Moanalua in battle
Alex Daniels may earn headlines, but Radford's defense could be the foundation for a championship.
Daniels ran for 263 yards and three touchdowns last night as Radford stymied Moanalua 35-13 at John Velasco Stadium.
The Rams improved to 4-0 in Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference play (4-1 overall) while handing Moanalua its first loss (3-1 league, 4-1 overall).
The key victory was a highly emotional event for the Rams.
"It's just another game, but the kids' emotions were running high," Radford coach Fred Salanoa said of the game between neighboring rivals. "Yeah, it's a rivalry, but we as coaches had to remind them it's just one game. In fact, we'll probably face them again in the playoffs."
Daniels, at just 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds, proved uncatchable for the Moanalua defense much of the night. He averaged 11 yards per carry and scored on runs of 9, 78 and 23 yards.
Still, it was Radford's defense that stepped up. The Menehunes pulled within 21-13 early in the fourth quarter, and midway through the fourth, they got the ball back on their own 10-yard line. Two plays into the possession, Radford linebacker Bronson Leafa read a screen pass perfectly and intercepted for a 9-yard touchdown return.
That broke the game open, with Daniels adding his final touchdown run with less than 2:25 to play.
"I feel OK," Salanoa said. "The only thing is, the little mistakes here and there. When (our) kids start to chirp off at the end of the game, that kind of stuff will hurt us in the long run."
Radford kept Moanalua's potent ground game under wraps much of the game. Menehune quarterback Stanford Leti rushed for just 39 hard-earned yards in 14 attempts.
"They've got a good quarterback. We just had to play disciplined football," Salanoa said of a unit led by Russell Wantowski.
The Rams dominated for much of the first half, scoring touchdowns in three of their five possessions. On the other two drives, Jamie Whitworth barely missed on field-goal tries of 53 and 52 yards, both without a tee.
Radford's first drive required only two plays to cover 55 yards. Ryan Burciaga connected with Kyle Blair for a 46-yard gain, and Daniels scored on a counter off left tackle for a 9-yard touchdown run. A botched snap on the PAT left the Rams ahead 6-0 with 9:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Midway through the quarter, Trevor Maldon broke three tackles en route to a 47-yard punt return to paydirt. Burciaga found tight end Mike Goodman wide open in the end zone on the PAT, and Radford led 14-0 with 3:35 to play in the opening quarter.
Moanalua's offense went three and out on its first four possessions. The Menehunes got good field position after an 11-yard punt by the Rams, driving to the Radford 3-yard line. However, on fourth and goal, Radford's Willie Pulou and Wantowski stuffed running back Jordan Monico up the middle to end the threat.
Four plays later, Daniels squirted through the Menehune defense for a 78-yard touchdown jaunt. Radford led 21-0 with 2:11 remaining in the second quarter.
Moanalua never lost composure, driving 71 yards in 13 plays, consuming 6 minutes and 26 seconds for its first touchdown. John Estores scored on a 5-yard run as Moanalua broke its scoring drought at the end of the third quarter.
The Menehunes needed far less time to score their next touchdown. Leti broke away for a 47-yard jaunt, cutting back against the grain on a keeper to bring his team within 21-13 with 8:50 to play in the fourth quarter. The Menehunes, however, got no closer.
OIA Red West
No. 9 Waianae 35, Nanakuli 0
Curtis Jones ran for 56 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Seariders to a win over the Golden Hawks.
The Seariders got the scoring started early in the first quarter on defense when Vincent Marcellino picked up a safety.
Golden Hawk receiver Alika Willacker caught two passes for 26 yards in the loss.
Kamehameha-Hawaii 44, Kohala 6
Kolten Wong rushed for 119 yards and three touchdowns and Leon Peralto kicked three field goals as the Warriors defeated the Cowboys.
Kelly Nakamura made 12 tackles and Virgil Bruno scored a touchdown for Kohala.
Investigation in player's death
Police have opened a negligent homicide investigation in the death of Kealakehe football player Royden Kalavi.
Kalavi, 17, died from injuries suffered in a two-car collision on Friday afternoon near the school. He was a passenger in the bed of a Ford pickup truck that rear-ended a Mazda sedan on Kealakehe Parkway. He died at Kona Community Hospital on Friday night.
Another passenger, who was in the bed of the truck, remains hospitalized.
"The patient is stable," nursing supervisor Kathy Kotecki said last night.
The Kona Police Department did not release the names of the others involved in the accident.
Kealakehe was scheduled to play Hawaii Preparatory Academy on Friday, but the game was canceled after news of the accident reached administrators and coaches. Kealakehe athletic director Mike Hernandez wanted to reschedule the game for tomorrow, but Hawaii Prep AD Stephen Perry declined.
The schools will discuss the rescheduling tomorrow with Big Island Interscholastic Federation executive director Keith Morioka.
"It's important to give the kids time to grieve," Morioka said yesterday morning. Kealakehe principal Wil Murakami has set up crisis counseling for students, Morioka added.
Late last year, Kealakehe student-athlete Sarah Rosenberg died in a multi-car accident on Queen Kaahumanu Highway.