No. 2 Kahuku bursts through Konawaena
Kahuku RB Toalei Lefau tries to break free from a Konawaena defender in the first quarter of a non-league matchup at Carleton E. Weimer Field Saturday night. Leighland Tagawa | SL
KAHUKU — The final point total may have been lopsided, but the winning team was balanced in its attack Saturday night.
Quarterback Robbie Sauvao and running back Wesley Alo-Maiava each scored three first half touchdowns to power No. 2 Kahuku over visiting Konawaena, 61-9, in a non-league matchup at Carleton E. Weimer Field.
The Open-Division Red Raiders (1-0) not only dominated the Division-II Wildcats (0-1) in the trenches offensively with 245 rushing yards and a 8.4 yard per carry clip, but they were also able to find success throwing the ball with 202 total passing yards.
"We like to see progress and that's what it is," Kahuku first-year coach Sterling Carvalho said of the offense. "We've been working on things both on the ground and through the air. It's a work in progress, but we like what we see because we're trending to be better."
Sauvao got the most opportunities at QB, completing 14 of 25 passes for 148 yards while throwing TD passes to three different receivers: a 3-yard strike to Duke Heffernan, a 19-yard fade route to Kainoa Crismon and a 3-yard dump off to Toalei Leaf. Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu also took some snaps from behind center late in the game, which included a 54-yard TD pass to Paniau Lindsey down the left sideline.
Alo-Maiava led the ground attack with 130 yards and three TDs on just nine carries. Zealand Matagi also came into the game and carried the ball six times for 77 yards with a 63-yard TD run.
Carvalho was also pleased with how well his defense performed against the Wildcats. Kahuku held Konawaena to negative yards on the ground and also was penalty-free defensively in the first half.
"That shows that we were working on our discipline and that we were aware on all of the the little details," said Carvalho.
Even though his team was outmatched against the Red Raiders, Konawaena coach Brad Uemoto was pleased with his team's trip to the North Shore of Oahu. The Wildcats not only got to enjoy themselves off the field, but they also got an invaluable learning experience against a high-caliber opponent.
"I told our boys at halftime, don't look at the scoreboard," said Uemoto. "We're going to turn on film and there is a lot of good things to build on in the first half, and there's a ton of things that Kahuku exposes you with and it's easy to see our mistakes and why. It's going to be a good film session on Monday to correct the things that we did wrong and get better at the things we executed well so this has been a great experience for our kids."
One Konawaena player that will benefit the most from the game against Kahuku is freshman QB Sheynen Nahele, who replaces three-year starter and two-time All-Hawaii D2 Offensive Player of the Year Austin Ewing.
Nahele threw four incompletions to start the game, but he quickly settled down and was able to get into a groove against an air-tight Kahuku defense that had eight total pass breakups. The freshman QB was even able to lead Wildcats on a TD drive in the second quarter, scoring on a 29-yard strike to Hunter Wehrsig to make it a 27-7 game with 5:09 left in the first half.
He threw a pick late in the game that led to a fourth quarter score for Kahuku, but Uemoto was ecstatic about Nahele's performance.
"Give him an A-minus tonight," Uemoto said of Nahele, who completed 19 of 49 passes for 236 yards, one TD and one interception. "His poise was good and he was faced with a tough task. He made one mistake late down the stretch that I was disappointed in, but other than that, I'm going to be hard on him and he's going to get better from this game. He's going to learn a lot and I'm proud of the way he played tonight."
Carvalho said that he was impressed by the Wildcats' toughness.
"I appreciate all that they did for us, coming in here and sticking in there (on the field. They're going to be really successful and you can see why they're one of the top dogs in the D2."
Konawaena safety Boaz Ayers led the team defensively with a game-high 7 1/2 tackles.
Kahuku backup defensive back Noeau Graycochea took advantage of extended playing time in the second half, recording three pass breakups and 2 1/2 tackles.
It was the first meeting between the two teams since 1999. Both teams are also coming off a state runner-up finish in their respective divisions.
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