KS-Hawai’i Maintains Grasp of Kipimana Cup
Kamehameha-Hawai’i entered Friday night’s game short-handed and motivated following a disappointing loss a week prior at home to Hilo.
A strong ground performance and stifling defense helped to get the Warriors back on track ahead of next week’s key showdown with Division II leader Konawaena.
Kaeo Batacan and Elijah Campbell each rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Dallas Duarte hooked up with Kainalu Whitney for two more scores as Kamehameha-Hawai’i routed Kea’au 55-12 in the fifth annual Kipimana Cup.
“This is getting back to who we wanted to be,” said Kamehameha-Hawai’i head coach Dan Lyons.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s identity starts with Batacan, a senior running back who can shift each direction and turn on the afterburners when necessary. On the Warriors’ first drive, he touched the ball for each of the team’s seven plays, capping off the drive with a a three-yard scoring run. He tallied 59 yards on the drive, putting the Warriors ahead 7-0 with just over two minutes elapsed in the game.
Batacan also scored on a two-yard run late in the first quarter. For the game, he tallied 119 yards on two carries and one reception for three yards. Most of his work came in the first quarter. He sat out the second quarter, but returned for the first drive in the third quarter to get the offense back on track.
Kea’au (0-5 overall, 0-4 Big Island Interscholastic Federation) didn’t get a chance to get anything going. On its first play after the Kamehameha-Hawai’i touchdown, Sedrick Mahi knocked the ball out of the hands of Kea’au’s Kaina Vierra. Ethan Ramos recovered the fumble, and two plays later, Campbell had had his turn to pick apart the Cougars’ defense, carrying the ball twice and scoring on a one-yard run to extend the lead to 14-0 with 9:12 remaining in the opening quarter.
“Our defense was awesome today,” Lyons said. “We had nine, 10, 11 guys on every tackle. If you look up, there’s one Kea’au guy there and there’s 10 Kamehameha guys around him and that’s what’s been missing.”
Kamehameha-Hawai’i (5-2, 2-2) scored 41 points in the first quarter, with the only blemish being a missed point after touchdown after a bad snap forced Duarte to throw to the end zone. His pass was dropped by Icher Pule-Annes. Everything else seemed to go perfectly. The Warriors racked up 222 yards of offense in the first quarter, 160 yards on the ground.
The second quarter was a different story. Kea’au found some success and confidence against Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s reserves on both sides of the ball. Vierra caught a jump ball pass from quarterback Dillon Santos and ran 68 yards to the end zone as two defenders fell on the wet turf, making the score 41-6 with 7:49 remaining in the half.
Vierra caught five passes for 108 yards on the night, leading all receivers.
After a fumble by Kamehameha-Hawai’i quarterback Kekona Naipo-Arsiga, Kea’au took advantage of the short field. Santos threw up another ball in the end zone, and senior Charles Caldwell-Kaai reached over a defender and hauled in a tremendous 22-yard touchdown grab, making the score 41-12 nearly midway through the second period.
For the game, Santos was sacked four times and pressured many more, including taking two shots on roughing the passer penalties. He absorbed the hits the best he could despite the relentless pressure from Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s defense, completing 7 of his 22 pass attempts for 114 yards. He also threw an interception.
With Kea’au gaining confidence going into the locker room, Kamehameha-Hawai’i sent its offensive starters back in the game in the third quarter and got immediate results. Duarte found Whitney on the Warriors’ first drive of the third quarter, and the nine-yard touchdown strike started up the mercy rule with 10:03 remaining in the quarter and the lead increased to 48-12.
Duarte didn’t complete a pass last week with a pair of interceptions, but completed every one of his six passes Friday night for 71 yards. Whitney, seeing extra targets after injuries kept Makana Manoa and Tre-Evans Dumaran out of the game, caught four passes for 26 yards and two touchdowns.
“I just thought that we looked more like the team we were at the beginning of the season,” Lyons analyzed. “If we play like that and we don’t turn the ball over, I think we’re hard to beat.”
Kamehameha-Hawai’i is now 5-0 in the annual Kipimana Cup, an annual showcase of the two Kea’au schools. W.H. Shipman Ltd. donated $500 to each school’s booster club, and awards a trophy to the winning school.
Ahead for Kamehameha-Hawai’i is a showdown with Konawaena, one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the state. The Wildcats knocked off Kealakehe 39-9 Friday night. Kea’au, meanwhile, will host Kealakehe next Saturday. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, with Friday’s game simulcast on KBIG FM.
Kea’au 0 12 0 0 – 12
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 41 0 7 7 – 55
KSH (9:47) – Kaeo Batacan 3 yard run (Jaisten Cabatbat kick)
KSH (9:12) – Elijah Campbell 1 yard run (Cabatbat kick)
KSH (6:51) – Kainalu Whitney 3 yard reception from Dallas Duarte (Cabatbat kick)
KSH (5:03) – Campbell 3 yard run (Cabatbat kick)
KSH (1:38) – Batacan 2 yard run (pass failed)
KSH (1:14) – Israel Bowden 34 yard run (Cabatbat kick)
KEA (7:49) – Kaina Vierra 68 yard reception from Dillon Santos (pass failed)
KEA (6:32) – Charles Caldwell-Kaai 22 yard reception from Santos (run failed)
KSH (10:03) – Whitney 9 yard reception from Duarte (Cabatbat kick)
KSH (6:00) – Ethan Ramos 28 yard run (Cabatbat kick)
BIIF football scoreboard
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 55, Kea’au 12
Konawaena 39, Kealakehe 9