Mercado kicks Kahuku to win


POSTED: Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cameron Mercado's kicking ability has given Kahuku an offensive dimension the likes of which it has never had.

Now, he's given the Red Raiders something they're used to having.

Mercado's 28-yard field goal in overtime moved the Red Raiders into the state title game for the seventh time with a 9-6 victory over hard-luck Farrington in the semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I State Football Championships last night at Aloha Stadium.

Mercado's three field goals accounted for all of Kahuku's points, and the Red Raiders will try for their sixth state title since the end of the Prep Bowl era 11 years ago.

“;Just a well-fought game,”; said coach Reggie Torres, who guided the Red Raiders to the state crown in 2006 in his first season at the helm. “;Farrington played their hearts out and it's a shame somebody had to lose because it was a great football game.”;





        The Red Raiders have dominated this rivalry since a 21-20 loss to the Governors in the 2002 OIA quarterfinals, winning the last 12 meetings.




Sept. 26Kahuku40-7
Oct. 31Kahukux-42-18
Nov 28Kahukuy-35-7
Sept. 17Kahuku41-0
Sept. 30Kahuku43-0
Nov. 4Kahukux-35-0
Sept. 29Kahuku38-0
Sept. 28Kahuku27-12
Oct. 3Kahuku13-6
Nov. 7Kahukux-22-19
  2 OT
Oct. 2Kahuku16-14
Nov. 27Kahukuy-9-6


        x—OIA playoffs y—state tournament




One glance at each sideline told the story of another nail-biting classic between two Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East rivals. Although the Governors (9-3) lost their 12th straight game to Kahuku, it once again came down to the final moments.

But like a two-point loss earlier this year and a double-overtime defeat in the OIA championship game in 2008, Farrington just hasn't found a way to knock off the Red Raiders.

“;The little things always come back to bite us at the end, and it's something we just have to learn,”; Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. “;You can't say we haven't had our opportunities. We just haven't been able to do anything with them.”;

Gritty running back Harry Tuimaseve tried all he could to carry the Governors to their first state title game. The 5-foot-10 senior running back carried the ball 29 times for 185 yards against one of the best defenses in the state. He accounted for the game's only touchdown on a 1-yard dive in the second quarter, but a blocked extra point was the difference.

Mercado, a transfer from Florida, booted a 49-yard field goal at the end of the first half to put Kahuku on the board. A 36-yarder with less than 5 minutes remaining in the game sent it into overtime, and his 28-yarder after Farrington turned the ball over on its only possession in the extra frame split the uprights in half.

“;I put the topping on the cake basically,”; Mercado said. “;I was thinking how hard this team has worked and I made the kick for our team.”;

Mercado was the only difference in a game that couldn't have been much closer. Kahuku had a whopping 5 more yards of total offense (250 to 245) and both teams had the same number of punts (seven) and turnovers (one).

Both turnovers resulted in points for the other team, but Farrington's big mistake came at the critical moment. On the second play of overtime, defensive end Keoni Tafuna sacked Justin Hakuole and forced a fumble that was scooped up by Hauoli Jamora.

“;I beat the pulling guard by just a second, but it was enough to get to the quarterback,”; Tafuna said. “;I was just thinking 'get the quarterback down' and knocked the ball loose.”;

Jamora, the highly touted defensive end who had 10 sacks in his two previous games, didn't have many opportunities to rush Hakuole, who only threw the ball 12 times. He finished with only two tackles, but broke up two passes at the line of scrimmage and blocked the extra point that wound up being the difference.

“;We had to focus on stopping the run, so I had to be more patient and hold my spot on the line,”; Jamora said. “;They are a physical team and it was a war out there.”;

Kahuku quarterback Evan Moe finished 12-for-27 for 104 yards and was sacked three times. Viliami Pasi led Kahuku's multitude of running backs with 68 rushing yards, but it took Kahuku 37 carries to gain 146 yards on the ground, nearly 40 yards less than Tuimaseve had by himself.

“;He's tough, man, as tough as they come,”; Jamora said. “;That's the whole key to stopping them.”;

Ben Mamea had a team-high 13 tackles and Tafuna had seven tackles in addition to Kahuku's only sack of the game. Seth Ilae led the Govs with eight tackles and linebacker Lancelot Williams was in on two of Farrington's three sacks.



At Aloha Stadium

Farrington (9-2)060006
Kahuku (11-0)030339

Far—Harry Tuimaseve 1 run (kick blocked)
Kah—FG Cameron Mercado 49
Kah—FG Mercado 37
Kah—FG Mercado 28

RUSHING—Farrington: Tuimaseve 29-185, Siaosi Feleunga 11-42, Jared Hakuole 4-(-12). Kahuku: Viliami Pasi 17-68, Fonoivasa Mataafa 9-29, Tyrone Brown 4-21, Evan Moe 6-16, Pololu Silva 1-12.
PASSING—Farrington: Hakuole 2-12-0-30. Kahuku: Moe 12-27-0-104.
RECEIVING—Farrington: Alvin Faamausili 1-17, Ranold Williams 1-13. Kahuku: Punga Vea 7-64, Sage Kaka 2-37, Kaipo Pearl 2-6, Mataafa 1-(-3).