Kahuku messes up Castle


POSTED: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hauoli Jamora returned a fumble for the go-ahead touchdown and No. 1 Kahuku turned a defensive stalemate into a 30-6 runaway last night at soggy Castle field.

Kahuku closed the regular season at 6-0 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East. The Red Raiders (8-0 overall) had already clinched the top seed in the division, but had no intention of letting up.

“;We want to be consistent,”; coach Reggie Torres said. “;We've got to get some corrections done. Castle did a good job. We just got some breaks on turnovers.”;

The game featured 21 fumbles, including 13 by Kahuku, on a slick field that was muddy only between the hashmarks. Kahuku lost only four of those fumbles. Castle had a grasp of the football for most of the first half, but high snaps out of its shotgun led to most of their eight fumbles, five of which were nabbed by the Red Raiders.

Castle (5-3, 3-3) had relatively few problems with the shotgun snap until a mid-second-quarter possession at its 30-yard line, when the ball sailed over quarterback Jaymason Lee's head. Jamora batted the ball forward at the 12, then scooped up the football at the 7 and raced in for a go-ahead touchdown. The Red Raiders led 9-6 with 3:24 remaining in the second quarter and never trailed again.

; “;It's miserable 'cause you're slipping all over, but it's fun, too, 'cause you get down and dirty,”; Jamora said. “;Andrews (Crowell) hit the quarterback and I got a good bounce.”;

With starter Evan Moe struggling with the snap, backup quarterback Sage Kaka entered for Kahuku in the final 1:07 of the half and directed a six-play, 59-yard scoring drive. The senior hit four of his five passes and Cameron Mercado set up for a 22-yard field goal with 7 seconds to go, but after a time out, Kahuku's offense returned to the field.

Kaka lost control of the shotgun snap for a second, then picked it up and weaved his way over the goal line for a 3-yard touchdown. The Red Raiders led 16-6 with 1 second left in the half.

Kahuku added a 1-yard play-action touchdown pass from Kaka to fullback Fonoivasa Mataafa with 5:17 left in the third quarter. Tigi Hill's 42-yard interception return lifted the Red Raiders to a 30-6 lead with 4:31 to go in the third.

Garrett Paredes gave Castle its best chance to score in the second half after blocking a punt by Mercado and returning the ball to the Kahuku 6. However, Castle turned over the ball on a bad snap on the next play.

Defensive tackle Veteson Sauni helped lead a swarming Kahuku defense that limited one of the state's most potent offenses to 161 yards.

“;I just stayed flat-footed. I tightened up my stance,”; the senior said.

Castle had the lead for much of the first half thanks to Kahuku's constant bout of fumble-itis. The visiting Red Raiders fumbled seven times before the half, losing three, all on under-center snaps.

Mercado missed on a 40-yard field-goal try on Kahuku's first series of the game, but the Red Raiders went ahead on a safety moments later. Sauni corralled Lee in the end zone, and freshman defensive back Kawehena Johnson finished the tackle to give Kahuku a 2-0 lead with 6:02 left in the first quarter.

A fumble recovery by Kehano at the Kahuku 45-yard line set up Castle's first score. Kehano, doubling at defensive back and wide receiver, scored one play later on a 45-yard bomb from Lee, and Castle led 6-2 with 2:49 to go in the first.

Castle's deepest drive of the half, to the Kahuku 18-yard line, stalled midway through the second quarter. Hill's deflection of a Lee pass to Lowen Rogers ended the drive.

Kehano finished with seven receptions for 112 yards and also had 87 yards in return yardage. Lee left the game in the second half after aggravating a leg injury.

Both teams have first-round byes when the OIA playoffs begin this weekend.