Kickoff return touchdown powers Kahuku to title
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
Kahuku running back Zealand Matagi ran around Mililani linebacker Micah Kim during the first quarter of the OIA Open Division championship game on Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
Big Red is back on top.
Kahuku won an OIA championship in the most Kahuku way possible, using a punishing defense and a big play on special teams to knock off Mililani 7-3 on Saturday night in the OIA Open Division title game at Aloha Stadium.
The game was scoreless for 42 minutes before Mililani’s Kaulana Navares booted a 24-yard field goal with 5:55 remaining.
That lead didn’t last 20 seconds as sophomore Kelsyn Tangaro-Kanoa, who broke off a 99-yard touchdown run on his first carry against Campbell last week, broke seven tackles on the ensuing kickoff to go 93 yards for a score to give Kahuku (8-3) its 27th OIA championship overall and fourth in the last five seasons.
“I’m just so happy and proud for our boys. Mililani’s a great team,” Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho said. “Our kids were resilient. They hung in the game and they just finished the game. I’m so proud of them, from start to finish.”
Mililani (8-4) lost its fourth game in a season for the first time since Rod York’s second season as head coach in 2011.
In their last four games, the Trojans have been shut out by Punahou, held scoreless in the first half against Kapolei and then scored three points against Kahuku.
After Kahuku’s touchdown, the defense forced Mililani to go three-and-out for the sixth time in the game.
“We had the kick return to the house and we knew we had it from there,” Kahuku defensive lineman Zion Ah You said.
Kahuku’s Zealand Matagi then ran out the final five minutes, picking up first downs on two long runs as the Trojans’ defense finally wore down.
Mililani had one last chance to stop Kahuku on fourth-and-2, but jumped early for a penalty to give up the final first down.
The teams combined for one first down on the first seven drives of the game. Kahuku had 98 total yards in the game to Mililani’s 100.
Trojans quarterback Brendyn Agbayani finished 11-for-27 for 70 yards with one interception by Kahuku’s Kaonohi Kaniho.
Matagi finished with 78 yards on 21 carries. Kahuku completed three passes in the game for 9 yards.
Navares missed two field goals in the first half to come up empty after Vaisen Viloria recovered two Kahuku fumbles.
The Red Raiders didn’t run a play in Mililani territory until the second quarter.
Mililani will play the ILH champion in the Open Division state semifinals while Kahuku will face OIA third-place Campbell in a doubleheader on Nov. 22 at Aloha Stadium.
No. 4 Kahuku 7, No. 3 Mililani 3
at Aloha Stadium
>> Kahuku (8-3) 0 0 0 7 — 7
>> Mililani (8-4) 0 0 0 3 — 3
Mililani — FG Kaulana Navares 24
Kahuku — Kelsyn Tangaro-Kanoa 93 kickoff return (Adam Requilman kick)
RUSHING — Kahuku: Zealand Matagi 21- 78, Lalio Kaluna 8-18, Jack Tito 2-6, Kelsyn Tangaro-Kanoa 4-5, Jason Mariteragi 1-1, team 3-(minus 6), Tiger Adolpho 5-(minus 13). Mililani: Jasiah Alcover 9-32, Malosi Sam 12-23, Micah Kim 1-5, Pono Hookano 1-1, Brendyn Agbayani 3-(minus 31).
PASSING — Kahuku: Adolpho 2-4–0-10, Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu 1-1-0-(minus 1). Mililani: Agbayani 11-27–1-70.
RECEIVING — Kahuku: Kaonohi Kaniho 1-8, Kaluna 1-2, Kana Fonoimoana-Vaomu 1-(minus 1). Mililani: Kai Banks 3-31, Raysen Motoyama 4-(minus 4), Mystic Sampaga 2-24, Jarin Kalama 1-22, Alcover 1-(minus 3).