Kalani comes back from its darkest day

by Jerry Campany on August 29, 2013

Kalani's Gavin Kim outran Kalaheo defenders in the Falcons' win over the Mustangs last year. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Kalani’s Gavin Kim outran Kalaheo defenders in a 2012 win over the Mustangs. (Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser)

Call it the Carney Curse.

When Kalaheo traveled to Kaiser to play Kalani in 2010, Mustangs running back Jesse Carney ran over the Falcons for 379 yards on 15 carries in a 59-22 blowout. Fans took time out of their day back then to call the Star-Advertiser to complain about the Mustangs running it up on the OIA’s perennial whipping boys. They were just as upset that Carney jumped over legendary names like Damien’s Kama Bailey, ‘Iolani’s Joe Igber and Kahuku’s Mark Atuia for Oahu’s single-game rushing record since the Prep Bowl began in 1973.

The most frequent refrain from callers was ‘Kalaheo will eventually get its payback.’

In a way, the Mustangs have.

Jesse Carney's 379 yards against Kalani in 2010 remains an Oahu record.

Jesse Carney’s 379 yards against Kalani in 2010 remains an Oahu record.

The Falcons, who rarely have a winning streak against anyone, have beaten Kalaheo twice in a row since then, taking the Mustangs out 42-34 behind Noah Brum’s 325 passing yards last year and 39-36 behind David Rasmussen’s 337 passing yards in 2011. The Carney game was Kalaheo’s 11th straight win over Kalani, and the Mustangs lead the series 20-4. Kalani is no stranger to being blown out by Kalaheo, losing 70-0 in 2008 and 74-6 in 2006. The closest Kalani came to challenging Kalaheo was a 43-22 loss in 2005. Kalaheo has scored more than 55 points seven times in its history, and five of them have come against Kalani.

The teams tangle again Saturday night at Kailua. Kalaheo is 2-0 and hasn’t given up a point yet, while Kalani trails at 1-1.

Kalaheo features the OIA White’s leading rusher in Makena Johnston, who has 291 yards on only 21 carries, but the Falcons feature the conference’s second-best passer with Brum’s 374 yards and boast four of the top receivers in Brandon Roberts (121 yards), Trevor Yamashita (109), Enrique Gruver (59) and Blaise Manabe (56).

Carney was just doing his job that night in 2010, taking the ball and running hard. But he may have done the Falcons a favor. The loss was Kalani’s 53rd in a row, and it would lose four more times before closing the season with a win over Nanakuli. The Falcons are 9-13 since then, a marked improvement for a team that had not had a .500 season since 1996. A lot of the improvement has to be credited to Brum’s maturity at quarterback and Cal Lee’s impact on the defense, but the team certainly brushed itself off and came back better after being embarrassed.

Kalani vs. Kalaheo all time:
2012: Kalani 42, Kalaheo 34
2011: Kalani 39, Kalaheo 36
2010: Kalaheo 59, Kalani 22
2009: Kalaheo 47, Kalani 0
2008: Kalaheo 70, Kalani 0
2006: Kalaheo 74, Kalani 6
2005: Kalaheo 43, Kalani 22
2004: Kalaheo 38, Kalani 8
2003: Kalaheo 65, Kalani 7
2001: Kalaheo 26, Kalani 0
2000: Kalaheo 28, Kalani 0
1999: Kalaheo 44, Kalani 6
1998: Kalaheo 39, Kalani 7
1997: Kalani 22, Kalaheo 14
1993: Kalaheo 45, Kalani 12
1992: Kalaheo 28, Kalani 8
1991: Kalaheo 43, Kalani 14
1990: Kalaheo 25, Kalani 14
1989: Kalaheo 20, Kalani 19
1988: Kalaheo 20, Kalani 7
1985: Kalaheo 58, Kalani 0
1982: Kalaheo 27, Kalani 6
1977: Kalaheo 28, Kalani 6
1974: Kalani 7, Kalaheo 0

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