[ HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ]
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Kahuku's Spencer Hafoka jumped over a defender during yesterday's state tournament game against Kauai at Aloha Stadium.
to beat Kauai
The Red Raiders win 41-3
after leading just 7-3 at halftime
For Kahuku defensive back Al Afalava and his teammates, the knockout punch was a long time in coming last night at Aloha Stadium, where the Red Raiders were put to the test in their 41-3 win over Kauai in the first round of the First Hawaiian Bank State Football Championships.
"We underestimated them," said Afalava, who intercepted two passes to lead the Kahuku defense. "We thought we were going to smash them at the beginning."
State football tournaments
Division I Quarterfinals
>> Kahuku 41, Kauai 3
>> Farrington 27, Hilo 0
>> Baldwin 20, Kailua 13
>> Saint Louis 47, Mililani 12
Division II first round
>> Damien 20, Kapolei 14
Instead, Kahuku found itself needing to answer the bell in a big way to begin the second half. But if there was ever any question about Kahuku's explosiveness, it was answered in the third quarter when the Red Raiders responded with four touchdowns (including a pair of scores in a span of 1:12) to break the game open.
With the win, Kahuku advances to Friday's semifinals vs. Farrington. The Red Raiders won both meetings between the teams this season -- 40-7 on Sept. 26 and 42-18 on Oct. 31.
Part of Kahuku's early struggles on offense last night were due in part to the absence of starting quarterback Waika Carvalho, who was held out of action after missing practice this week, while recovering from a non-football-related injury that required 10 stitches to his foot.
"The other guys stepped it up and played good," said Carvalho, who expects to play next week. Kahuku turned instead to juniors Bronson Ponciano-Ahue and Kurtney Silva, not to mention the blocking of the 6-foot-3, 290-pound center Jeremy Perry.
"It (Carvalho's absence) matters more with passing, so we just had to run the ball well," Perry said. "You just have to stick to your blocks and do what you have to do in a game like this."
Kahuku (12-0) finished with 253 yards rushing and averaged 4.8 yards per offensive play. Conversely, the Kahuku defense limited Kauai (5-4) to just 29 rushing yards and 2.2 yards per attempt, while intercepting four passes.
Afalava's two interceptions came on consecutive possessions in the third quarter and all but sealed Kauai's fate.
"The coaches told us every time the ball is in the air, we need to get the hit or the pick," Afalava said. "We didn't blitz much. We came in with our regular stack and went out and executed."
Added Kauai coach Christian Keli'i Morgado: "They tried to confuse us and mixed their coverages up nicely in the second half. Early on, there were many opportunities out there, especially when they were just playing a zone or base defense. There were a lot more opportunities than I thought there would be. I think our guys were a little overwhelmed by who they were playing."
Leading 7-3 at intermission, Kahuku took the second-half kickoff and marched 61 yards in six plays to move ahead 14-3 on an 8-yard run by Paea Vaimoui, and made it 20-3 only moments later, when Toriano Taulogo took a Kauai punt at his own 40 and broke open down the sideline for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Dustin Huddy finished with 89 yards on 10 carries to lead Kahuku's ground game, while both Vaimoui (55 yards, 14 carries) and Cy Naki (35 yards, five attempts) balanced out the attack.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Vaimoui with 2:19 left in the third, and a 4-yard score by Ponciano-Ahue with 1:32 remaining in the quarter had made it 34-3 and Kahuku added yet another tally on the first play of the fourth quarter when Huddy went 42 yards on an option pitch.
Kauai opened the scoring with 6:09 remaining in the first half on a 21-yard field goal by Cody Kimura, but Kahuku came back on a run by Vaimoui from 3 yards out with 1:04 to play before the half.
Kauai quarterback Kekoa Crowell finished 9-for-23 for 97 yards, but missed most of the second half after spraining the thumb of his throwing hand.
At Aloha Stadium
Kauai -- Cody Kimura FG 21
Kah -- Paea Vaimoui 3 run (Michael Tuia kick)
Kah -- Vaimoui 8 run (Tuia kick)
Kah -- Toriano Taulogo 60 punt return (kick failed)
Kah -- Vaimoui 1 run (Dustin Huddy rush)
Kah -- Bronson Ponciano-Ahue 4 run (rush failed)
Kah -- Dustin Huddy 42 run (Tuia kick)
RUSHING: Kauai: Kekoa Crowell 4-20, Dominic Elvienia 6-4, Weston Victorino 3-(minus-1), Kevin Cadiente 3-(minus-11). Kahuku: Huddy 10-89, Vaimoui 14-50, Cy Naki 5-33, Manu Ngatikaura 3-18, Ponciano-Ahue 3-16, Kurtney Silva 2-13, Simote Vea 3-13, Spencer Hafoka 2-5, Michael Garcia 1-4, Jon Rickertson 1-3, Keola Silva 1-1.
PASSING: Kauai: Crowell 9-23-2-97, Kaulana Lemke 0-10-2-0, Victorino 0-1-0-0. Kahuku: Silva 2-7-0-32, Ponciano-Ahue 1-7-0-9.
RECEIVING: Kauai: Cadiente 3-42, Justin Arakaki 2-38, Garen Itamura 3-15, Elvienia 1-2. Kahuku: Frank Bracewell 1-21, Stanley Kava 1-11, Naki 1-9.