Manoha Leads Inspired Ka’u Victory
The Ka’u Trojans were playing for more than just a win Thursday night. They were playing for a fallen friend and Pop Warner teammate.
Evan Manoha made sure that the memory of Kobie Bivings would not be remembered in a loss.
Manoha rushed for 304 yards on 27 carries and five touchdowns, all in the second half, as the Ka’u Trojans erased a 10-point deficit to defeat Ka’u 54-48 at Pahoa High School.
“Everytime we needed that score, I just tried to focus and play hard for our classmate that passed, because he could’ve been out here with us,” Manoha said after the game.
Bivings died earlier this week in a battle against cancer. On Monday, the team decided not to practice, choosing instead to go to Hilo Medical Center to spend time with Bivings.
“He was a good boy,” said Ka’u coach DuWayne Ke. “He loved playing football, but he couldn’t be on the field. That was the hardest part about it all.”
All eyes were on Manoha, who dug deep in memory of his friend to dominate. His success started early in the third with his team trailing 26-22. On the Trojans’ second play from scrimmage in the quarter, he broke out a 71-yard touchdown scamper to push the Trojans out in front to a 30-26 lead.
Pahoa (0-1 overall, 0-1 Big Island Interscholastic Federation) answered with a pair of touchdown passes by quarterback Lava Benn to Kaniala Harris and Joaquin Ridgway, respectively, to give the Daggers their biggest lead of the game, a 40-30 advantage with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
No one would keep Manoha from finding the end zone, however. His 10-yard run got Ka’u within four points of the lead with 3:43 remaining in the third period.
In the fourth quarter, Manoha took the majority of the team’s snaps under center as quarterback Kamaehu DeRamos battled an injured hand. He continued to burn Pahoa’s defense, running the ball successfully to every part of the field. He gave Ka’u the lead with a 12-yard touchdown run with 7:30 remaining in the game to push ahead to 42-40.
Ka’u (1-1 overall, 1-1 BIIF) controlled the clock in the fourth quarter, holding on to the football for the first 6:42 of the final period. Pahoa finally had an opportunity to put something together offensively, but gave it back quickly when a fumble ended its first drive in the quarter.
Manoha took advantage, running in another score from six yards away to put the Trojans back ahead by eight points, 48-40, with 2:25 remaining.
Pahoa, looking for its first ever 8-man victory, rushed down the field in five plays, scoring on a Benn touchdown pass to Duane Correa. A successful two-point completion from Benn to Ridgway tied the game with 1:06 left in the game.
Benn, a tough quarterback to bring down, completed 16 of 26 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns. His favorite target, Ridgway, caught six passes for 152 yards and two scores.
As it turned out, 1:06 was too much time to leave on the clock for Ka’u. Manoha capped off a five-play, 65 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown dive with four seconds left on the clock to give the Trojans a 54-48 victory.
“I just told my line to open up a hole, and I’m going to pick the one that’s open,” said Manoha, who moved to his left to get into the endzone for the game winning score.
Thursday’s game was originally supposed to be played at Pahoa High School on Saturday, but was moved to accommodate the schedule changes caused by last week’s postponed game between Hilo and Konawaena. Kea’au High School stepped in to host the game under the lights.
Ka’u 16 6 14 18 – 54
Pahoa 14 12 14 8 – 48