa for a loss of nine yards. On the next snap, he threw an interception to Evyn Yamaguchi for the team’s fifth turnover.
Rodrigues would do better, however. After Konawaena failed to convert on a fourth down play near the goal line, the senior signal-caller engineered an eight play, 98-yard drive that led to a 22-yard touchdown pass to Keala Fong. Rodrigues was 4-for-4 passing on the drive.
Waiakea still trailed 20-7 with 38 seconds left on the clock, plenty of time for the Wildcats to work toward another score. On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats used a trick play to get Dishon Cho loose for a 55-yard return, setting up the offensive drive at the Warriors’ 18 yard line. The drive led to Replogle’s third made field goal, this time from 23 yards away, to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 23-7 just before halftime.
Bubba Ellis-Noa was the highlight player of the second half for Konawaena. The 5-foot-6 junior scored a pair of rushing touchdowns to add to his team’s lead. A 21-yard rushing score on the team’s first drive extended the lead to 31-7 with 9:27 to go in the third quarter.
Just over eight minutes later, Ellis-Noa capped off an eight-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run to give the Wildcats a 37-7 lead late in the third period. He had 79 yards rushing on 14 carries and 33 yards receiving on two catches.
Konawaena’s Gabe Trevino put the Wildcats defense on the scoreboard when he returned an interception by Rodrigues 28 yards to the end zone to blow the game open to a 44-7 lead with 8:36 left to play. The score started the league’s 35-point mercy rule and a running clock for the rest of the game.
Waiakea’s Devin Preston, who led all Division I runners statewide with 799 rushing yards, was held to 89 yards on 26 carries. He accounted for 128 of the 184 yards accumulated on offense when factoring in his 39 receiving yards.
The Warriors defense did get pressure in the Konawaena backfield, forcing two interceptions by Howes, both to Zac Correa. Howes completed 17 of his 31 passing attempts for 233 yards and ran for 24 yards on 10 carries.
The Wildcats host Hilo next Friday in a battle of the top two teams in each division. The Vikings have not lost in league play yet and have an opportunity to clinch the top seed in Division I with a win against Kealakehe Saturday night at Wong Stadium.
Waiakea will travel to Kealakehe to face the Waveriders next Saturday.
Konawaena 10 13 14 7 – 44
Waiakea 0 7 0 0 – 7
1st (6:27) – KONA: John Replogle 47 yd FG
1st (5:40) – KONA: Makoa Chapa 1 yd TD run (Replogle XPT good)
2nd (11:38) – KONA: Replogle 45 yd FG
2nd (5:26) – KONA: Brandon Howes 45 yd TD to Luka Vartic (Replogle XPT good)
2nd (0:38) – WHS: Kayed Rodrigues 22 yd TD pass to Keala Fong (Tyler Kerr XPT good)
2nd (0:03) – KONA: Replogle 23 yd FG
3rd (9:27) – KONA: Bubba Ellis-Noa 21 yd TD run (Dishon Cho run)
3rd (1:15) – KONA: Ellis-Noa 3 yd TD run (Replogle kick no good)
4th (8:39) – KONA: Gabe Trevino 38 yd interception return for TD (Replogle XPT good)