Big Red lockdown
Again. Another Kahuku lockdown of another talented team. The Red Raiders grounded and pounded their way to a 14-7 win over Leilehua tonight, filling the gaps in the trenches thoroughly after an early Mules touchdown. (See Billy “Bonecrusher” Hull’s story in Saturday morning’s Star-Advertiser.)
The secondary stepped up, shutting out Leilehua’s aerial attack after the first quarter. Kahuku’s defensive system of rover-type, hybrid cover artists didn’t stop everything Justin Jenks threw in the air. Nick Rodriguez had a spectacular parallel-to-the-ground catch, and Jenks recovered from a brutal sack — clean and legal — to give the Mules his best effort.
But Kahuku’s defense is still the gem of Hawaii high school football. Linebacker Matai Paselio and defensive lineman Lamone Williams each had seven tackles, while defensive back Jayven “Bubba” Mohetau had three pass deflections and a night’s worth of outstanding coverage, plus five tackles.
Kawehena Johnson, as usual, figured into the winning formula. His interception with 4 minutes left sealed the win for Kahuku, which will play Mililani next week for the OIA Red championship.
Leilehua’s defense was stellar against Kahuku’s dominant ground game. Linebacker Leland Wong and defensive back Branson Funakoshi hustled for 11 tackles apiece.
It was a well-crafted game plan by Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda and his staff, but in the end, Kahuku stuck to its blueprint. Of all the programs in a state full of football fanatics, Kahuku coach Reggie Torres and his staff get a buy-in from their players as well as any… and maybe a little bit more.