No. 1 Kahuku makes a stand


POSTED: Saturday, October 24, 2009

Never mind the No. 1 ranking, the Kahuku Red Raiders know better than to do their haka dance after a victory.

They danced well last night, stopping Mililani running back Dalaunte “;Taz”; Stevenson at the 1-yard line with 13 seconds to play, preserving a thrilling 35-27 win before about 4,000 at Carleton Weimer Field.

The hard-earned win lifted Kahuku (9-0 overall) into the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference playoffs. Mililani's season ended at 7-3 overall despite a heroic effort.

The Trojans trailed by 15 points in the fourth quarter, but rallied to cut the lead to eight, then started a drive from their own 17. A 15-yard lob from Trent McKinney to Hassan Richardson gave Mililani first and goal at the 1-yard line. Two sneaks by McKinney were stuffed, and after a Kahuku time out, Stevenson was stopped by lineman Kona Schwenke.

Time ticked down and Mililani lined up for another dive play to Stevenson, who was hit again by Schwenke, then wrapped up by linebacker Ben Mamea as he fumbled. Johnny Tupola, one of several two-way starters, recovered for Kahuku, ending Mililani's upset bid.

“;Our coach (defensive coordinator David Te'o) said to stack the gaps. Mililani did a good job moving the ball,”; Schwenke said of the clutch defensive play by the Red Raiders.

“;It feels good. Our goal is to win the OIA, then states, so this is a big step,”; said Schwenke, who has committed to play at BYU.

McKinney finished with 348 passing yards against one of the top defenses in the state. Kahuku's rushing attack, with 129 yards by Tyrone Brown and a key touchdown run by Mamea, controlled the clock just enough. Kicker Cameron Mercado was a key factor, bombing four kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

“;It's a good feeling. A lot of players went down and a lot of defensive boys went both ways,”; Mamea said.

Mililani established its ground game not with its running backs, but on quarterback draws by McKinney, who used more cutbacks and shiftiness than pure speed to rack up 38 rushing yards in the first half.

The Trojans' game-opening series took 6 minutes and 13 seconds off the clock as McKinney hit on all six of his pass attempts before handing the ball to Stevenson for a 1-yard touchdown. The 12-play scoring drive gave Mililani a 7-0 lead with 5:47 left in the first quarter.

Kahuku went nowhere with its first three possessions, but a 37-yard coffin-corner punt by Mercado pinned the visitors at their 4-yard line. That led to a 16-yard punt by McKinney that went out of bounds at the Mililani 20-yard line.

However, the Red Raiders failed to capitalize. Tupola couldn't grasp Evan Moe's option pitch, and instead of an easy touchdown jaunt, the ball bounced into the hands of Mililani linebacker Aleni Aiono for a turnover.

Kekoa Ramos stymied Kahuku with a leaping interception at the Mililani 25-yard line, but the Trojans gave the ball away four plays later. A premature shotgun snap bounced off McKinney's face mask and was recovered by Schwenke at the Mililani 40-yard line.

Kahuku inserted Mamea, their reliable linebacker, at running back, and he picked up 24 yards on two carries, including a 7-yard touchdown up the gut, and the game was tied at 7 with 7:56 to go in the second quarter.

Mililani answered on its next series, driving 80 yards in just five plays with the help of a personal-foul penalty on Kahuku. McKinney hit Richardson on a 30-yard lob and Kama Paulo for 21 more yards before scoring easily on a 6-yard run up the middle. Mililani led 14-7 with 5:36 remaining in the first half.

Another Mililani interception, this time by Kris Ornellas, triggered an eight-play, 58-yard touchdown drive by the Trojans. McKinney snuck over from the 1-yard line, but the PAT kick was blocked. Mililani led 20-7 with 1:02 left in the half.

Kahuku surprised the Trojans by going 71 yards in just five plays before the half. Moe's scramble and 41-yard toss to Punga Vea in the end zone pulled the Red Raiders within 20-14 with 12 seconds left.

The Red Raiders went ahead with their second series of the third quarter on Brown's 4-yard run off left tackle. That capped a five-play, 72-yard march sparked by Brown's 52-yard jaunt, also on the left side. Kahuku led 21-20 with 6:15 left in the third.



At Carleton Weimer Field

Mililani (7-3, 5-3) 7130727
Kahuku (9-0, 7-0) 01414735

Mil—Dalaunte Stevenson 1 run (Reid Watanabe kick)
Kah—Ben Mamea 7 run (Cameron Mercado kick)
Mil—Trent McKinney 6 run (Watanabe kick)
Mil—McKinney 1 run (kick blocked)
Kah—Tyrone Brown 4 run (Mercado kick)
Kah—Sage Kaka 17 pass from Moe (Mercado kick)
Kah—Fonoivasa Mataafa 19 run (Mercado kick)
Mil—Colby Lum 24 pass from McKinney (Watanabe kick)

RUSHING—Mililani: Stevenson 6-(-2), McKinney 22-67, Zachary Payomo 5-22, Edward McKinnon 1-2, team 1-(-1), Watanabe 1-1. Kahuku: Johnny Tupola 8-37, Moe 4-9, Brown 15-129, Mataafa 2-19, Mamea 5-33.
PASSING—Mililani: McKinney 22-37-0-348. Kahuku: Moe 8-13-2-133.
RECEIVING—Mililani: Richardson 8-98, Lum 5-82, Stevenson 3-69, Bryson Calma 3-69, Kama Paulo 2-27, Spencer Sword 1-3, Nainoa Pihana 1-0. Kahuku: Vea 2-53, Sage Kaka 2-34, Jackson Kaka 1-18, Shairone Thompson 1-13, Mataafa 1-10, Kaipo Pearl 1-5,
Junior varsity—Kahuku 19, Kapolei 7