HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kaimuki sophomore Maua Tuitele carried the ball 10 times for 43 yards in a losing effort yesterday.
Iolani escapes first round against relentless Kaimuki
The Iolani Raiders bent, broke and even stared defeat straight in the eye.
Despite surrendering 515 total yards, Iolani came through in the clutch by denying Kaimuki on a 2-point conversion with 31 seconds left to pull out a thrilling 41-40 win yesterday afternoon in the opening round of the Division II First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships.
A raucous crowd at Eddie Hamada Field saw Iolani seize control with 28 unanswered points midway through the game, only to see a 21-point lead evaporate. Iolani (6-5-1), champion of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, will visit Maui Interscholastic League champion King Kekaulike this Friday.
"We escaped with one," Iolani coach Wendell Look said. "You talk about heart, pride and pure guts. We can learn something from Kaimuki. We think we don't have the numbers, but we suited up 40-something guys. They had 20-something. Their school and community should be proud of these kids."
Linebacker Jarom Baldomero led Iolani's defense with 14 tackles and four pass deflections.
"Kaimuki had a lot of heart. We had to pull it together," the junior said. "We earned it, and now the competition only gets better."
Kaimuki, runner-up in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference, finished the season 6-5-1. The Bulldogs, with just 27 players in uniform, lost a few more during the battle. They seemed out of gas before mounting a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback.
Down 41-20 entering the final quarter, they pounded away on the ground and scored two touchdowns to get in position to tie or win the game. The Bulldogs got the ball back after an Iolani punt with 4:19 left. Quarterback Kapono Kaiwi-Barrionuebo guided the 'Dogs downfield and hit a fourth-down 6-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Harris on a slant route with 31 seconds to play in the game.
Kaimuki elected to go for 2, and Kaiwi-Barrionuebo's pass into the end zone was overthrown. The Bulldogs were flagged for an illegal formation to boot.
Jordan Nakamura recovered the ensuing on-side kick and time ran out on the Bulldogs.
"This didn't end the way we wanted, but we're proud of our kids," Kaimuki coach Daniel Mafua said.
In all, Kaimuki rushed for 367 yards in 57 attempts (6.4 yards per carry). Dolly Ainuu, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior, was one of several Bulldogs who started on both sides of the ball. He finished with 143 yards rushing on 16 carries.
"Iolani is small, but they're fast and smart," said Ainuu. "We didn't come this far for nothing. We don't quit. That's how we play at Kaimuki. We give it all we got until the clock says zero."
Kaiwi-Barrionuebo threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 13-for-28 passing despite suffering an ankle injury in the second quarter.
Iolani finished with 291 total yards, including 240 in the air by Ryan Dung. The senior completed 16 of his 28 attempts, including four touchdowns, all in the first half.
Kaimuki's standout defensive end, Keone Reyes, sat out. He was treated for an infected boil on his lower left leg on Wednesday.
Iolani 41, Kaimuki 40
At Eddie Hamada Field
Kaim--Perry Faleao 6 pass from Stephen Harris (kick failed).
Iol--Jordan Nakamura 23 pass from Ryan Dung (Kody Adams kick).
Kaim--Dolly Ainuu 22 run (run failed).
Iol--Ronnie Hirokawa 64 pass from Dung (pass failed).
Kaim--Christopher Etuale 6 pass from Kapono Kaiwi-Barrionuebo (Ainuu pass from Kaiwi-Barrionuebo).
Iol--Lionel Fujioka 17 pass from Dung (Adams kick).
Iol--Jarom Baldomero 56 interception return (Adams kick).
Iol--Fujioka 11 pass from dung (Adams kick).
Iol--Justin Yamamoto 13 run (Adams kick).
Kaim--Ainuu 41 run (kick blocked).
Kaim--Maua Tuitele 3 run (James Bower pass from Kaiwi-Barrionuebo).
Kaim--Harris 6 pass from Kaiwi-Barrionuebo (pass failed).
RUSHING--Kaimuki: Ainuu 16-143, James Bower 8-69, Chase Nanod 8-48, Tuitele 10-48, Kaiwi-Barrionuebo 6-29, Etuale 1-13, Perry Faleao 4-11, Joshwa Salvador 1-4, Harris 3-2. Iolani: Justin Yamamoto 12-51.
PASSING--Kaimuki: Kaiwi-Barrionuebo 13-28-1-142, Harris 1-2-1-6. Iolani: Dung 16-28-1-240.
RECEIVING--Kaimuki: Harris 3-54, Tom Lau 3-29, Etuale 2-20, Travis Pologa 2-10, Ainuu 1-15, Kaiwi-Barrionuebo 1-8, Faleao 1-6, Romnick Pagurayan 1-6. Iolani: Ronnie Hirokawa 6-106, Fujioka 5-38, Nakamura 4-47, Aaron Fong 1-49.