No. 4 Kahuku runs over No. 7 Farrington, 43-0
Liinebacker Hirkley Latu and the Kahuku defense held Farrington to just 130 yards of total offense and no points scored in an OIA Division I semifinal win. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Execution led to domination.
Using virtually the same play out of the wildcat formation most of the game, Kahuku ran over Farrington, 43-0, Friday in one semifinal at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium to advance to next Friday's Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I championship.
The Red Raiders (10-0), fourth in the Hawaiian Electric Division I Power Rankings, return to the title game against two-time defending champion Mililani for the league title and seeded berth to the First Hawaiian Bank Division I state tournament. The Red Raiders, who have secured a state berth, lost to Mililani, 20-7, in last year's title game. They'll be working to earn a better result.
"We just have to remember the same feeling we had last year," wildcat Kesi Ah-Hoy said. "We lost."
The Red Raiders will return to the title game for a record 25th time. They are 17-7 in OIA championships since 1970. This will be the fifth time they will play Mililani for the title. The series is even at 2, although Mililani won in 2010 by forfeit. Mililani is 3-2 in title games; its other matchup was agianst Farrington in 2013.
The No. 7 Governors (7-3) will play Waianae (7-3) for third place and the final berth into the state tournament. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Mlilani. The JV championship will precede the game at 5 p.m.
Kahuku rolled up 289 yards in total offense, all by rushing, most out of the wildcat, first with starter Ah-Hoy, then with Harmon Brown and later with Sefa Amerpersoa. None of the three is a true quarterback. Kahuku did not hand off the ball from scrimmage until midway through the third quarter, when Kekona Neuman, a true quarterback, gave the ball to Ameperosa on a fourth-and-1 situation at the Farrington 37. It was the only time Kahuku lost the ball on downs during the game.
Ah-Hoy led the way with 175 yards rushing on 23 carries before leaving the game after "tweaking " his right ankle. He said he will be able to play in next week's title game.
"As Coach Larry Price said, ‘physical superiority,'" Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. "Well, maybe it wasn't so much physical superiority as mental. We have to be more mentally strong."
Kahuku's defense shut down the Governors, who had 12 series, punting seven times, losing the ball on a fumble and an interception by Keala Santiago, who also returned a punt 87 yards for a TD, and once on downs. The other two times, came at the end of the half and the end of the game. Farrington finished with 130 yards of offense, 89 through the air.
Kekoa Sasaoka booted field goals of 22, 23 and 45 yards. He also kicked off nine touchbacks.
Kahuku ran its wildcat with two fullbacks flanking and slightly in front of the runner, Ah-Hoy, Brown or Ameperosa. They mostly ran between the tackles and sometimes went wide. But there was no hint of throwing the ball or even handing it off.
"Every man gets his man (on blocking assignments)," Ah-Hoy said of the offensive game plan. "If one man misses a block, you have to make a move."
Execution began up front with center Jedediah Heffernan, guars Tamatoa Neher and Vaaivaka Fale and tackles Vili Fishiahi and TeRauparaha Elkington. They cleared the lanes and all the wildcats had to do was read their blocks.
"The lineman assignment executed at the highest level," Kahuku first-year coach Vavae Tata said. "It's our job as coaches to get them to perform at the highest level."
Tata said he was going with the same play until Farrington stopped it. That never happened.
"Obviously they couldn't stop it," Tata said. "I think Farrington's defense is stout."
Kahuku's offensive formation was similar to Las Vegas' Liberty High, which lost to Saint Louis here (43-16), but stomped Mililani (76-53), Sept. 4 in Nevada. Liberty lined up two fullbacks behind its linemen with the QB in pistol range and a tailback behind the QB. Mililani allowed 628 yards of offense, 460 on the ground.
Kahuku took the opening kickoff and, ironically, were three-and-out. Farrington took over at its 30, its second-best field position of the game, and eventually punted a touchback.
Ah-Hoy ran 10 consecutive plays in the 75-yard drive that resulted in Sasaoka's 22-yard field goal, giving Kahuku a modest 3-0 lead with 2:34 left in the first period.
Kahuku's third series of the game started with Ah-Hoy rushing the first nine plays for 38 yards and closed with Brown on the final four plays, ending the drive with a one-yard run with 8:49 left in the half to make it 10-0.
Another uneventful Farrington series ended with a punt and Kahuku taking over at tis 33. All three wildcats had a hand in the five-play, 67-yard drive that ended with an Ameperosa eight-yard TD run to increased Kahuku's lead to 17-0 with 3:15 in the half.
After another Farrington punt, Kahuku took over at the Govs' 42 and three plays later, Ameperosa scored on a one-yard run to make it 24-0 with 1:09 in the half.
Bishop Rapozo started at QB for Farrington, but backup Justin Uahinui started the first series of the second half. Same result; Farrington went three-and-out.
"We had some plays for Justin," Okimoto said. "We wanted to get him going, see what he could do."
A 27-yard punt return by Kekaula Kaniho gave Kahuku the ball at Farrington's 10. Kahuku ended up with a 23-yard field goal by Sasaoka to increase its lead to 27-0 with 9:00 left in the third period.
Kahuku lost the ball on downs for the first time in the game on its next series. On fourth-and-1 at the Farrington 37, Ryota Kony dropped Ameperosa for a three-yard loss.
Again, Farrington had to punt, but this time Santiago returned it 87 yards for a TD tom make it 33-0 after Sasaoka's PAT was blocked at 2:03 in the third.
Farrington's next series lasted only two plays because of a Santiago interception to the Farrington 23. Three plays later, Brown scored on a one-yard run to make it 40-0 with 34 seconds left in the third quarter, initiating the running clock.
A Farrington fumble on its next series led to Kahuku's final score of the game, a 45-yard field goal by Sasaoka.