Iuta makes it up to Govs


POSTED: Saturday, November 01, 2008

Isiah Iuta went from goat to hero in a matter of minutes.

After committing a face-mask penalty that gave Leilehua an extra play for a potential game-winning field goal, Iuta blocked Maika Kunioka's 26-yard attempt to give Farrington a heart-stopping 26-24 victory over the defending state champion Mules in the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red playoffs last night at Aloha Stadium.

The Governors clinched a state tournament berth with the win. They also get a shot at the OIA title after a gut-wrenching fourth quarter that saw Farrington return two Andrew Manley interceptions for touchdowns, but nearly blow a nine-point lead in the final 4 minutes.

“;They answered the call defensively in the second half,”; Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. “;To score on defense, usually you don't do that, so those were big plays and these kids make big plays.”;

Manley finished 30-for-49 for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but also had three interceptions. Justin Vele returned Manley's second pick 52 yards for a touchdown to put the Govs up 19-17 in the fourth quarter. Four minutes later, Vaughn Tomas returned a pick 39 yards for a score to put the Govs up nine.

“;We were making sure they didn't come through on the fade routes they ran,”; said linebacker Sila Tonga, who had five tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. “;They were making the short routes, so we came up on it.”;

Things looked grim for the Mules, but Manley led Leilehua on a 64-yard drive in less than 2 minutes, finding Nate Hall for a 6-yard score to pull to 26-24.

Farrington tried to run out the clock using running back Apelu So'oalo, who finished with 135 yards and two touchdowns. But he was stuffed on third down, giving Leilehua the ball back on its own 35 with 57 seconds.

Manley began the Mules' final drive with two completions, but took a huge sack that set up fourth and 15. On the next play, Manley scrambled for 15 yards, just barely getting the first down, but the Mules were still well out of field-goal range.

Down to 6 seconds, Manley hit Matt Reyes for 20 yards, but four Govs swarmed him. With nowhere to go, the game was over until Iuta grabbed Reyes by the face mask, resulting in the flag as time expired.

“;I knew right away I made a mistake,”; Iuta said. “;I reached for his shoulder pads and I got his face mask.”;

Farrington called two timeouts to try to ice Kunioka, who hit a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter. Once the ball was snapped, Iuta blew across the line and slammed the ball back with two hands to send the Govs into the OIA title game.

“;I knew I couldn't have a mental breakdown after that during the timeouts,”; Iuta said. “;I had to use my mistake as motivation.”;

The Governors overcame four turnovers in the second quarter that resulted in 14 Leilehua points. Manley threw touchdown passes of 8 and 20 yards as Leilehua led 17-7 at the half, but three Mules turnovers kept the game close.

“;We should have put it away a little sooner,”; Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. “;Those are the little things that we'll try to work on for next week.”;

The Mules will have to beat Waianae in next week's third-place game to get a chance at defending their state title.

At Aloha Stadium

Farrington (8-2)7061326
Leilehua (8-2)3140724

Lei—FG Maika Kunioka 36
Far—Apelu So'oalo 26 run (Robert Molina kick)
Lei—Edieson Dumlao 8 pass from Andrew Manley (Kunioka kick)
Lei—Rico Newman 20 pass from Manley (Kunioka kick)
Far—So'oalo 29 run (kick failed)
Far—Justin Vele 52 interception return (run failed)
Far—Vaughn Tomas 39 interception return (Sooalo kick)
Lei—Nate Hall 6 pass from Manley (Kunioka kick)

  RUSHINGFarrington: So'oalo 25-135, Siaosi Feleunga 4-14, Dayton Kealoha 6-(-4). Leilehua: Carlos Marshall 5-9, Newman 6-(-2), Manley 6-(-5).

PASSINGFarrington: Kealoha 3-11-1-31. Leilehua: Manley 30-49-3-313.

RECEIVINGFarrington: Ani Isumu 2-10, So'oalo 1-21. Leilehua: Matt Reyes 9-70, Newman 8-69, Dumlao 6-47, Cheves Aberilla-Ramento 4-98, Marcus Breakfield 2-23, Hall 1-6.