Defense Steals the Show in Kealakehe Road Win
Saturday night was a great night to play defense at Kea’au High School’s Cougars Stadium.
Kealakehe’s Sequoia Iona found that out first hand. He hauled in four interceptions, including one that was returned 67 yards to the end zone which put the game out of reach, and the rest of his defense was involved in four other turnovers to lead the Waveriders over Kea’au 28-8 under sloppy field conditions and an occasional downpour.
“We were kinda slow to begin with, but we got some talking from the coaches,” Iona said after the game. “The D line got going, got some pressure, the quarterback floats the ball, and things worked out.”
Iona, a senior defensive back, should have had five interceptions and two touchdown returns, but one was called back in the second half because of a penalty, one of 18 called the Waveriders on the night. He wouldn’t be denied on his last interception, however, a 67-yard return for a touchdown with 1:56 remaining that would put the game away, giving Kealakehe a 28-8 lead.
“I think the slot didn’t out and I kinda baited it,” Iona said. “I kinda sat back a little while, he floated it, and I just jumped it.”
Iona’s first interception came in the first quarter, picking off a pass from Kea’au quarterback Dillon Santos to end the Cougars’ brief stay in good field position at the 45 yard line. In the next period, Iona got an interception off of Kea’au backup Damian Furtado as the Cougars were in Kealakehe territory.
Iona picked off Santos again in the third quarter, and his teammate Keanu Alu joined in on the act later with a pick of his own that he returned 54 yards to the end zone, making the score 14-0 with 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Kealakehe (5-3 overall, 4-1 Big Island Interscholastic Federation) had its own share of turnovers, however, giving the ball away five times. The first one came on the opening kickoff as Dreq Agliam’s kick was mishandled and recovered at Kealakehe’s 35 yard line. Kea’au couldn’t take advantage of it, however, and Isaac Kioa recovered Santos’ fourth down fumble.
On the ensuing drive, Kealakehe drove down into the red zone, but quarterback Anthony Trevino lost the football, which was recovered by Kea’au linebacker Kenneth Simmons to end that threat.
Kea’au (0-6, 0-5) could not stop Kealakehe running back Kobe Antolin, a physical senior running back who plowed through defenders and fought for extra yardage. On the night, Antolin carried the ball 22 times for 153 yards on two touchdowns. His first came in the opening quarter as the Waveriders took advantage of a short field, starting at the Cougars’ 25 yard line after a 22-yard punt by Kage Kealamakia. Six plays later, Antolin plowed through the defense for a five-yard touchdown run to give Kealakehe a 7-0 lead with 1:11 left on the first quarter clock.
Antolin scored again from five yards out early in the final period, slipping an ankle tackle and running for the short corner of the end zone to give Kealakehe a 21-0 lead with 8:49 remaining.
Kea’au struggled once again to run the football, so it tried to rely on its passing game. Santos was 8-for-19 for 83 yards and three interceptions. Furtado entered in the second quarter when Santos was hurt and immediately threw an interception, He would finish 3-for-10 for 37 yards and three interceptions. He also had a rushing touchdown.
Kealakehe moved back into a tie for first place in the BIIF Division I standings with Hilo, setting up a showdown for first place and home field advantage in the postseason between the two teams Friday night at Wong Stadium. The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on KBIG FM and ESPN Radio.
Kea’au will try to get its first win of the season next Saturday when it hosts Waiakea on homecoming night. Kickoff of the varsity game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Kealakehe 7 0 7 14 – 28
Kea’au 0 0 0 8 – 8
KEALAKEHE (1:11) – Kobe Antolin 5 yard run (Kolby Martin kick)
KEALAKEHE (:48) – Keanu Alu 54 yard interception return (Martin kick)
KEALAKEHE (8:49) – Antolin 5 yard run (Martin kick)
KEAAU (2:29) – Damien Furtado 2 yard run (Furtado pass to Dreq Agliam)
KEALAKEHE (1:56) – Sequoia Iona 67 yard interception return (Martin kick)
Hawai’i Preparatory Academy 23, Honoka’a 0