Flawless Offensive Execution Lifts KS-Hawai`i Over Honoka`a
Kamehameha-Hawai`i stuck to the basics Friday night with a simple, yet effective offensive strategy that proved to be difficult for Honoka`a to stop.
Chase Peneku rushed for 84 yards and three touchdowns as the Warriors cruised past Honoka`a 55-7 on a rain soaked night in Kea`au at Paiea Stadium.
When asked what made him the most happy after the win, Kamehameha-Hawai`i Head Coach Dan Lyons said he was happy with his players “sticking to what we do, not trying to make big plays and just sticking with our offense and trying to be as simple as we are.”
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (4-2 overall, 4-2 Big Island Interscholastic Federation) sliced and diced the Dragons’ defense with a mix of quick passes and speedy rushes. Honoka`a’s inability to tackle on initial contact made it easier for the Warriors to chunk yards together.
There was a little bit of pizazz from the Warriors offense, especially on its first score of the game. Alapaki Iaea caught a screen pass from Micah Kanehailua that forced him about three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Iaea, a reliable senior pass-catcher, danced around to give his blockers in front of him time to set, allowing for a 22-yard sprint to the endzone to put Kamehameha-Hawai`i on top 7-0 in the game’s first two minutes.
Honoka`a (2-4, 2-4), already down before it could touch the football, didn’t help its own cause. A bad fourth down snap on its first drive led to punter Jose Manriquez trying to run the football forward instead of hurrying a kick away, resulting in a seven yard loss and excellent field position for the home team at the Dragons’ five yard line.
Chase Peneku, a simple, yet dangerous downhill runner, took advantage of the field position by sprinting into the endzone for a one-yard touchdown run to extend the Warriors’ lead to 14-0 with 7:31 remaining in the opening quarter.
Peneku only touched the ball nine times, but he was effective every time he touched it. He scored on a five-yard dash to end the first quarter to blow the game open at 21-0. He would score again on a 41-yard sprint in the third quarter to put Kamehameha-Hawai`i ahead 42-7 with 7:52 remaining in the third, starting a running clock with the league’s 35-point mercy rule.
Honoka`a was without linebackers Sione Epenesa and Keaka Swift for the game, and it made a big difference. The Warriors rushed for 159 yards in the game, fueled by the two-headed rushing tandem of Peneku and Kaeo Batacan.
Batacan, who leads the team with 438 rushing yards on the season, added to the team’s balanced offensive attack with 60 yards rushing and a touchdown run of his own, a four-yard run that put the Warriors’ ahead up 35-0 with 6:29 remaining in the first half.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i was also efficient in its passing game. Quarterback Micah Kanehailua completed 10 of his 15 passing attempts for 214 yards and two touchdowns before being taken out of the game after the third quarter.
Kanehailua, along with his talented core of receivers and a sturdy offensive line, was able to pick apart the Dragons’ defensive secondary. Early in the second, with all day to sit in the pocket, he zipped a precise pass over the middle to junior Kainalu Whitney. A Honoka`a defensive back overplayed the pass and whiffed at a chance to knock it down, leaving Whitney with nothing but green field turn in front of him for a 62-yard score, making the score 28-0 with 9:40 left in the first half.
Don’t forget about the Warriors’ defense. Honoka`a’s offense failed to get a first down until a roughing the passer penalty moved the chains with under nine minutes to play in the second quarter.
“I know they’re missing some guys. I know what it’s like to miss guys,” Lyons said after the game. “I thought, again, the defensive did the same thing as the offense did. They just took care of their kuleana and played hard, and that’s what I like about our kids.”
A seven-yard rush by Kelsey Kaniho gave the Dragons’ its first offensive first down of the game with under five minutes to play in the half, and it led to an eight-yard touchdown pass from Nainoa Falk to Kaniho, making the score 35-7 in favor of Kamehameha-Hawai`i.
Honoka`a was limited to just 127 yards of offense in the game. Falk completed four of 22 passes with an interception. Paul Purdy Jr. led a rushing attack that was limited to just 38 yards for the game. Purdy, a senior, gained 23 yards on 12 carries.
Both teams enter the final week of the season with seeding still up in the air. Kamehameha-Hawai`i could still earn the league’s top seed in Division II by winning out and getting help with a Konawaena loss. The Wildcats play Hilo Saturday night and host Kealakehe next Friday.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i visits winless Kea`au next Saturday.
With the loss, Honoka`a can finish no better than third in the division. The Dragons can lock up that seed with a win next week against Hawai`i Preparatory Academy. A loss next week would put Honoka`a in last place.
Honoka`a 0 7 0 0 – 7
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 21 14 13 7 – 55
KSH (10:14) – Alapaki Iaea 22 yard reception from Micah Kanehailua (Preston Kalai XPT good)
KSH (7:31) – Chase Peneku 1 yard run (Kalai 2PT run)
KSH (0:00) – Peneku 5 yard run (conversion failed)
KSH (9:40) – Kainalu Whitney 62 yard reception from Kanehailua (Kalai XPT good)
KSH (6:29) – Kaeo Batacan 4 yard run (Kalai XPT good)
HON (1:59) – Kelsey Kaniho 8 yard reception from Nainoa Falk (Kealakai Lindsey XPT good)
KSH (7:52) – Peneku 41 yard run (Kalai XPT good)
KSH (4:05) – Noah Ah Chong 5 yard run (Kala Muller XPT blocked)
KSH (9:23) – Grant Shiroma 11 yard run (Muller XPT good)
Friday’s BIIF scores
Kealakehe 65, Kea`au 0
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 55, Honoka`a 7