HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Govs snatch victory away
Farrington's James Smith expected a bootleg run. But when Kailua quarterback Kenny Ellis hesitated and stopped up short to pass, Smith adjusted and made his move.
The defensive back intercepted Ellis at the 2-yard line for the game-saving play, and sprinted down the left sideline back to midfield with 28.2 seconds to go to protect a 13-7 win for the Governors, their first of the season and in Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East play.
Down six and pinned on its own 1 yard line with less than 6 minutes to play, Kailua staged an improbable drive that took it 97 yards to Farrington's doorstep, but Smith, a junior, was ready to make the biggest play of his fledgling varsity career. He swiftly stepped in front of Ellis' target, and the visitor's sideline erupted with cheers.
"We just stepped up. When our back was against the wall, a precious situation, and the ball bounced our way," Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. "A good, clutch play from the underclassman."
That final drive was as much about Smith's maneuver as it was a costly Surfrider error three plays earlier. A false start pushed Kailua back to the 7, then linebacker Grant Hamilton sacked Ellis back to the 15. Ellis rushed to the 7 on third down, but Smith got his pick on Kailua's do-or-die play, and it was over.
"He saw his receiver open, but he didn't see me behind the receiver to snatch it from him," Smith said. When he started running it back he thought, "who cares if I made the touchdown or not, to save the game, that's the whole point," he said, smiling.
In the first game ever televised on OC 16 from the Surfriders' home field, the Governors (1-1-1, 1-0 Red East) made the fewest costly errors to hold on.
Two drives earlier, Kailua punted deep out of its own territory. But the officials ruled that the Surfrider punter's knee had touched the ground when he fielded the snap on the 1-yard line before he got the ball away, and the Governors were quick to capitalize.
Farrington handed the ball off to Joshua Fernandez for the 1-yard touchdown to break a 7-7 tie with 10:25 to go in the fourth. But a botched extra point left the door open for Kailua.
"It's an old adage that mistakes will ultimately do you in, and if you're on the (2-yard line) and you go offsides, in a lot of ways you don't deserve to win," Kailua coach Gary Rosolowich said, referring to his team's chance to score late in the game. "But you can't dwell on that either. This is only Week 1 in the Red East, and we just gotta get ready for next week."
The Governors were penalized heavily the entire game, tallying 11 penalties for 105 yards. But they made enough defensive plays to overcome it; Farrington sacked Kailua's other quarterback, Kale Sumner, four times.
"We were marred by penalties the whole game, and it went our way on one (at the end)," Okimoto said.
At the end of the first quarter, quarterback Alefesio Iu found Matt Stowers for a 11-yard diving touchdown catch to put the Govs up 7-0. Kailua answered with a Kaleo Wong 2-yard score with 5:25 to go in the third quarter. Wong finished with 21 rushes for 107 yards, while Ellis added 60 on eight carries.
Fernandez finished with 64 yards on 17 rushes, and Iu went 7-for-12 with 79 yards through the air.