Roosevelt brings it home against No. 8 Castle


POSTED: Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Roosevelt Rough Riders were looking for a turning point.

For their game against No. 8 Castle on Friday. For their season.

And for their seniors, who hadn't experienced a homecoming victory. That is, until the Rough Riders stunned the Knights with a 36-21 victory at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.

The Riders also stayed in the playoff hunt in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East by picking up their first league win of the season.

First-year Roosevelt coach Pat Silva tempered his excitement afterward, but his team was undeniably jacked up as it celebrated behind him.

“;Well, I think it's one win,”; Silva said. “;We still got three games left (Kaimuki, Kailua, McKinley), and those three guys are just as tough as any of the three teams we just played to start the conference. You can't take anything lightly.”;






No. 8 Castle21



Roosevelt (1-2, 2-3 overall) got its turnaround delivered through the air, as junior quarterback Matthew Lono-Holani threw four touchdown passes against one interception. He finished 18-for-27 for 288 yards after a shaky start dealing with Castle's relentless blitzes.

The 5-foot-7 signal-caller didn't want to go down 0-3 in league play.

“;Oh, it was real big,”; Lono-Holani said. “;Especially because it was homecoming. So it meant a lot to us.”;

Junior receiver Ese Tago starred in hauling in eight passes for 133 yards and two third-quarter scores that put the Riders ahead for good. His signature play: a 70-yard TD strike on a crossing pattern in which he turned the corner around a key block near the right sideline at midfield and sprinted for paydirt.

“;We did this for the seniors,”; Tago said. “;The seniors never did win a homecoming game. It feels so good winning it (for that), you know what I mean?”;

It didn't look good for the Riders right out of the gate, as the Knights' most dangerous player, senior wideout Shaydon Kehano, took the opening kickoff untouched 94 yards for a lightning-quick score.

But the Riders had already tasted defeat at the dinner tables of ranked foes Kahuku and Farrington. They weren't intimidated, and defensive lineman Joshua Monteilh returned a blocked punt on the run, courtesy of a perfect bounce 30 yards out, for the special teams counterpunch.

At halftime, with Castle leading 15-14, Roosevelt solved the Knights' blitzing schemes, and Lono-Holani hit his receivers with darts up the middle. The Riders also got TD grabs by Kaipo Pale and Aston Koki, and didn't allow Castle's spread offense to attain any consistency.

“;I think their offensive line did a great job of picking up our blitzes,”; Castle coach Nelson Maeda said. “;We couldn't get to the quarterback in time; he had time to complete his passes. And that really hurt us.”;

Up next for Roosevelt is Kaimuki next week on the Bulldogs' own homecoming at Vasconcellos Stadium.