Kamehameha-Hawai’i Surges Past Nanakuli in State Opener
Playing under a heavy, cold downpour is turning out to be quite the blessing for the Kamehameha-Hawai’i football team.
Last Friday, with the field turf at Paiea Stadium soaked in rain water, the Warriors manhandled Konawaena to win its first Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II Championship.
On Saturday afternoon, the skies opened up again, dampening an offensive fireworks show that kept fans of both schools on the edge of their seats. When the rain stopped, however, it was Kamehameha-Hawai’i that took control of its state hopes, beating Nanakuli 42-20 in the opening round of the First Hawaiian Bank/Hawai’i High School Athletic Association Division II State Football Championships.
For most of the second quarter and all of the third quarter, both teams’ high-powered spread offenses were affected by the consistent downpour. It became a defensive showdown, as both teams slowed down each team’s rushing attack. Both teams stayed away from the pass, fearing for the potential of a big mistake.
The cold rain started to die down at the start of the fourth quarter, allowing Kamehameha-Hawai’i Head Coach Dan Lyons to comfortably open up the passing game again. Starting quarterback Micah Kanehailua found Grant Shiroma deep down the middle of the field for a 42-yard touchdown to extend the Warriors’ lead to 35-20 with 10:48 remaining.
Nanalkuli (10-1) fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, and Kamehameha-Hawai’i didn’t take long to put the game away. Kanehailua, who threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, rolled out of the pocket and to his left, giving him the time to toss a 15-yard touchdown pass to Bayley Manliguis, pushing the Warriors to a 42-20 lead with 9:41 left in the game.
The beginning of the game, however, was a lot different than the end. Nanakuli’s offense looked sharp to open the game, with quarterback Kale Kanehailua, cousin of KS-Hawai’i’s signal caller, completing five of his first six passes on the team’s opening drive. Makaila Haina-Horswill capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to put the Golden Hawks ahead 6-0 with 8:20 left in the opening quarter.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i (8-2) didn’t waste any time in responding. Kanehailua hooked up twice with Manliguis for completions of 22 and 12 yards, respectively, before the senior field general called his own number for a five-yard touchdown run to put the Warriors up 7-6 with 6:26 showing on the first quarter clock.
The Warriors’ defense would get involved as Preston Kalai intercepted Kale Kanehailua with just over three minutes left to go in the first quarter, setting up the first of two touchdown passes from Micah Kanehailua to Manliguis. A 33-yard connection between the two put the Warriors ahead 14-6.
Luke Luna-Luuloa returned the ensuing kickoff to Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s 45 yard line. Two plays later, Haina-Horswill rumbled into the endzone to get the Golden Hawks within a point with 1:22 left in the first quarter.
Nanakuli’s Kanehailua was picked off again toward the end of the first quarter, this time by Caleb Baptists. On the very next play, Kaeo Batacan raced into the endzone for a 15-yard touchdown run, putting the Warriors up 21-13 with one tick left on the first quarter clock.
Batacan, who rushed for 87 yards on 24 carries, found the end zone again with a nine-yard touchdown run to extend Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s lead to 28-13 with 8:14 left in the first half.
Haina-Horswill could not be stopped. He broke out an 83-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes left in the half to cut the Warriors’ leads to 28-20.
Haina-Horswill, a senior that plays bigger than his 5-foot-6 frame, rushed for a game high 149 yards on 19 carries.
Both quarterbacks weren’t especially sharp. Micah Kanehailua was 13-of-30 for 190 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. On the other side, Kale Kanehailua was 11-of-31 for 115 yards and two interceptions.
It was the ground attack for Kamehameha-Hawai’i that held things together. Chase Peneku added 60 yards rushing on 12 carries and Kanehailua picked up 18 yards on the ground and a touchdown run.
With the win, Kamehameha-Hawai’i advances to next Saturday’s semifinals, where it will meet top-seeded Lahainaluna at Maui’s War Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNHawaii.com
Nanakuli 13 7 0 0 – 20
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 21 7 0 14 – 42
NANA (8:20) – Makaila Haina-Horswill 2 yard run (Clifford Cunningham XPT no good)
KSH (6:26) – Micah Kanehailua 5 yard run (Preston Kalai XPT good)
KSH (2:26) – Bayley Manliguis 33 yard reception from Kanehailua (Kalai XPT good)
NANA (1:22) – Haina-Horswill 44 yard run (Cunningham XPT good)
KSH (:01) – Kaeo Batacan 15 yard run (Kalai XPT good)
KSH (8:14) – Batacan 9 yard run (Kalai XPT good)
NANA (3:04) – Haina-Horswill 83 yard run (Cunningham XPT good)
KSH (10:48) – Grant Shiroma 41 yard reception from Kanahailua (Kalai XPTgood)
KSH (9:41) – Manliguis 15 yard reception from Kanehailua (Kalai XPT good)
First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division II State Football Championships Schedule
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 42, Nanakulo 20
Kapa’a 30, Pearl City 22
Saturday, Nov. 15
Kapa’a at #2 Iolani – 2:30 p.m.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i at #1 Lahainaluna – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 21
Division II championship game – 4:30 p.m.