Kahuku follows blueprint, gets heartbroken
Kahuku quarterback Robbie Sauvao held on to the ball as he was tackled by Campbell’s Brandon Frysinger during the second quarter on Saturday. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
A stunning 28-27 win by No. 6 Campbell over No. 4 Kahuku defied all logic. After all, Kahuku owned time of possession, controlled the line of scrimmage, and operated its game plan to near perfection. Big Red ran the ball 51 times for 241 yards, often out of their patented elephant formation with Wes Alo-Maiava (77 rushing yards before injury) and Zealand Matagi (102 yards) as wildcat QBs. In all, Kahuku had 80 plays from scrimmage. Campbell had 38 snaps from scrimmage. Kahuku had just one series of three or less plays, and didn’t have another shortened possession until the final two plays before time expired in the final quarter. Series 1 — 10 plays, 37 yards, punt. 4 minutes, 58 seconds Series 2 — 10 plays, 22 yards. Turnover on downs. 4:17. Series 3 — 3 plays, minus-15 yards, fumble. :56. Series 4 — 13 plays, 55 yards, TD. 5:47. Series 5 — 8 plays, 25 yards, TD. 1:53. Second half Series 6 — 7 plays, 31 yards, turnover on downs. 3:21. Series 7 — 9 plays, 78 yards, TD. 4:21. Series 8 — 18 plays, 79 yards, TD. 8:00. Series 9 — 2 plays, 3 yards, time expires. :19 Time of possession? Kahuku had the ball for 29:52. Campbell has possession for 18:08. Basic stats don’t tell the entire story, of course. Branden Frysinger’s sack and 37-yard return for a TD was huge for Campbell, which otherwise didn’t score in the first half. Even with just 36 rushing yards, Campbell’s ground attack was hugely crucial in the second half. Sky Lactaoen rushed for 49 yards on seven carries, including gains of 13 and 23 yards, and his 7-yard TD tied the game at 14 in the third quarter. The battle within the trenches was a pendulum that was owned by Kahuku in the first half. Campbell had minus-5 yards on two carries. It was the kind of one-dimensional situation that Campbell couldn’t escape just one week earlier in a 55-7 loss to No. 1 Saint Louis. This time, the Sabers figured out a way to eke out some yardage between the hash marks and hand the Red Raiders their first back-to-back loss in the regular season since 1996. What Kahuku couldn’t do that Saint Louis did: finish defensive pressure with sacks. The Red Raiders sacked Krenston Kaipo and Kaniela Kalaola a combined two times and hurried them a bunch more. The Campbell QBs stood in the pocket, took blast after blast, and averaged 10.7 yards per pass attempt. That number was even more preposterous in the second half: 13.4 yards per attempt. Kahuku’s rash of injuries isn’t helping, but the athleticism of Campbell’s receiving corps, particularly two-way ironmen Titus Mokiao-Atimalala and Poki‘i Adkins-Kupukaa, was on full display. Kahuku played its cards right and still came up one point short. One PAT away. An injury to their holder left them with a rarely-used backup for a key attempt with 50 seconds left. Just the worst kind of luck for a team that followed the blueprint for success all game long. “We’ve all got to accept responsibility,” Red Raiders coach Sterling Carvalho said. “We have to make better adjustments and be better at what we do.” Campbell coach Darren Johnson, a Hauula resident who spent years as a boys basketball head coach and football assistant coach at Kahuku, helped get the Sabers their first win over the Red Raiders since 2013. “Campbell is always a tough team,” Carvalho said. “Darren is from our side. Some of his staff is, too. There’s lots of familiarity.”