[ OIA RED EAST ]
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kahuku's Maloso Te'o danced past Farrington defenders on his way to a touchdown in the first quarter of last night's game.
Tilini leads the way
Kahuku tight end William Tilini caught a touchdown pass last night, but that moment paled in comparison to the contribution he made lining up as a fullback.
Tilini relentlessly hit the line ahead of his tailbacks, cutting wide paths for three early Red Raider touchdowns en route to Kahuku's 41-0 victory over Farrington in front of 3,001 at Aloha Stadium.
Speedsters Malisi Te'o and Micah Strickland took advantage of the extra room and accounted for those first three scores.
"The coaches wanted to try me there (at fullback) and see what I can do," Tilini said. "I did what I could and I don't know how good it was, but I know the running backs liked it. Before each play, I picked out my man and then I went to block him."
Red Raiders coach Siuaki Livai put Tilini in for a reason.
"Some of my running backs have been disappointing with their blocking, so I put him (Tilini) in there to show the others that they need to step it up," said Livai, whose team improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East Conference. "And William was so great, wasn't he? He's the best blocker we have."
Te'o scored twice in the first quarter, on runs of 71 and 32 yards and Strickland added another touchdown early in the second. He broke a few arm tackles and raced past everybody for the 77-yard score, and starting quarterback Bronson Ponciano-Ahue ran home the 2-pointer on a bad-snap broken play for a 22-0 lead.
"They just outplayed us," said Governors quarterback Eti Atonio, who was pressured all night by the Kahuku defense and sacked four times. "No excuses, we just lost. Kahuku's a real physical team, probably the most physical in the state. I got hit real good on a couple of plays."
Joseph Faifili, Kaniela Tuipuloto and B.J. Adolpho all came through with tackles for loss for the Red Raiders, while David Niumatalolo recovered a Farrington fumble.
The Govs (1-3, 1-1) never came close to scoring. They could only get as far as their own 46 in the first half, and when they finally crossed midfield in the third quarter, it was against Kahuku's subs. Farrington's farthest penetration was the Red Raiders 17 on the last play of the third quarter.
"They're a tough team," Govs defensive lineman John Sagapolutele said. "But they're not as good as last year's (state championship) team. Their offensive line is slow, but they're strong. We could have played our assignments better."
Sagapolutele had three tackles for loss, including a sack of Kahuku backup QB Josiah Kamuth. Farrington linebacker Neemia Tuua made the only sack of Ponciano-Ahue.
Livai was a little surprised about his team's fast start.
"Sometimes, we start slow," he said. "It all depends on which team shows up. Sometimes, our normal game is 10 turnovers and when you do that you can lose. It's hard to get the kids up for every game. We really picked it up fast in the beginning tonight."
Kahuku had only one turnover, while forcing the Govs to cough up the ball twice.
Tilini made it 28-0 by grabbing a 5-yard TD toss from Ponciano-Ahue with 9:12 left in the half.
The Red Raiders could have made it a mercy-rule game for the whole second half, but they missed a conversion when Ponciano-Ahue took a snap and promptly took a knee. The play, after Hyrum Moors' 7-yard TD run late in the first half, would have given Kahuku the required 35-point lead for running time to take effect in the second half.
"I told my kids to not run it in no matter what if there was a bad snap," said Livai, who added that the missed conversion wasn't a ploy to give his subs more playing time. "We didn't want to run up the score."
Devin Unga's 72-yard catch-and-run from backup QB Jacob Kahawaii early in the fourth was Kahuku's final touchdown.