HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Castle rallies to victory
Castle continued its recent domination of Windward rival Kailua last night with some big plays down the stretch.
The Knights overcame a stagnant first half on homecoming night and made key defensive plays in the fourth quarter to rally for a 14-8 win over the Surfriders, remaining in the upper echelon of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East.
Castle extended its winning streak over the Surfriders to six, dating back to 2002.
Kailua's Lowen Tynanes-Perez racked up 168 first-half yards, including a 33-yard score to put the Surfriders up 6-0 early. But five more runs of 10 or more yards by the senior were called back due to costly blocking penalties, and even worse, Tynanes-Perez was knocked out of the game with a right ankle injury after a big gain with just minutes left before halftime.
It proved critical, as Kailua turned to Brandon Adviento to shoulder the brunt of the offense in the second half, but Castle was able to stymie the Surfriders without Tynanes-Perez's dynamic running.
"We were lucky that we got a couple breaks there," said Castle coach Nelson Maeda. "As bad as we played, and as good as Kailua played, we were still in it."
The Knights were held to a single offensive first down and 16 total yards in the first half, but were aided by 11 Kailua penalties for 120 yards. The Surfriders finished with 18 penalties for 165 yards.
"Penalties, fumbles, turnovers, when you add 'em all up, it's very, very difficult to win football games," Kailua coach Gary Rosolowich said.
He referred to Kailua's final big drive of the game, when it marched down the field behind long runs by Adviento. But just as the Surfriders looked poised for a comeback score, Castle's Alika Kekoanui forced a fumble, and two-way player Thomas Ilae fell on it at the Castle 24.
Castle also thwarted Surfrider drives in the final quarter with a Keokona Monteilh fumble recovery and a Kaua Olds interception on a Hail Mary with less than a minute left.
The Knights responded to their early struggles with a heads-up play halfway through the second period. After being forced to punt, the ball hit Kailua's return man and took a Castle bounce to the Kailua 1-yard line, where it was recovered by a sprinting Dylan Matsuda. On the ensuing play, Kawehi Sablan took a handoff from Ilae and dove through head first to knot things up at 6.