Paderes carries Kaimuki to title
Darren Johnson knew instantly it wasn't going to take much to turn around a program searching for success on the football field.
"The first thing I noticed is these guys were eager and hungry to win," the first-year Kaimuki coach said. "We just got the kids to make the commitment and they did the rest."
That commitment was rewarded last night, as the Bulldogs won their first Oahu Interscholastic Association title in football with a 21-12 victory over Roosevelt in the White division championship at Aloha Stadium.
Junior running back Justin Paderes carried the ball 31 times for 242 yards and scored two second-half touchdowns as the Bulldogs (10-1) clamped down after intermission to knock off the Rough Riders (6-3-1).
"We started making plays," Johnson said. "In the first half we were standing around watching instead of going out there and making something happen."
The Bulldogs are only three years removed from back-to-back winless seasons and a stretch of 19 consecutive losses. After a season-opening loss to Aiea, Kaimuki has won its last 10 games.
"He brought in the attitude that we can win and show people we're for real," Paderes said. "It just feels so great, I could cry right now."
Paderes found most of his running room on the left side behind Albert Iokepa and 6-foot-3, 290-pound left guard Alex Foster-Laifa, who continually paved the way for Paderes to rack up another 200-plus-yard game.
"(My line) is so big that I can hide behind them when I hit the holes," Paderes said. "They have done it for me all season long. It's all heart with this team."
Paderes and Roosevelt running back Ranson Tuitama entered the game as the marquee playmakers for each team. While Paderes ran wild, Tuitama was held to 10 rushing yards in the final three quarters after exploding for 68 and a touchdown in the opening 12 minutes.
"We came in with the goal of shutting down (Tuitama)," Bulldogs linebacker Clay Montiho said. "We gave up some stuff early, but our D-line really stepped up and shut him down."
Rough Riders quarterback Lowen Kahooilihala threw for 190 yards, but was intercepted twice as the Bulldogs defense forced three turnovers.
The Bulldogs killed themselves with two crucial turnovers deep in Roosevelt territory in the first half.
A fumble by Paderes inside the 5-yard line set up an 11-play, 97-yard drive by the Rough Riders. Tuitama scored from a yard out to give Roosevelt the early lead, but it missed the extra point.
The Bulldogs answered with a 1-yard touchdown run of their own by Kapono Kaiwi-Barrionnebo on the first play of the second quarter.
Kaimuki maintained its 7-6 lead until Roosevelt struck with 27 seconds left in the first half. On the first play following a Bulldogs punt, Kahooilihala faked an option run and found a wide-open Alex Fowler streaking down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown to put the Rough Riders up 12-7 going into halftime.
"I told our kids not to get uptight and worry about it because we knew we could score," Johnson said. "Our guys were afraid of making plays instead of playing to win."
The Bulldogs reclaimed the lead by two on a 7-yard touchdown run by Paderes with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. The Rough Riders tried a fake punt on fourth down, but couldn't convert the play, giving the Bulldogs the ball near midfield. Paderes had four carries for 31 yards on the ensuing drive and a key 19-yard pass from Kaiwi-Barrionnebo to Chris Fiamate helped set up the score.
Paderes scored his second touchdown of the game from 8 yards early in the fourth quarter.
Despite the loss, the Rough Riders still qualified for the Division II state tournament beginning next week.
Kaimuki 21, Roosevelt 12
At Aloha Stadium
|Roos--Ranson Tuitama 1 run (kick failed)
|Kaim--Kapono Kaiwi-Barrionnebo 1 run (Tavita Aholeilei kick)
|Roos--Alex Fowler 55 pass from Lowen Kahooilihala (pass failed)
|Kaim--Justin Paderes 7 run (Aholeilei kick)
|Kaim--Paderes 8 run (Aholeilei kick)
|RUSHING--Roosevelt: Tuitama 14-78, Matt Kualii-Moe 1-(-7), Kahooilihala 4-(-18). Kaimuki: Paderes 31-242, Aholeilei 6-61, Josh Gacusana 3-22, Romnick Paguraya 2-10, Maua Tuitele 1-7, Kaiwi-Barrionnebo 6-(-15).
|PASSING--Roosevelt: Kahooilihala 13-28-2-190, Fowler 0-1-0-0, Tuitama 0-1-0-0. Kaimuki: Kaiwi-Barrionnebo 8-15-1-84.
|RECEIVING--Roosevelt: Justin Otaguro 5-59, Fowler 4-95, Lowen Furata-Harada 3-29, Tuitama 1-7. Kaimuki: Chris Fiamate 3-35, Chezz Ramos-Dias 3-31, Aholeilei 1-18, Paguraya 1-0.
Football State Championships
Saturday, November 17
» Kaimuki vs. Hawaii Prep, 7 p.m., OIA site
» Kauai vs. Roosevelt, 7 p.m., KIF site
Saturday, November 24
» Lahainaluna vs. Kaimuki/Hawaii Prep winner, 7 p.m., War Memorial Stadium
» Iolani vs. Kauai/Roosevelt winner, TIME TBA, Oahu site