Manley's magic keeps Leilehua on track


POSTED: Sunday, November 23, 2008

With another cornerstone victory, the Leilehua Mules moved a step closer to the state championship on Friday.

They finished last season with five straight wins as Andrew Manley took the reins at quarterback. A 3-3 regular season in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West turned into an unprecedented voyage to the Division I state football crown.

Manley was magical again on Friday, completing 24 of 32 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium. The 34-15 win marked Manley's season high for touchdown passes, but his 32 attempts were only the sixth-most he's tossed in a game this fall. He is 15-2 as a starter since coming up from the JV late in the regular season last year.

For the Mules offense, it was about reading defensive end Mana Rosa and safety Mike Webb.

“;We knew that we had to stay away from 31, Mana Rosa,”; Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. “;He lines up over the right tackle, so we made sure we put our best guy on him. I thought they'd move him when we ran away from him. Once in a while, they kept us guessing.”;

The Mules understood that Baldwin had certain defensive tendencies.

“;They like to bring six guys on first down, so we ran a lot of man-cut blitz routes,”; Tokuda said of Manley's hot reads.

Defensively, Leilehua (10-2) limited Baldwin to an early touchdown. The Bears' late score came against Mule reserves.

“;Coach (Mark) Kurisu had them so well prepared. We go up against our defense every day, and it's frustrating, but it gets us ready for game day,”; Tokuda said.

Another lift for Leilehua was the 1,000 or so Mules fans who made their way to the Valley Isle.

“;We had admin, teachers, even a 15-member band,”; Tokuda said.

Kahuku, champion of the OIA, has never faced Manley. The Red Raiders get their chance this Friday at Aloha Stadium.

Ruling Governors

For one half, Kealakehe's stout defense seemed up to the task of slowing Farrington's bread and butter, the running game. By the end of the third quarter, the Govs used an air-tight, pestering defense and a triumphant ground attack to overpower the Big Island champions.

A fierce pass rush led by V.J. Fehoko put a wrench in Kealakehe's run-and-shoot offense. Farrington's offensive line—the “;Bamboolas”;—didn't allow a sack. Justin Momosea, Lindon Kahana, Paul Kama, Skylawn Folaumahina and Joseph Siliga wore down Kealakehe's defense. Farrington finished with 338 rushing yards and a 30-13 victory.

Next up for the Govs: Punahou.


Sabers leave their mark

Campbell might have been unseeded in Division II, but the Sabers played like champions in every way.

“;It was a very physical game, but none of the extra (unsportsmanlike) stuff you might see from other teams,”; Konawaena coach Aaron Nagata said. “;A good team. We had a nice banquet after the game.”;

Before the postgame meal, Campbell turned to its ground game and running back Brandon Ahuna to counter Konawaena's defense en route to a 25-15 win. Ahuna rushed for 112 yards, a season high, and Campbell finished with 209 rushing yards.

“;We played them to pass and they read our defense,”; Nagata said. “;They saw our safeties playing back. Their line was real big. Their backs did a good job following their blockers.”;

With a successful running game, quarterback Lalo Respicio had his lowest output of the season: 174 passing yards (15-for-30). His previous low had been 238 yards early in the year against Aiea. The Wildcats (10-3) had their best season in years despite a string of injuries that depleted a 46-man roster. While Campbell (11-1) prepares for next weekend's showdown with Iolani, the defending D-II state champion, Konawaena will start looking ahead. Defending their BIIF crown will be tougher after this year's senior class—32 strong—graduates.

“;It's about work habits, buying into the program and seeing that good things are happening,”; said Nagata, a former all-state defensive back for the 'Cats. “;The teachers, the community knows the student-athletes are really trying. We're real optimistic about our JV program. We only had 22 players, but we have fighters out there.”;


A hulkish Hogan effort

Sure, the Kauai Red Raiders and their run-and-shoot offensive stars are used to playing in the rain. However, when the downpour hit Vidinha Stadium during Friday night's Division II game with Radford, the meter leaned toward the balanced offense of the Rams.

Or did it? Radford lined up with a third-string running back in enemy territory and came away with a solid 17-7 victory over the previously unbeaten Red Raiders.

Sophomore Phil Hogan, a JV call-up, had 160 yards on 25 carries in his debut. With Tama Fiaseu and James Jennings out with injuries, Hogan got the reps at practice and had the game of his life.

Kauai quarterback Trey Shimabukuro faced a hellacious pass rush all night, which was no surprise to Rams coach Fred Salanoa. As the scout team quarterback—Salanoa was a record-breaking passer at Eastern Washington—he knew what was coming.

“;(At practice), our D-line was getting to me so quick. If they could get to me, I knew they could get to (Shimabukuro),”; Salanoa said.

“;I couldn't be happier about our players. It's rewarding when we have strangers coming up to us at the airport, the hotel, the mall, asking for the coach, and they all say your boys are respectful and well-behaved.”;

Radford (9-3) travels again for a semifinal battle with Lahainaluna on Friday.