GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
'Iolani linebacker Carl Gibson intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles against Word of Life yesterday at Iolani.
‘Iolani dismantles Word of Life’s offense
Word of Life couldn't sneak up on a conference foe two weeks in a row.
No 9 'Iolani was well prepared for the Firebrands' unique rushing attack, holding Word of Life scoreless for the first time this season in a 35-0 win yesterday at Kozumi Stadium.
Jarrett Arakawa threw two touchdown passes and Kellen Imada finished with 135 total yards and two scores as the Raiders (4-1, 2-0 Interscholastic League of Honolulu) won their third game in a row. Word of Life (2-3, 0-2) dropped its second straight.
"I'm glad they played a game before we played them so we at least got to see what they do," 'Iolani coach Wendell Look said. "Our defensive unit played a really outstanding game.
The Firebrands made their ILH debut last week against Pac-Five, and stunned the Wolfpack with four first-quarter touchdowns on an array of runs from a multitude of running backs.
They brought the same attack at Iolani and were able to chalk up 162 yards on the ground, but were done in by eight turnovers.
"They've got some weapons and some (guys) with good skills," Look said. "We needed to come out and stop that right away."
Imada broke a 47-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead, but the Firebrands defense kept the game competitive.
Arakawa was just 2-for-10 passing to start the game and the Firebrands had the ball inside the Raiders 15-yard line early in the second quarter when things began to unravel.
'Iolani linebacker Carl Gibson, who also had one of the Raiders' four interceptions, recovered a fumble by quarterback Jacob DeKneef inside the 10 to stall Word of Life's longest drive of the game.
After a Raiders score pushed the lead to 14, the Firebrands fumbled the ball again on their next drive. 'Iolani sophomore Matthew Padaca scooped up the loose ball and returned it 39 yards for his first touchdown at the varsity level.
"I never felt that feeling before," Padaca said. "I got real lucky on that play."
Three plays later, Word of Life fumbled again, and Iolani answered immediately, as Imada scored on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Kela Marciel on his only pass of the game.
Word of Life tried to get tricky before the half, as Ryan Alvarado took a pitch from DeKneef and had a man open down the sideline. But his throw came up short and Gibson made the interception. That set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Arakawa to Hoohuli as 'Iolani scored four touchdowns in the final 5 minutes of the first half off of four turnovers.
"We had the game plan ready, so it wasn't a surprise for us," Padaca said. "We were prepared."
The Raiders have gone five consecutive years without losing in their first two league games, but have a lot to work on, especially offensively, if they wish to win their third state championship in four years.
"Very disappointed how we came out offensively again," Look said. "We have not gotten in sync yet. We're still trying to find ourselves a little bit."
'Iolani won by 35 points despite only outgaining the Firebrands by 13 total yards.
At Kozumi Stadium
|Word of Life (2-3, 0-2)
|'Iolani (4-1, 2-0)
Iol-Kellen Imada 47 run (Andrew Skalman kick)
Iol-Brandon Ball 8 pass from Jarrett Arakawa (Skalman kick)
Iol-Matthew Padaca 39 fumble return (Skalman kick)
Iol-Imada 33 pass from Kela Marciel (Skalman kick)
Iol-Keenan Hoohuli 16 pass from Arakawa (Skalman kick)
RUSHING-Word of Life: Kalai Bustos 12-58, Max Mower 10-41, Jacob DeKneef 9-23, Warren Malaki 3-13, Gabe Miller 4-6, Ryan Alvarado 9-6, Branson Silva 2-4, team 1-1. Iolani: Imada 12-102, Jaron Teramoto 1-4, Ammon Baldomero 2-(-1), Hoohuli 1-(-1), team 1-(-10), Jordan DePonte 2-(-13), Arakawa 2-(-26).
PASSING-Word of Life: DeKneef 0-6-3-0, Alvarado 0-1-1-0. Iolani: Arakawa 8-19-0-87, Marciel 1-1-0-33.
RECEIVING-Word of Life: none. Iolani: Hoohuli 5-50, Ball 3-37, Imada 1-33.