[ HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ]
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Kalaheo defensive lineman Toli Ilaoa forced Kaiser's Jordan Arakaki to fumble last night.
Assily leads Kaiser
In their biggest game of the season, the Kaiser Cougars used big plays last night to carry them into the Oahu Interscholastic Association playoffs.
Chris Assily scored two touchdowns of more than 80 yards to lead Kaiser to a 33-8 victory over Kalaheo in a do-or-die game at Kailua High School, giving the Cougars a berth in the OIA White Conference playoffs.
Assily opened the scoring with an 86-yard reception from Steven Pratt and gave Kaiser control of the game on the opening kickoff of the second half with an 82-yard return for a score.
"He's a stud, he's the total package," Kaiser coach David Maeva said of Assily.
Kaiser improved to 4-4 overall and 4-3 in the OIA White to join Kapolei, Aiea and Radford in the postseason.
The Cougars face regular-season champion Kapolei in the semifinals on Nov. 1. Aiea plays Radford in the other half of the bracket. The winners meet Nov. 14 at Mililani High School with both conference finalists earning the OIA's berth in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state tournament. The champion earns a first-round bye.
"You work for goals and to make it to the playoffs was a major goal for us," Maeva said.
Kalaheo ended its season at 3-5 overall and 3-4 in the conference and fell one win short of extending its campaign.
"Our whole objective was to have these kids achieve a goal that they set out for the season," first-year Kalaheo coach Tony Tuioti said. "I feel for these young kids because they wanted it so bad and we as coaches, we know how special that feeling is. It just seemed like we couldn't get over that hurdle."
Kaiser controlled the clock for much of the first half but saw its first two drives end in fumbles and had a 73-yard touchdown pass called back by a penalty.
But the Cougars stayed with the deep ball and took the lead when Pratt hit Assily on a fly pattern down the right sideline for an 86-yard scoring pass.
"Any time they get a home-run shot it's hard to come back," Tuioti said. "That's the way it's been all season, where you try so hard and they catch you on little things."
After Kalaheo's fourth punt of the first half, Pratt found Kainoa Tautaha on a hitch-and-go for a 55-yard touchdown connection to give Kaiser a 13-0 halftime lead.
The Cougars then tightened their grip on the game with Assily's kickoff return to open the second half.
Assily charged up the left side, broke a tackle at midfield, found open field to his right and raced to the end zone.
"At any level, any time you get a kickoff return it's big time," Maeva said.
Pratt and Shannon Wise padded the lead with short touchdown runs to give Kaiser a 33-0 advantage.
Kalaheo avoided the shutout with a 4-yard touchdown run by Wise with 2:28 left in the game.
Maeva credited his team's effort in the offseason for setting the tone for its playoff run.
"We had good leadership all season," Maeva said. "Guys committed and came out in the spring and it carried through to this, reaching this goal."
At Kailua H.S. field
Kais--Christopher Assily 86 pass from Steven Pratt (Steele Legros kick)
|Kaiser (4-4, 4-3)
|Kalaheo (3-5, 3-4)
Kais--Kainoa Tautaha 55 pass from Pratt (kick failed)
Kais--Assily 82 kickoff return (Legros kick)
Kais--Pratt 2 run (pass failed)
Kais--Shannon Wise 2 run (Legros kick)
Kalh--Nate Shields 4 run (Jared Neufeldt run)