It was not a good season by Farrington standards, but the Govs made a game of it in the Oahu Interscholastic Association quarterfinals Friday night and nearly came back to knock off No. 7 Waianae.
Trailing 27-7 with less than six minutes left, Farrington got to within 27-21 when the final whistle blew. It was Chasen Castilliano who got it going.
The senior has been a big defensive playmaker for the Govs (5-5) the past two seasons, and it appears he has a huge fan base, too.
At home games at the new Skippa Diaz Stadium, the top rows under the press box are filled with Castilliano’s family and friends. They all wear No. 37 maroon jerseys and they all scream when he makes a play.
So, here we are in the fourth quarter of a game against Waianae — in Waianae — that is seemingly over. A Waianae running back hits the hole and Castilliano rocks into him and goes for the ball. The ballhawk attempt works. He pulls the ball into his own arms at the Farrington 25 and takes off and runs as fast as he can. It looks like he might get caught, but no. He takes it the rest of the way for a 74-yard touchdown and a 27-14 game with 5:30 to go.
There was more Farrington fight left, but coach Randall Okimoto didn’t hesitate to mention the man who made the comeback bid possible. He wasn’t even prompted with a question like, ‘Can you tell us about Chasen’s big play?”
No, it came right from the coach. He knows his players and he knows who made it possible for them to come back.
“It was because of someone named Chasen Castilliano,” Okimoto said. “Lots of people talk about stripping the ball at a time like that, but he went out and did it. He started it and got us back in it.”
Castilliano, who was used at running back earlier in the season and scored a touchdown against Nanakuli, is a senior and was playing in his final game.
“That was a life-saver,” Farrington linebacker Blessing Umaga said. “It gave us hope to come back, but it is what it is and it turned out we lost.”
Umaga is also a senior who has been making hard-nosed, tough plays for the Govs for a while now.
“It was a great comeback,” Umaga added. “We had mistakes here and there, but we gotta move on. Next season starts tomorrow.”
Umaga is so much a part of the team that he was talking about the underclassmen. Umaga himself won’t be a part of the Govs next season.
The Governors’ 5-5 finish and inability to make it into the semifinals is sort of unusual. Unlike Waianae, they won’t have a chance to make it into the Division I-Open state tournament. Actually, the Seariders have two chances to get there. Even a loss to Mililani next week would not knock them out because they would then be playing in the third-place game — and three OIA teams will make the top-tier state tournament.
Farrington went into the game sitting outside the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10, also a rare thing. After the loss, the Govs will certainly be finishing on the outside looking in.
“I don’t want to say we expected it (a down season),” Okimoto said. “It was a concern since the beginning of the season with all of the guys we lost and watching guys come up from the JV. They put in the work. The coaches put in the work. It was a tough season … so up and down. Next year is another one.”