HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM.
Kalaheo's Bruce Andrews batted away a pass intended for Iolani's Reid Furukawa yesterday.
Kalaheo stuns No. 8 Iolani
It wasn't their best game, but the Kalaheo Mustangs gave coach Chris Mellor enough effort to score a 28-25 upset yesterday of No. 8-ranked Iolani.
Cody vonAppen threw three interceptions, but ran for 97 yards and three touchdowns to spark the Mustangs' veer offense. Kalaheo rushed 49 times for 238 yards behind an offensive line that dwarfed its foes in the trenches. VonAppen finished 7-for-13 for 115 passing yards.
A boisterous crowd at Eddie Hamada Field endured the same humidity and afternoon heat as the Raiders and Mustangs, and for a while, it appeared conditions were about to undo the visitors from the Windward side.
Instead, Kalaheo's core of seven two-way ironmen clung to an early lead and improved to 2-0 in nonconference play. Iolani is 1-1 in nonleague action.
"Our two-way players rose up to the challenge," Mellor said.
Iolani coach Wendell Look praised the Mustangs.
"Kalaheo did a good job. VonAppen is a good athlete and he proved it today. He makes plays and he's tough. Our kids can learn from that toughness."
Kalaheo arrived shortly before the opening kickoff and promptly marched to a 13-play, 76-yard scoring drive on the game's initial series. The yardage came on the ground, with the exception of Phil Tauai's 28-yard catch. VonAppen's leap into the end zone from 1 yard out gave Kalaheo a 7-0 lead with 7:33 left in the first quarter.
Iolani's opening drive stalled at the Kalaheo 34, and vonAppen directed the veer flawlessly again. Kalaheo ran five times in a row before vonAppen fired a 41-yard bomb to Keano Bruhn. On the next play, vonAppen snuck across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown, and the Mustangs led 14-0 with 11:15 to go in the second quarter.
The Raiders responded with their first score just three plays later. Marciel found Reid Furukawa wide open deep down the right sideline against busted coverage, and Furukawa scored easily on a 79-yard touchdown play. Iolani was within 14-7 with 10:25 to go in the first half.
The Mustangs answered with a sensational 48-yard scramble by vonAppen on fourth and 1 for another touchdown. The play, Kalaheo's first in the game out of the shotgun, gave the Mustangs a 21-7 lead with 8 minutes remaining in the half.
Marciel, known for his fleet feet as a backup the past two years, delivered a 45-yard touchdown pass to Lionel Fujioka and brought the Raiders within 21-14 with 2:34 left in the half.
"They picked up on our veer and started stunting," vonAppen said. "They forced me to keep it."
Christopher Otani's 47-yard field-goal attempt was wide left on the final play of the half, but he drilled a spiral through the uprights to cap Iolani's first drive of the third quarter. Otani's 22-yard field goal brought Iolani within 21-17 with 9:01 to go.
Interceptions by Andrew Skalman and Breland Almadova gave the Raiders two opportunities to take the lead, but their offense stalled both times at midfield.
Kalaheo, which tinkered with more shotgun sets, survived vonAppen's three interceptions and returned to the veer formation to regain control.
"I lost my cool after the picks," vonAppen admitted. "It was irritating."
The Mustangs drove 70 yards on 10 plays, with the help of an Iolani personal foul. Tauai's 14-yard run up the middle boosted Kalaheo's lead to 28-17 with 7:07 left in the game.
After Marciel left the game with the injury, sophomore Jarrett Arakawa led the Raiders on a seven-play, 62-yard touchdown drive. The left-hander hit three passes, including a 36-yard completion to Furukawa, before scoring easily on a 5-yard scramble to the end zone. Arakawa's bullet pass to Fujioka on the PAT brought Iolani within 28-25 with 2:42 remaining.
Tauai, however, recovered the ensuing on-side kick and the Mustangs ran out the clock, taking a knee inside the Iolani 10 to end the game.