Kealakehe Claims BIIF Division I Regular Season Title
For the last two years, Hilo High School has bulldozed its way to the top in Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I football.
Kealakehe took the first step Friday night to reclaiming what was once called by Hilo coaches as “Mount Kealakehe,” beating the Vikings in double overtime by the final score of 30-29.
With the win, Kealakehe clinched the BIIF regular season championship and the top seed in the league’s Division I tournament. With the top seed, Kealakehe will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“It means a lot,” said Kealakehe head coach Sam Kekuaokalani. “We definitely need to continue to see it for what it is and do what we need to do for our next game. Credit to Hilo. They are an awesome team, and they’ll be back.”
Both teams failed to score in the first overtime. Kealakehe’s Kobe Antolin fumbled the ball away on its first possession, and Hilo’s Lukas Kuipers missed a 44-yard field goal on the ensuing possession.
Kealakehe was given the opportunity to get the ball to start the second overtime, and Antolin redeemed himself for his earlier mistake, scoring on an 11-yard touchdown run to give Hilo the 30-23 advantage.
“Kobe was down because he fumbled in the prior overtime, so of course, he was coming off of the field and he was upset, really, really mad, and he didn’t think he would get another chance,” Kekuaokalani explained after Antolin’s touchdown run. “He went the extra mile. I think he was trying to make up for [the fumble].”
Hilo responded quickly on its next possession. Junior quarterback Ka’ale Tiogangco tossed a short pass to his left and found Kahale Huddleston, who ran into the end zone for a 17-yard score. On the extra point, however, sophomore Iosaia Lavatai couldn’t handle a low snap and didn’t get the hold down for Lukas Kuipers, who didn’t get a chance to kick what would’ve been a game-tying extra point. Instead, the Waveriders left Wong Stadium with its first win over the Vikings since 2012.
Kealakehe (6-3 overall, 5-1 BIIF) shot itself in the foot early in the game with penalties. Its opening drive of the game took off over half of the time on the clock, but ended with zero points after a pair of penalties and a sack forced the Waveriders out of field goal range.
Later in the quarter, Kealakehe kept marching down the field on the ground, leading to an 18-yard field goal from Anthony Trevino to make the score 3-0 with 46 seconds left in the first half.
Kealakehe didn’t attempt a pass in the first quarter and ran for 81 yards in the first 12 minutes. Hilo, meanwhile, managed just minus-2 yards in the opening period, running only six plays in two drives.
Lavatai started at quarterback for Hilo in the first half for “internal” reasons, according to Hilo co-interim head coach Kaeo Drummundo, temporarily replacing Tiogangco. Once the sophomore quarterback found his rhythm, the Vikings offense started to move. Lavatai was 6-for-11 passing for 88 yards and an interception.
Hilo capitalized on a mistake by Kealakehe’s special teams unit midway through the second quarter. The snap to punter Pulama Louis sailed over his head and was recovered shy of the goal line. Three plays later, Lavatai found Huddleston on a three-yard touchdown completion to take a 7-3 lead.
On the Vikings’ next drive, Lavatai hooked up with running back Isaac Lerma on a deep pass over the middle of the field for a 30-yard touchdown. Lavatai’s pass to Pono Landford in the back of the end zone put two more points on the board, and Hilo held a 15-3 lead with less than two minutes left in the half.
Momentum continued to fall in the Vikings’ favor. Kealakehe quarterback Markus Degrate was picked off by Ka’aina’olu Lewis, but on the next play, Lavatai gave it back by throwing an interception of his own. That put the Waveriders into its two-minute drill and led to a Riggs Kurashige one-yard touchdown run to get the Waveriders within five points before halftime.
Degrate, a senior quarterback, extended plays when he needed to, completing 10 of his 23 passes for 198 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. In the third, he rolled out to his right to escape pressure and found Trevino behind the defense for a 46-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 16-15. In the fourth, he connected with Riggs Kurashige on a 72-yard touchdown catch-and run to extend the lead to 23-15.
Kurashige caught just two passes for 92 yards and the fourth quarter score. He did, however, gain 67 yards on 15 carries in his first game since an injury sidelined him for three games.
Huddleston was the go-to target for Tiogangco in the second half and overtime. His 51-yard reception got him to the end zone to get the Vikings within two points, and Tiogangco found Kuipers on the two-point try to tie the game with over seven minutes remaining.
On the night, Huddleston caught five passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 32 yards rushing on four carries.
Hilo finishes out the regular season on Thursday against Hilo at Wong Stadium. Kealakehe, meanwhile, will host Waiakea on Friday night. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio and KBIG FM.
Kealakehe 3 7 6 7 0 7 – 30
Hilo 0 15 0 8 0 6 – 29
KEA (0:46) – Anthony Trevino 18 yard field goal
HILO (5:50) – Kahale Huddleston 3 yard reception from Iosaia Lavatai (Lukas Kuipers kick)
HILO (1:43) – Isaac Lerma 30 yard reception from Lavatai (Lavatai to Pono Landford pass)
KEA (:14) – Riggs Kurashige 1 yard run (Kolby Martin kick)
KEA (4:53) – Trevino 46 yard reception from Markus Degrate (Martin kick failed)
KEA (9:44) – Kurashige 72 yard reception from Degrate (Martin kick)
HILO (7:16) – Huddleston 51 yard reception from Ka’ale Tiogangco (Tiogangco to Kuipers pass)
KEA – Kobe Antolin 11 yard run (Martin kick)
HILO – Huddleston 17 yard reception from Tiogangco (kick failed)
BIIF football scoreboard
Kealakehe 30, Hilo 29 (2 OT)
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 35, Honoka’a 0