HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Campbell comes through at home
Victimized once by thieves, the Campbell Sabers rose up to defend their home turf.
Campbell held off Kapolei to notch a 19-12 win in an Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West game yesterday afternoon.
The Sabers (now 1-2-1 overall) ran out to an early lead and then hung on to clinch their first win of the season to the delight of a black-and-orange clad homecoming crowd at Campbell's home field.
The theft of copper wiring from the stadium's light system forced Campbell to reschedule all its home games to daylight hours. The Sabers also had to deal with the consequences of the game-ending fight that curtailed their Aug. 25 matchup with Aiea. The OIA imposed a sanction that resulted in Campbell forfeiting its game with Waianae.
"It's a testament to (the players') character," Campbell coach Tumoana Kenessey said. "They played a quality team."
The Sabers' defense harassed Kapolei's sophomore quarterback, Noah Pascua, who took over when starting Hurricanes quarterback Mason Koa went down with leg cramps. Linebacker Obadiah Mataio forced a fumble on a sack of Pascua, and defensive end Chris Fuga recovered.
"We can't continue to spot teams with early touchdowns," said Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez, whose team fell to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Campbell cashed in three plays later, as Samson Anguay took an option toss sweep and dashed around right end for a 5-yard touchdown run with 8:08 left in the first quarter.
The Sabers' Wing-T attack kept Kapolei off-balance, and Campbell running backs amassed 258 yards on the ground, led by Bronson Ellis-Riveria's 88 yards.
"(The running game's) our bread and butter," Ellis-Riveria said. "Once we get going, it's hard to stop us."
Sabers' quarterback Kevin Newcomb only attempted eight passes, but his rare forays to the air proved effective. The rangy lefty hit Martin Kodama over the middle for a 50-yard hookup later in the first quarter. Tuvale Faafetai barreled through the Kapolei defense for a 16-yard run to push Campbell's lead to 13-0 with 5:42 left.
Kapolei's shotgun offense finally got untracked late in the quarter. The Hurricanes put together an efficient five-play, 81-yard drive, highlighted by Shenon Moore's 49-yard run to the Campbell 1. Pascua punched the ball in to bring Kapolei within 13-6 with 3:49 left in the first quarter.
The Hurricanes drove 71 yards for a touchdown to close the gap before halftime. Pascua settled into a groove, completing six straight passes, including four to Koa, who re-entered the game at receiver. Pascua capped the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Koa.
Pascua felt heavy pressure from the Campbell defense. Sabers linemen Fuga and Christian Kelii repeatedly chased Pascua out of the pocket and linebacker Bronson Alfafara-Pires wrapped up Pascua for a 10-yard sack to end the first half.
"(Pascua) acquitted himself quite admirably, but it's difficult to go into a game of this magnitude with a young quarterback," Hernandez said.
After a scoreless third quarter, Campbell pushed its lead to 19-12 with a 7-play drive exclusively on the ground, highlighted by Ellis-Riveria's 25-yard run.
"My O-line did a helluva job," said Ellis-Riveria. "They made some unreal holes."
Newcomb's 1-yard touchdown plunge capped the drive with 7:54 left.
Campbell withstood a late Kapolei push. The Sabers' defense stiffened after the Hurricanes drove to the Campbell 9-yard line.
A bobbled snap on a punt attempt gave Kapolei one last chance at the Campbell 27, but the 'Canes misfired on three shots at the end zone and Cory Freitas picked off Pascua with 40 seconds remaining in the game.
"We need to go back to the basics," Hernandez said. "It's still early in the season, but we need to right the ship and find our identity."