Balanced Attack Leads KS-Hawai’i to BIIF DII Title Game
Kamehameha-Hawai’i senior quarterback Micah Kanehailua liked having an extra week to prepare for his team Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II semifinal matchup against Honoka’a.
The balanced attack the Warriors showed Friday night showed how much they tightened things up, putting up 447 yards of offense in a 48-7 victory over the Dragons at Pai’ea Stadium on the Kamehameha-Hawai’i campus.
“It (the week off) not only helped us prepare for this game, but also for the upcoming games,” Kanehailua said. “What we did was we just took the time to perfect what we’ve been working on since the beginning of the season. We didn’t want to go out of the way to go install something new that we never heard of before. We just worked on what we do, and we made it perfect.”
It wasn’t completely perfect. An interception by Honoka’a cornerback Isaiah Batalona-Paiva at the goal line ended a short drive in the first quarter, and the Warriors gave the ball over on downs twice in the second quarter. Kamehameha-Hawai’i didn’t punt the ball away, though, and found multiple ways to reach the end zone.
Running back Kaeo Batacan capped off his team’s first offensive drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to get the Warriors ahead 7-0 with 8:22 remaining in the opening period. Batacan scored again on their next drive, breaking free for a 70-yard scoring run to extend the score to 14-0 with 3:30 left in the first.
Batacan, the Warriors’ leading rusher, carried the ball just seven times for 131 yards. He leads his team with 687 rushing yards on the season.
“The run game is very important to us,” said Kamehameha-Hawai’i Head Coach Dan Lyons. “We’ve got to run the ball, especially when we have a really good offensive line. We want to take advantage of those opportunities.”
Honoka’a (2-6 overall, 2-6 BIIF) made adjustments to its offense, shifting to a spread formation with a lot more featured in the passing game. Junior quarterback Nainoa Falk threw for 70 yards in the first quarter. A 28-yard completion to Josh Perry, coupled with a personal foul against the Warriors, helped get the Dragons in range for a 50-yard field goal try by Preston Branco, but it missed slightly short.
From there, Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s defense turned up its intensity. The Warriors recorded six sacks on Falk, all in the first half, to squash any momentum Honoka’a was hoping to build on offense. The high volume of sacks were a big reason why the Dragons finished with negative-33 yards rushing for the game.
“I was concerned in the beginning because Honoka’a was moving the ball very well,” Lyons said. “Our interior line, including Pono Davis, had a huge game. He saved us on so many plays, either getting a back or getting a sack. I think their intensity picked up there.”
Davis, last year’s all-league selection on the defensive line, added two more sacks to his team leading total of eight.
The turning point of the game came in the final few minutes of the opening half. Kamehameha-Hawai’i put together a 10 play, 52-yard drive that wrapped up with Kanehailua’s 11-yard touchdown run. Kanehailua faked a handoff and ran left, diving for the pylon as Honoka’a defenders were late to react. That made the score 21-0 with 2:23 remaining in the second quarter.
The Warriors then got a defensive stand, giving them the ball with 33 seconds on the clock. Two plays in, Kanehailua found Bayley Manliguis streaking down the right side of the field for a 45 yard touchdown strike, putting Kamehameha-Hawai’i up 28-0 with 14 ticks left before halftime.
Honoka’a didn’t appear to recover right away from the Warriors’ first half close. On the first play of the third quarter, Kanehailua found Grant Shiroma on a short pass that, thanks to some key blocks, turned into a 47-yard touchdown completion, extending the lead to 35-0 just 24 seconds into the third quarter.
Honoka’a’s woes continued. A personal foul was assessed on the ensuing kickoff against the Dragons, backing the offense up to its own eight yard line to start the drive. Two plays later, a bad handoff led to the ball rolling into the endzone. Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s Kamakalea Akiona fell on it for another touchdown, pushing the lead to 41-0 with 9:44 remaining in the third quarter.
There was plenty of confusion on the league’s mercy rule, which was put into effect when the Warriors went up by 35 points. At one point, when Honoka’a scored on a 76-yard touchdown pass from Falk to Paul Purdy Jr. to shrink the lead back to 34 points with 6:01 remaining in the third quarter, officials failed to end the mercy rule and stop the clock. At least one minute and 13 seconds elapsed before the clock was finally stopped. The time lost was never put back on the clock.
Kanehailua scored again on a similar bootleg play, scoring from four yards out to make the score 48-7 with 10:54 remaining.
“I’m slow,” Kanehailua joked after the game, “but it worked, apparently.”
The senior signal-caller completed 14 of 24 pass attempts for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He added 38 rushing yards on three carries.
The game lost control early in the fourth quarter when Nainoa Falk had appeared to score on a rushing touchdown. Two flags were thrown during the play, and more were thrown after it when a player from each team was called for dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. A player from Honoka’a was thrown out of the game. The flags thrown during the play were never addressed.
Things continued to get out of hand on the Honoka’a side. During a timeout, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was thrown against the Dragons near a huddle in front of their sideline. As play resumed, another Honoka’a player was flagged for a personal foul penalty. The official on the field signaled it as a dead-ball penalty, but the flag was thrown during the play and whistles blew before the play had completed. The player was ejected.
Kanen-Dean Ventura-Flores threw an interception on fourth-and-goal, allowing Kamehameha-Hawai’i to control the football for the final 4:48 of the game.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i will face Konawaena next week for the Division II championship and a spot in the First Hawaiian Bank/Hawai’i High School Athletic Association Football Championships. A date and time for next week’s league championship game has not been set.
Honoka’a 0 0 7 0 – 7
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 14 14 13 7 – 48
KSH (8:22) – Kaeo Batacan 11 yd run (Preston Kalai XPT good)
KSH (3:30) – Batacan 70 yd run (Kalai XPT good)
KSH (2:23) – Micah Kanehailua 11 yd run (Kalai XPT good)
KSH (0:14) – Bayley Manliguis 45 yd reception from Kanehailua (Kalai XPT good)
KSH (11:36) – Grant Shiroma 47 yd reception from Kanehailua (Kalai XPT good)
KSH (9:44) – Kamakalea Akiona fumble recovery in the end zone (PAT failed)
HON (6:01) – Paul Purdy Jr. 76 yd reception from Nainoa Falk (Preston Branco XPT good)
KSH (10:54) – Kanehailua 4 yd run (Kalai XPT good)
Friday’s BIIF scores
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 48, Honoka’a 7
Konawaena 49, Hawai’i Preparatory Academy 14