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StarBulletin.com

Kahuku comes back on Castle


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POSTED: Saturday, October 31, 2009

No matter the obstacle or the situation, one thing has been a given all decade.

Kahuku doesn't lose this late in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red playoffs.

Viliami Pasi scored the game-winning touchdown with 27 seconds left and the Red Raiders continued a decade of dominance in the OIA playoffs by advancing to the title game for the eighth time in 10 years with a 19-14 comeback victory over Castle last night at Aloha Stadium.

The state's top-ranked team ran its record to 23-2 since 2000 in the OIA playoffs and has never lost in that span once it reached the semifinals.

“;This is the opportunity and the moment you dream about as a kid growing up,”; Kahuku coach Reggie Torres said. “;A winning drive to get what you want done accomplished and they did it.”;

Castle (6-4) nearly pulled off the unthinkable, coming from 10 points down to lead 14-13 all the way until the final minute. But Pasi, who has been slowed by a sprained ankle and a broken toe, scored on a 1-yard run with 27 seconds left to give Kahuku a chance to win its eighth OIA title this decade.

“;Our coach wanted somebody with a passion to play and he came to me and asked if I could play and I said 'yeah,' “; said Pasi, who hadn't practiced most of the week and didn't play the entire first half.

Pasi tallied 41 yards on seven carries, but gave the running attack just enough of a boost to open things up for quarterback Evan Moe. Moe hadn't completed a pass in the second half until going 4-for-4 on the final drive to set up Pasi's game-winning touchdown.

“;I just felt so happy. It's tough to get to this point in the OIA,”; Pasi said.

Castle's run-and-shoot offense was shredded by Kahuku defensive end Hauoli Jamora, who had four of his career-high five sacks in the first half.

An 82-yard interception return by TJ Tito in the opening minutes of the third quarter gave Kahuku a 13-3 lead.

But the Knights, who adjusted by double- and triple-teaming Jamora in the second half, got a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jaymason Lee to Shaydon Kehano to pull to 13-11 after a successful two-point conversion.

Derek Hillegass nailed a 44-yard field goal to put Castle up 14-13 late in the third quarter, but the Knights fell a minute short of holding the lead and pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the year.

“;They really came out and played well,”; Torres said. “;You've got to give them credit.”;

Kehano finished with 11 catches for 126 yards and Lee completed 22 of 46 passes for 229 yards, but was intercepted three times.

Limiting turnovers was a top priority for both teams, who combined for 21 fumbles in Kahuku's 30-6 win earlier this season.

After a fairly clean first quarter, both teams unraveled as Lee was intercepted twice in the second quarter and Moe once on the final play of the half.

Cameron Mercado hit field goals of 37 and 42 yards to give the Red Raiders a 6-0 lead. The Knights answered with a 36-yard field goal by Hillegass to cut the advantage in half when things got sloppy.

Castle recovered the ensuing onside kick, but fumbled three plays later. Kahuku handed the ball right back, as Tyrone Brown was stripped by Dustin Telefoni.

The Knights took over at the Kahuku 25, but Lee was intercepted by Kawehena Johnson for the third turnover in an eight-play span.

At Aloha Stadium

                                                                                                                                           
Castle (6-4)0311014
Kahuku (10-0)607619

Kah—FG Camern Mercado 37

Kah—FG Mercado 42

Cas—FG Derek Hillegass 36

Kah—T.J. Tito 82 interception return (Mercado kick)

Cas—Shaydon Kehano 22 pass from Jaymason Lee (Garrett Paredes run)

Cas—FG Hillegass 44

Kah—Viliami Pasi 1 run (pass failed)

RUSHING—Castle: Paredes 13-37, Lowen Rogers 3-(-2), Lee 7-(-5). Kahuku: Pasi 7-41, Tyrone Brown 8-30, Fonoivasa Mataafa 6-27, Ben Mamea 2-17, Pololu Silva 1-3, Blaze Kubota 1-3, Team 2-(-1), Sake Kaka 1-(-2), Evan Moe 5-(-12).

PASSING—Castle: Lee 22-46-3-229. Kahuku: Moe 11-25-2-124.

RECEIVING—Castle: Kehano 11-126, Hans Reppuhn 3-37, Rogers 2-28, Austin Dawson 2-19, Kaui Torres 2-(-3), Paredes 1-(17) Kai Kaniaupio 1-5. Kahuku: Shairone Thompson 4-60, Punga Vea 4-30, Kaipo Pearl 3-34.