No. 2 Kahuku's defense dooms No. 7 Campbell, 42-7
Kahuku's defense swarms Campbell quarterback Krenston Kaipo during the first half of an OIA Division I semifinal. Sylvia Lee | SL
HALAWA – Kahuku's vaunted defense came up big once again in knocking off Campbell, 42-7, Friday night in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I football semifinal at Hawaiian Tel FCU Field at Aloha Stadium.
The game went to the running clock with 11 minutes 20 seconds left in the game because of the 35-point differential mercy rule
The two-time defending OIA champion Red Raiders (9-1), No. 2 in the Hawaiian Electric Division I Power Rankings, advance to the Nov. 4th league championship for the fourth consecutive year and league-best 26th time when they face Mililani. Kahuku and Mililani have secured berths into the second annual state D1-Open Division state tournament
The No. 7 Sabers (7-4), who lost to the Red Raiders, 45-6, during the regulat season, will play Waianae for third place and the final state berth in the D1-Open Division, also on Nov. 4th.
Kahuku contained Campbell to 73 yards total offense. The Red Raiders registered 10 sacks – two each by Miki Ah You and Fatu Atuaia – and had four interceptions, two by Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu and one each by Atuaia and lineman Samson Kapule-Siilata, who returned his 33 yards for a TD.
"We knew everything that was going to come at us in practice the whole week," Atuaia said. "We practiced hard (against) what they do. We just came out and had fun."
The only TD the Red Raiders allowed came after an errant snap in punt formation that gave Campbell the ball at the Kahuku 14. That set up Krenston Kaipo's 9-yard TD pass to Pokii Adkins-Kupukaa that pulled the Sabers to 14-7.
It was simply a rough night for the Sabers, the only third-place division team to make the final four.
"We thought we were ready," Campbell's first-year coach Darren Johnson said. "(The Red Raiders) played good football. They understand the culture. We'll get our guys there, but it's coming slowly. We're here. We just have to teach them how to play in these big games."
Kahuku was in big-game form from the start, scoring on two of its first three series. Running back Enoch Nawahine had 121 rushing yards, including a pair of 44-yard TD runs. Quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava passed for 114 yards on 11-of-25 passing and one TD and rushed for 59 yards.
Kahuku's offensive line of center Trycen Mau, guards Siaosi Lauhingoa and Siliva Toelupe, and tackles Inoke Vimahi and Micah Mariteragi helped the offense amass 369 yards of total offense.
Kahuku scored first in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Toalei Lefau and later on Nawahine's 44-yard run to make it 14-0 after the first period.
Later in the second quarter, Campbell got its break from the errant snap from punt formation for its only score.
Campbell had a golden opportunity to get its second score after a 15-yard punt by Kahuku gave the Sabers possession at the Kahuku 36. But Atuaia's interception on first down off Krenston Kaipo was returned 11 yards to the Kahuku 34 and set up Maiava's 1-yard TD pass to Duke Heffernan to make it 21-7 at the half.
The Red Raiders' defense continued to wreak havoc on the Sabers to start the second half. Fonoimoana-Vaomu returned an interception 90 yards for a TD that was nullified by a holding penalty. Didn't matter, as the Red Raiders, starting from their 21, eventually scored on Nawahine's second 44-yard TD run to make it 28-7.
Kahuku's defense was still on the prowl, as lineman Kapule-Siilata returned an interception 33 yards for a TD off Kaipo to increase the Red Raiders' lead to 35-7 with 5:48 in the third period.
"I can't believe that happened," Kapule-Siilata said. "I just want to thank my DBs, linebackers and my D-line. Everything can't happen without them. I honestly didn't know what was happening. I just read the quarterback's eyes. I think Fatu (Atuaia) forced him to throw an early pass and it came to me."
Kahuku put the game away on Sione Mahe's 55-yard TD run to set off the running clock.
Kahuku did have issues with penalties. It was called 16 times for 167 yards compared to Campbell's four for 25 yards.
Campbell began the game without one of its key defensive linemen in Isaac Sevao and running back Jacob Covington. Both sustained injuries in last week's quarterfinal against Leilehua.
Kaipo had a rough night, completing 8 of 20 passes for 84 yards and one TD, but was intercepted three times and sacked nine times. Peter Manuman, brought up from the JV, spelled Kaipo for a while, was 1 of 4 for 3 yards and was picked off once. He did, though, lead his team in rushing with 40 yards on 10 carries.
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