Matagi, Red Raiders run wild in rout of Sabers
Junior RB Zealand Matagi ran for 262 yards and three TDs to lead No. 5 Kahuku past No. 4 Campbell. Brandon Ching | SL
KAHUKU — Zealand Matagi rushed for 262 yards and three touchdowns and No. 5 Kahuku bullied its way to a 35-7 win over No. 4 Campbell in an Oahu Interscholastic Association Open Division football game at Carleton E. Weimer Field Saturday night.
The Red Raiders (3-1 overall, 2-1 league) rolled to their second straight win behind a punishing ground game that racked up 439 of their 458 yards of total offense and sit in sole possession of second place in the six-team OIA Open standings.
The Sabers (1-3, 1-2) suffered their second straight loss to fall to fourth place.
Kahuku used eight different ball-carries — who averaged 8.1 yards per rush, collectively — but the bulk of the work came from the duo of Matagi (17 carries, 15.4 yards per attempt) and Lalio Kaluna (22 carries for 91 yards). They combined for four of the Red Raiders' five touchdowns.
Matagi opened the scoring with his 23-yard TD run off right tackle with 4:02 left in the first quarter. The scoring play — which came on third-and-1 — was set-up by Frisco Aveau's interception to halt Campbell's second possession five plays prior.
"It was big," Matagi said of the turnover. "I know my boys on the defense got it and we just need to keep our heads high."
Campbell went three-and-out on its ensuing drive and Kahuku orchestrated a 13-play, 68-yard drive that took six minutes and 39 seconds off the clock that included all but one run play and was capped by Kaluna's 2-yard plunge into the end zone with 7:49 left in the first half.
Matagi carried six times on the drive for 35 yards on the drive — including a three-yard pick-up on fourth-and-1 and another three-yard gain on a third-and-2.
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Matagi credited his teammates for sustaining their blocks and playing unselfishly.
"It was good, but that was basically the plan: just to smash mouth and get as many yards as we can, but honestly, it was all up to the line," the junior running back said. " The line should be getting (the recognition) and the wide receivers — oh, especially the defense — I give props all to them because they gave us good placement on the field."
Adam Requilman tacked on the extra point to make it a 14-0 lead.
The Red Raiders further built upon that cushion with Matagi's first of two long TD runs. After the Sabers punted away to the Kahuku 20-yard line, Matagi took the handoff from quarterback Tiger Adolpho and turned the right corner on his way to an 80-yard jaunt to the house.
"I just knew I had to make a couple guys miss," Matagi said.
Kahuku led 21-0 at the intermission, but Campbell got a boost from its special teams when Cavazhae Breland stripped Tomasi Pasi on the opening kickoff of the second half and recovered the fumble at the Red Raiders' 35-yard line. Four plays later, Titus Mokiao-Atimalala pulled down a 20-yard scoring strike from quarterback Blaine Hipa to get the Sabers on the board just 1:20 into the third quarter.
The Red Raiders turned to Matagi again for an answer and he responded with a 70-yard TD run just two plays into their next drive.
"I just had to keep my legs pumping and we just have to make sure we execute our jobs," Matagi said.
It was Matagi's second straight game that he eclipsed the century mark and scored multiple touchdowns. He ran for 132 yards and two scores on just 13 carries in a 32-point win over Waianae a week ago and
"He's an exceptional athlete. I mean, he doesn't just have the power, the speed, but great balance," Carvalho said of Matagi, whose 506 rushing yards and 6 TDs leads all Open Division players.
Fullback Jack Tito accounted for the other score with his 1-yard run to close out the scoring midway through the fourth quarter. He also caught a pass from Kaonohi Kaniho on a busted play on the two-point conversion after Matagi's third TD run earlier in the game.
Red Raiders coach Sterling Carvalho said his team executed the game plan to perfection.
"Campbell is a great team. They have a lot of great two-way athletes and we had to keep them off the field, have them playing defense and so we just had to control the ball, control the clock, have them be on the field on the defensive side, so we stuck to the game plan and we executed real well with the offensive line and the tight ends," Carvalho said.
Kahuku ran 61 plays on offense — just nine more than Campbell did — but held the ball for 30 minutes and 41 seconds of game time. The Sabers were limited to 17:07 in possession time.
"There was no secret about it what our game plan was: wear out the two-way players and control the clock — hats off to our offensive line," Carvalho said.
Campbell was held to minus-three rushing yards and 128 yards of total offense. It averaged only 2.5 yards per play and was held to 4 of 13 on third downs.
Hipa was 13-of-34 passing for 130 yards with two interceptions. Titus Mokiao-Atimalala finished with five catches for 46 yards and his brother, Tamatoa, added four grabs for 57 yards.
"Our defense was good," Carvalho said. "They were fresh, they did the job — I mean, this is a very potent offense. I think they're probably the second-best offense in the state, next to Saint Louis — and so for our defense to clamp down and shut them down, hats off to the defense and the defensive coaches; well executed tonight."
One of the few areas of concern for Carvalho is the 13 flags his team drew, which resulted in 127 yards in penalties.
"That's what we need to crack down on, we need to be a little more disciplined on that, so there's a lot of work to do, but it's a work in progress," Carvalho said.
It was Kahuku's second straight win over Campbell. The teams split two meetings in 2018. The Sabers won the regular-season game, but the Red Raiders took the rematch in the semifinals of the OIA tournament three weeks later.
Kahuku will travel to the mainland next week for a non-league game at Timpview (Utah) Friday night.
Campbell will also face a non-league opponent next, when it hosts O'Connor (Arizona) Thursday night in Ewa Beach.
Matagi, Red Raiders run wild in rout of Sabers