[ HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ]
Na Alii ride
defense past Rams
Aiea's victory over Radford last night certainly wasn't pretty, but football games aren't won with style points.
With the offense struggling, Aiea's defense pushed Na Alii to a 10-0 win over the host Rams in an Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference contest.
"Like I told the kids, ugly as it is, you have to be able to pull it out if you want to contend for a title," Aiea coach Wendell Say said. "Like they say, defense wins championships."
Aiea improved to 3-1 overall and remained undefeated in the conference at 3-0, Radford suffered its first loss in league play, slipping to 2-2 overall.
Neither team posted an offensive touchdown. Aiea took a 3-0 lead with a field goal on its first possession of the game, and sealed it on a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown by RJ Kiesel-Kauhane with 2:59 remaining.
Na Alii won despite throwing four interceptions and committing 18 penalties totaling 155 yards. But Radford couldn't take advantage of Aiea's miscues, turning the ball over six times, five of the turnovers coming in the second half.
"It was just little breakdowns by everybody," first-year Radford coach Fred Salanoa said. "(Aiea defensive coordinator) Mika Liilii called a good game on defense and we just couldn't capitalize on their mistakes when we had our chances."
The start of the game was delayed when several lights around the stadium went out just before kickoff and neither team could muster much power of its own in the first half.
Aiea kicker Brandon Puckett's 32-yard field goal at the 4:03 mark of the first quarter accounted for the only score of the first half.
Both teams struggled to mount consistent drives throughout the second half. Radford had its best scoring opportunity late in the fourth quarter.
A 54-yard connection from Stephen Baughn to Sunny Belcher gave Radford the ball at the Aiea 22. After three running plays resulted in a gain of 1-yard, the Rams called timeout with 3:19 left. On fourth-and-9, Baughn scrambled away from an Aiea blitz and tried to get the ball downfield. But the ball fell into the hands of Kiesel-Kauhane, who took it the distance to put the game away.
"Our defense did an excellent job today," Say said. "They've been very consistent for us, they've been keeping us in a lot of games. Our coaches are doing an excellent job bringing them together for each game."
At Radford H.S. field
Aiea -- FG Brandon Puckett 32
|Aiea (3-1, 3-0)
|Radford (2-2, 2-1)
Aiea -- RJ Kiesel-Kauhane 70 interception return (Puckett kick)
RUSHING -- Aiea: Raymond Tauala 10-34, Ben Ah Mook Sang 3-9, Kali Kuia 2-(-3), Lawrence Leovao 2-(-2), Donny Mapusaga 1-(-6). Radford: Roderick Price 6-8, James Armstrong 8-26, Stephen Baughn 6-30, Aaron Perry 2-13, Dennis Medina 1-(-1), Jason Opetaia 1-(-1).
PASSING -- Aiea: Kuia 18-37-4-185, Puckett 0-1-0-0. Radford: Baughn 6-13-4-86.
RECEIVING -- Aiea: Tauala 1-22, Alden DeMello 5-74, Jonathan Burgos 7-79, Ah Mook Sang 2-16, Mapusaga 1-(-8), Ian Dela Cuesta 2-3. Radford: Armstrong 1-3, Roscoe Paguirigan 1-16, Price 1-2, Sunny Belcher 2-61, Raymond Burciaga 1-4 .
Junior varsity -- Aiea 18, Radford 0.