HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Governors go to state tournament
Apelu So'oalo is not your ordinary outside linebacker.
In fact, the transfer from Fagatua High School in American Samoa turned out to be a gem for a Farrington squad diminished by academic and injury problems of late. So'oalo rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries as the ninth-ranked Governors overwhelmed No. 7 Kapolei 37-19 last night at Waipahu's field.
Football State Championships
Saturday, Nov. 17
Kealakehe vs. Waianae, 7 p.m., BIIF site
Baldwin vs. Farrington, 7 p.m., War Memorial Stadium
Saturday, Nov. 24
Saint Louis vs. Kealakehe/Waianae winner, 4 or 7 p.m., Aloha Stadium
Leilehua vs. Farrington/Baldwin winner, 4 or 7 p.m., Aloha Stadium
A hearty crowd of 2,000 saw Farrington (6-3-2) claim third place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference. The Govs secured the final berth into the Division I state championships and will face third-ranked Baldwin on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku.
"My motivation is to have fun at running the ball," said So'oalo, who started at running back because Joshua Fernandez and Dayton Kealoha were not able to play. All season long, he wore 53 on his jersey, but switched to 26 for his first start at tailback.
Kapolei closed its season 7-5. "The bottom line is, on any given night, Farrington could beat any team in the OIA," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said.
The Govs did it with a stellar defense led by James Smith, who had two interceptions, and relentless pursuit from Isaiah Iuta and Aaron Silva. Iuta had a team-high seven solo tackles and blocked a punt, while Silva had six tackles.
No Hurricane ballcarrier had more than 17 rushing yards, and Kapolei quarterbacks were a combined 8-for-27 for 65 yards. The 'Canes finished with just 134 total yards of offense.
Farrington coach Randall Okimoto's familiarity with Kapolei's spread offense was a factor. "It helps that I played in that offense," Okimoto said of his years at the University of Hawaii.
Kapolei rallied from a 13-point deficit to pull within 19-13 at halftime. During the third quarter, the 'Canes stripped the ball away from So'oalo for an apparent turnover, but officials blew the play dead.
"When we got that play called dead, that hurt us. Instead of our defense scoring a touchdown to take the lead, they went and scored on that drive.
With or without that call, Farrington's mammoth offensive line dominated the second half. So'oalo picked up 37 yards during that opening series of the third quarter, which culminated on a 29-yard field goal by So'oalo. The drive took more than 6 minutes off the clock and gave the Govs a 22-13 lead.
Five plays later, Smith returned an interception 43 yards to the Kapolei 5-yard line. So'oalo scored from the 1 to give his team a 30-13 lead with 3:31 remaining in the third quarter.
A three-and-out possession by Kapolei gave Farrington the ball back, and the Govs chewed more than 9 minutes off the clock on a 17-play, 76-yard drive. Fullback Anthony Noga scored off right tackle on a 3-yard burst and Farrington led 37-13 with 5:01 to play.
Kapolei defensive back Nate Dixon scored on a 12-yard fumble return with 3:04 remaining to close out the scoring. Hernandez was upbeat about his team's effort.
"We took another step forward in our growing," Hernandez said. "We beat Kahuku and got to the semifinals."
The 'Canes played without linebacker Cyril Ontai (cracked rib, collapsed lung), while linebacker Tim Brown and quarterback-receiver Mason Koa played with meniscus injuries. Defensive lineman Chad Lopati played on a bad ankle.
"We were a skeleton crew," Hernandez said. "The four playoff games were a gauntlet. We have nothing to be ashamed of."
So'oalo was one of several Govs who sat out last week's semifinal loss to Leilehua due to academic ineligibility. "I told my O-line, never think about getting tired. Just have fun running," he said.
Farrington scored touchdowns on its second and third possessions of the game. Iuta's punt block and Silva's return set the Govs up inside Kapolei territory. After a 26-yard pass from Alefesio Iu to So'oalo, So'oalo scored his first touchdown on a 7-yard run.
A 21-yard punt return by Smith gave Farrington another golden opportunity at the Kapolei 21-yard line. Six plays later, So'oalo scored on fourth and goal from the 1, and Farrington had a 13-0 lead with 36 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Noah Pascua connected with Koa for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 1:48 left in the half, but Farrington answered with a 52-yard bomb from Iu to Drake Miller. The Govs led 19-6 with 1:37 to go before intermission.
Pascua then found Koa open for a 44-yard touchdown pass to bring the 'Canes within 19-13 with 52 seconds remaining in the half.
Farrington 37, Kapolei 19
At Masa Yonamine Athletic Complex
Far--Apelu Sooalo 7 run (Lutua Folaumahina kick)
Far--Sooalo 1 run (kick failed)
Kap--Mason Koa 14 pass from Noah Pascua (kick blocked)
Far--Drake Miller 52 pass from Alefesio Iu (kick blocked)
Kap--Koa 44 pass from Pascua (Nacho Martinez kick).
Far--FG Sooalo 29
Far--Sooalo 1 run (Daniel Vaina pass from Iu)
Far--Anthony Noga 3 run (Folaumahina kick)
Kap--Nate Dixon 12 fumble return (pass failed)
RUSHING -- Kapolei: Koa 3-17, Bryan Tabion 5-16, Pascua 4-16, Trent McKinney 1-9, Keli'i Aki 1-7, Shenon Moore 4-7, Chase Alcott 1-2, Jason Recamara 3-(-5). Farrington: So'oalo 28-138, Noga 7-30, Iu 6-17, Vaina 1-9, Robert Molina 1-4, Cameron Matautia 1-(-4), Smith 2-(-20).
PASSING -- Kapolei: Pascua 5-12-1-45, Koa 2-9-0-17, McKinney 1-6-1-3. Farrington: Iu 6-13-0-110.
RECEIVING -- Kapolei: Koa 2-29, Brandon McKenzie 2-7, Moore 2-6, Alcott 1-17, Onosai Faumuina 1-6. Farrington: Miller 2-56, So'oalo 2-32, Noga 1-12, Ani Isumu 1-10.
Junior varsity --White Conference championship game: Waipahu 7, Nanakuli 6.