Kahuku rallies for the Red


POSTED: Saturday, November 07, 2009

Kahuku's cardiac kids did it again.

The Red Raiders came up with a gadget play—a reverse toss to wide receiver Punga Vea—that turned into a 44-yard touchdown with 5:06 left for a heart-stopping 24-20 win over Leilehua for the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference championship.

It's their second OIA Red title in a row and sixth in the past seven years, and again, the heart of the crown came from Kahuku's defense. Hauoli Jamora was a huge factor with five of his team's eight sacks. The Red Raiders limited Leilehua's Andrew Manley to 245 passing yards (23-for-35).

“;We know he's accurate, so we tried to bring the pressure,”; Jamora said. His partners in the trenches, Kona Schwenke and Veteson Sauni, combined for three sacks.

Top-ranked Kahuku (11-0) will have an opening-round bye in the state tournament, which kicks off in two weeks. Leilehua (7-3), ranked No. 3 in the state, will travel and play Baldwin in two weeks.

“;We'll take it as another game. Tomorrow, we'll come back and fix our mistakes,”; Manley said. “;Our prayers and wishes are with Mana.”;

Leilehua receiver Kamana Akagi suffered a serious injury in the fourth quarter and was transported to a hospital.

After taking the lead in the late going, the Red Raiders withstood two possessions by Leilehua. Kahuku stopped the Mules on downs at mid-field with 2:15 left, and again after Leilehua gained possession at its 20-yard line with 44 seconds remaining.

The Mules tried a last-ditch double pass from their end zone as time expired, and Manley's pass found Kyle Cruse Gombio at midfield, but he was stopped at the 40-yard line to end the game.

The first half was prime-time quality viewing for a statewide TV audience. Kahuku's hard-hitting defense sacked Manley four times before halftime—two each by Jamora and Schwenke—only to find the resilient Mules field general rallying his team from behind.

Kahuku came out strong offensively, getting a 42-yard field goal from Cameron Mercado (five kickoffs for touchbacks) and a 5-yard touchdown run by Viliami Pasi on the final play of the first quarter for a 10-0 lead. Pasi's touchdown was set up by a big hit by Jamora on Manley, and Schwenke recovered at the Leilehua 44-yard line to set up the drive.

Leilehua came up empty on its first three possessions, but drove 72 yards in nine plays to get on the scoreboard. Manley connected on key passes to Carlos Marshall (third and 15) and Darrien Shealy (third and 10) before finding Shealy for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Manley scrambled right and got the pass off to his wide-open target a second before Schwenke closed in, and the Mules were within 10-6 with 4:58 to go in the first half.

Kahuku defensive back Johnny Tupola's interception off a tipped pass gave the Red Raiders first down at the Leilehua 46-yard line with 1:47 left, but Evan Moe hurled an interception five plays later. Leilehua linebacker Stockton Crowley, standing in the flat, returned the ball 60 yards to the Kahuku 10-yard line.

On the next play, Manley found Akagi one-on-one in a post-corner route and hit a perfect strike for another Leilehua touchdown. The Mules led 13-10 with 43 seconds to go in the half.

Kahuku's special teams were flawless until a breakdown midway through the third quarter gave Leilehua a huge break. A punt snap bounced to Mercado, whose punt attempt was blocked and sailed out of bounds at the 28-yard line.

With their best starting field position of the night, the Mules needed just four plays to hit paydirt, even after a sack by Sauni. Manley's bullet to Shealy, which was tipped, on the left sideline barely got past the defensive back. Tupola gambled on the pass and missed. Shealy's 17-yard touchdown play pushed Leilehua's lead to 20-10 with 1:18 left in the third quarter.

The Red Raiders patiently drove deep into Leilehua territory on the ensuing possession, but Moe lost the ball on an option keeper at the Mules' 6-yard line. The hit by Crowley led to a fumble recovery by linebacker Darric Matsumiya, and the Mules averted the threat temporarily.

Kahuku came through four plays later when Tupola blocked Fred Padrones' punt in the end zone and Jamora recovered the bouncing football for a touchdown. Kahuku trailed 20-17 with 8:30 remaining.

The game was halted a minute later when Akagi suffered an injury on an incomplete pass. The senior receiver remained almost motionless for several minutes before moving his legs, and was transported to a hospital. As Leilehua fans chanted his name, Akagi managed to point upward with his left index finger while paramedics wheeled him on a stretcher into the ambulance.


At Aloha Stadium

Kahuku (10-0)10001424
Leilehua (7-2)0137020

Kah—FG Cameron Mercado 42
Kah—Viliami Pasi 5 run (Mercado kick)
Lei—Darrien Shealy 31 pass from Andrew Manley (kick failed)
Lei—Kamana Akagi 10 pass from Manley (Timothy Momiyama kick)
Lei—Shealy 17 pass from Manley (Momiyama kick)
Kah—Hauoli Jamora recovered blocked punt in end zone
Kah—Punga Vea 44 run (Mercado kick)

RUSHINGKahuku: Pasi 16-57, Evan Moe 7-51, Vea 1-44, Tyrone Brown 7-7, Fonoivasa Mata'afa 6-6, TEAM 1-(-1). Leilehua: Carlos Marshall 7-8, Austin Schmidt 1-8, C.J. Bailey 2-3, Raphael De Oliveira 1-2, Manley 13-(-51).
PASSINGKahuku: Moe 5-10-1-46. Leilehua: Manley 23-35-1-245.
RECEIVINGKahuku: Punga Vea 1-19, Sage Kaka 1-13, Kaipo Pearl 1-8, Blaze Kubota 1-5, Mata'afa 1-1. Leilehua: Marshall 7-84, Shealy 5-83, Marcus Rocha 4-46, Akagi 3-17, C.J. Bailey 3-16, Blaine Furtado 1-(-1).