Raiders can run


POSTED: Sunday, September 27, 2009

So it's come to this, after all.

'Iolani, one of the earliest local prep programs to adopt the run-and-shoot—not long after Ron Lee's version of the four-wide offense led Kaiser to a Prep Bowl title—has become deceptively balanced.

With Wendell Look and his staff fine-tuning every piston, valve and spark plug, the Raiders have emerged as champion of the last two Division II state tournaments. They've risen to a 4-0 record in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (6-1 overall) with wins over Kamehameha—which has arguably the finest defense in the state—and defending D-I state champ Punahou on Friday.

But for all of 'Iolani's no-huddle, run-and-shoot precision, one element separates Look's version of the vaunted offense from that of, say, an aerial genius (or madman) like June Jones.

The former University of Hawaii coach daydreamed of a game without a single rushing attempt. 'Iolani? The Raiders passed the ball 34 times against a tough Punahou defense. They also ran 32 times, not including the final kneel to the grass by quarterback Jarrett Arakawa. Ammon Baldomero took his licks, churning out 75 tough yards on 25 carries.






No. 6 'Iolani 35
No. 8 Punahou 12



Though Arakawa threw the ball just 11 times in the second half, that had more to do with Punahou than anything. In the first half, when Arakawa went 12-for-23 with three touchdown passes for 152 yards, 'Iolani also ran the ball 19 times for 42 hard-earned yards.

Some passing gurus would junk the ground game at that point. Not Look. The Raiders excel at dictating the tempo, using the play clock to the fullest if necessary, while taking what myriad complex defenses offer.

On Friday, Punahou often showed a three-man front, occasionally with only two linebackers for support. At times, safety Brian Suite was one of those 'backers, the better to cover 'Iolani's agile, sure-handed receivers.

Of Arakawa's 34 hurls into the atmosphere, only two were dropped. Though they have some of the smallest pass catchers in the ILH, the Raiders have developed an affinity for holding onto Arakawa's passes.

“;They've got heart. They put out as much as they can,”; said Arakawa, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior who is as big as his bodyguards up front.

The starting offensive line of Ryo Chow (5-9, 200), Micah Baclig (6-0, 210), Ty Koon (6-0, 230), Grant Yonemoto (5-7, 180) and Dave Miyamoto (6-0, 215) allowed just one sack by Punahou.

The Buffanblu moved the ball between the 20-yard lines often enough and finished with 296 total yards. Six giveaways, however, melted their opportunities away on a hot, drizzly afternoon at Eddie Hamada Field.

Punahou, of course, is not out of the D-I race in the ILH. At 2-2, Punahou (2-4 overall) is just one loss behind Kamehameha and Saint Louis.

“;We've been down before,”; coach Kale Ane said, referring to last year, when Saint Louis led the ILH race most of the way before the Buffanblu claimed the league crown. “;You really don't know how great you can be 'til you're tested.”;






        Consecutive wins by Punahou over 'Iolani before the Raiders beat the Buffanblu on Friday. Although 'Iolani was within a touchdown in four of those losses, the Buffanblu outscored the Raiders 149-46 in the last three meetings.

        Points given up by Kahuku's defense in four league games this season after shutting out Kaimuki yesterday. Kahuku has three shutouts so far, yielding its only points on a pair of touchdown passes in a 38-12 win over Roosevelt.


        Consecutive losses by Kalani after losing to Kalaheo yesterday. The Falcons beat Roosevelt 21-19 to open the 2004 season to break a string of 27 straight defeats. Kalani plays Pearl City at Kaiser on Saturday.






        Kailua running back Clinton Aina ran over Roosevelt for 138 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns, two of them longer than 50 yards.

        Leilehua's Andrew Manley had another great game, throwing for 344 yards on 19-for-32 passing with three touchdowns in a win at Waianae.


        Shaydon Kehano of Castle had his way with McKinley yesterday, grabbing six passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns before calling it a night at halftime.