‘Iolani keeps its crown


POSTED: Saturday, December 06, 2008

 Too many weapons and too few mistakes were two reasons why ‘Iolani is once again the top Division II team in the state.

The Raiders defended their First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA D-II football state championship by pulling away from Radford, 35-20.

Two touchdowns within a minute in the fourth quarter sealed ‘Iolani’s third championship in four years. Kela Marciel broke loose for a 70-yard TD run with 9 minutes, 44 seconds left, then Kellen Imada capitalized on teammate Carl Gibson’s interception with a 49-yard burst up the middle for a 35-14 lead at 8:52.

Imada finished with 119 yards on 17 carries (7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns as the Interscholastic League of Honolulu D-II champion Raiders emphasized the run in their run-and-shoot offense.

‘Iolani (11-3) now owns half of the six Division II state football titles since their advent in 2003. Coach Wendell Look was awed at his team’s performance afterward.

“I think there’s too many,” Look said of key plays down the stretch. “(Our) defense played almost the whole third quarter, and for them to go out there and hang tough ... is amazing.”

The errors were few and far between for a disciplined ‘Iolani team (two penalties). Even when junior quarterback Jarrett Arakawa (6-for-11, one TD) threw a pick for the Raiders’ only turnover, he did so far downfield and didn’t set up Radford (10-4) for an easy score.

In a rematch of the 2005 final, the score was nearly the same. ‘Iolani beat Radford 34-20 that year.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association White runner-up Rams — who moved down from the Red division this year — nearly doubled up ‘Iolani in time of possession, 31:44 to 16:15. But it didn’t matter as ‘Iolani scored on lightning-quick strikes. Look thought the Rams outplayed his team for much of the game, despite flashy plays like the breakaway score from quarterback-turned-cornerback-turned-running back Marciel.

Marciel demonstrated his ability by breaking a tackle on a sweep to the left, reversing direction and stiff-arming a defender before blowing past everyone in the open field for the play of the game.

“We’ve been practicing that all week,” said the senior Marciel, whose 70-yarder was the longest scoring play from scrimmage in any D-II title game. “They stuffed it, just like the first time, but I saw an opening on the right side. Jarrett threw me a good block and I just took it home.”

Radford coach Fred Salanoa declined to comment on two occasions after the game.

‘Iolani absorbed a shot in the mouth just 14 seconds into the game. Radford’s Sean Ouchie took a Raiders onside kick attempt on the run and returned it 38 yards. On the ensuing first play from scrimmage, quarterback Mosiah Manuma rolled out and hit Andrew Forester for a 22-yard TD strike.

Manuma  — also a safety and punter — finished with a respectable 21-for-33 passing night with 167 yards and two touchdowns. But Radford’s ground game never got going, as the Rams posted 67 yards on 33 carries (2 yards per carry).

‘Iolani defensive lineman Sealii Epenesa was a beast in the trenches with 10 tackles, 1 1/2  sacks and four tackles for loss.

The Raiders answered the early score when Imada burst through the middle to run untouched for a 34-yard score to tie things at 7.

‘Iolani closed the first half with a second score to go up 14-7. Breland Almadova (who also intercepted backup QB Doug Brown) put the Raiders in excellent position with a 26-yard punt return to the Rams 38. Three plays later Arakawa found a streaking Trevyn Tulonghari for a 27-yard scoring strike with 35 seconds left.

The Rams caught the Raiders napping coming out of halftime. Their onside kick was successful and Radford completed an eight-play scoring drive with an 18-yard rollout pass from Brown to Brad Osborne on fourth down.

Almadova responded with a 67-yard kickoff return TD by weaving among defenders from right to left and sprinting along his team’s sideline to paydirt and a 21-14 lead.

With no time left on the clock, Manuma hit Osborne with a 9-yard pass for the final score.

Iolani 35, Radford 20

At Aloha Stadium

Radford (10-4)7076-20
Iolani (11-3)77714-35

Rad-Andrew Forester 22 pass from Mosiah Manuma (Cody Spraker kick)

Iol-Kellen Imada 34 run (Andrew Skalman kick)

Iol-Trevyn Tulonghari 27 pass from Jarrett Arakawa (Andrew Skalman kick)

Rad-Brad Osborne 18 pass from Doug Brown (Spraker kick)

Iol-Breland Almadova 67 kickoff return (Skalman kick)

Iol-Kela Marciel 70 run (Skalman kick)

Iol-Imada 49 run (Skalman kick)

Rad-Osborne 9 pass from Manuma (no kick)

  RUSHING-Iolani: Imada 17-119, Marciel 4-70, Arakawa 2-6, Ammon Baldomero 1-(-1). Radford: Phil Hogan 10-35, Doug Brown 3-26, Pouesi Togiailua 4-12, Shawn Putman-Curry 1-5, Tama Fiaseu 2-0, Manuma 12-(-1).

PASSING- Iolani: Arakawa 6-11-1-65. Radford: Manuma 21-33-0-167, Brown 4-6-2-40.

RECEIVING-Iolani: Tulonghari 2-39, Kevin Barayuga 2-15, Keenan Hoohuli 1-7, Imada 1-4. Radford: Putman-Curry 8-59, Forester 4-49, Osborne 4-38, Hogan 3-20, Jared Victorino 2-16, Deshawn Robinson 2-11, Robert Limos 1-15, Togiailua 1-(-1).