Kahuku comes through


POSTED: Saturday, November 08, 2008

Inspired by the father, the son prevailed.

St. John Lessary III drilled a 26-yard field goal in the second overtime as Kahuku outlasted Farrington 22-19 for the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference championship last night at Aloha Stadium.

Lessary's kick ended a night of fierce defense and botched kicks by both teams, resulting in the tightest OIA title game in history.

Kahuku (10-1) earned a first-round bye for the upcoming First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships. Farrington (8-3) had already secured a state berth.

It was Kahuku's 12th win in the last 13 matchups with the Governors, including the last eight in a row. For Lessary, the field goal put his mind at peace after missing two earlier PATs.

“;I was just thinking about my dad, how proud he would be,”; Lessary said of lining up for the winning field goal. “;He's my mentor, my inspiration, my trainer. I already knew I had it in.”;

Farrington hasn't won an OIA Red title since 1990, when coach Randall Okimoto was a star running back.

“;Both teams played great and gave a valiant effort,”; Okimoto said. “;It came down to relaxing in pressure situations. Congrats to Kahuku.”;

Lessary's counterpart, Apelu So'oalo, also missed two PATs, as well as field-goal tries of 24 and 43 yards in the overtime periods. He rushed for a game-high 123 yards on 28 carries, despite a shoulder injury.

Kahuku quarterback Allan Kubota credited the defense.

“;They kept us in the game the whole time,”; he said. “;Defense wins championships.”;

Penalties nearly derailed the Red Raiders' ensuing drive, but they made up the yardage on Kubota's 37-yard strike to Aulola Tonga. That set up a trick play, a 23-yard halfback option pass from Lessary to Reupena Moors, to tie the game at 7-all with 3:04 to go in the first. Kahuku covered 64 yards in nine plays.

With quarterback Dayton Kealoha out of the game for Farrington, backup James Smith pumped right and went deep to the left for a 48-yard bomb to Ani Isumu. The PAT kick was wide left, but the Governors had a 13-7 lead with 5:16 to go in the first half.

The Red Raiders drove 57 yards in nine plays with their first possession and Moors hauled in his second touchdown pass, a 30-yard play-action strike from Kubota. Moors, backpedalling across the goal line to make the catch, tied it at 13-all with 5:04 to go in the third.

The PAT kick failed, though, leaving the game deadlocked into the fourth stanza.

On the first play of the fourth, Tonga picked off a pass by Smith and returned it 89 yards to paydirt, running over two would-be tacklers along the way.

Kahuku led 19-13 with 11:40 to go—a lead that seemed safe with Smith struggling.

However, Smith regrouped. He returned a punt 16 yards to the Kahuku 47, and the Govs drove the rest of the way. So'oalo, who reinjured his shoulder during Tonga's touchdown return, came back into the game for one play before succumbing. Harry Tuimaseve, his backup, stepped up with five carries for 32 yards, including a 3-yard burst out of the wishbone for a touchdown to tie the game at 19-all with 2:08 left.

Again, however, drama came with the point-after kick, which was wide left. Kahuku was conservative on its ensuing series, going three and out before punting. Farrington ran out the final 3 seconds of regulation.

Tonga was as relieved as anyone.

“;I was saying before the game that this was going to be a dream come true,”; he said. “;I saw Johnny-boy make that kick. It was a dream come true.”;

At Aloha Stadium

Farrington (8-3)76060019
Kahuku (10-1)70760322

Far—Apelu So'oalo 15 run (Robert Molina kick)
Kah—Reupena Moors 23 pass from St. John Lessary III (Lessary kick)
Far—Ani Isumu 48 pass from James Smith (kick failed)
Kah—Moors 30 pass from Allan Kubota (kick failed)
Kah—Aulola Tonga 89 interception return (kick failed)
Far—Harry Tuimaseve 3 run (kick failed)
Kah—FG Lessary 26

  RUSHINGFarrington: So'oalo 28-123, Harry Tuimaseve 15-60, Smith 3-5, Siaosi Feleunga 2-5, Kealoha 3-(-3). Kahuku: Alapeti Magalei 12-61, Kubota 11-40, A.J. Atuaia 7-25, Lessary 6-24, Viliami Pasi 6-18.

PASSINGFarrington: Kealoha 2-4-0-22, Smith 4-7-1-96, So'oalo 0-1-0-0. Kahuku: Kubota 2-4-0-66, Lessary 1-1-0-23.

RECEIVINGFarrington: Isumu 2-59, Sammy Park 2-29, Drake Miller 1-19, Alvin Faamasili 1-11. Kahuku: Moors 2-53, Tonga 1-36.