He was too scared to watch, didn’t really know what was going on and kicking from a length further than he thought he could make a kick.
“My max would probably be 35 (yards),” Roosevelt senior Mason Morishige said.
To his surprise, and to the delight of the Roosevelt faithful in attendance for the Rough Riders’ home debut on Saturday night at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium, Morishige’s estimate was a little bit off. The kid who came out for football this year just to hang out with his friends booted a 38-yard field goal with no time on the clock to give Roosevelt a 17-15 victory over Pac-Five in the OIA-ILH football alliance opener for both teams.
With his teammates running on the field to celebrate the win, Morishige had to take a moment to collect himself and realize what he had just done.
“You’re kidding,” Morishige responded when told the kick was from 38 yards. “This is actually my first game ever playing football. We had the ball and everyone was just talking to me about getting ready, getting warmed up, and I was actually super scared. I didn’t know what to do. I honestly didn’t know what I did.”
He said he was lucky, but the kick cleared the upright with plenty of distance to spare. It gave Roosevelt its first 2-0 start to the season since 2007 in the most unlikely of ways.
Pac-Five’s Cy Shimamura made a 26-yard field goal with 4:45 remaining to give the Wolfpack (0-1, 0-1 ILH D-II) their first lead of the game.
Roosevelt started its drive on the 20 and used a mix of runs and clutch passes to move down the field. Quarterback Sky Ogata converted a fourth-and-6 with a 14-yard completion to Scott Chung to help move the ball inside the Pac-Five 20.
The Rough Riders used their final timeout with 40 seconds left and the ball at the Wolfpack 20. They called a running play and moved the ball to the 15 before trying to run on the kicking team for the final play.
They had plenty of time, but there was confusion from the sidelines as one player ran on late and they still needed another player on the line of scrimmage.
A second player ran on the field but was nowhere close to getting set when the ball was snapped. Morishige’s kick was blocked and a flag was thrown on Roosevelt, but the Rough Riders recovered the blocked kick and ran it in for a score.
That forced Pac-Five to accept the illegal procedure penalty and give Roosevelt a chance to win it with no time on the clock. Morishige then did his thing.
“I didn’t really know what was going on,” Morishige said. “To be honest I didn’t even see it go through. I closed my eyes and prayed to God that it did.”
The win doesn’t count in the league standings for Roosevelt since it was against an ILH opponent. Coach Kui Kahooilihala said he was trying to get in field-goal range on the final drive but was also OK with the clock running out.
“We wasn’t looking to score — get rid of this game and get off the field actually,” said Kahooilihala, who led Roosevelt to its first playoff appearnce in a decade last season. “We didn’t want to make this game any longer than it is for us, but that’s how it was. Get the ball as closest as possible to the uprights and just put the ball through.”
The two field goals were the only points scored in the second half after Roosevelt led 14-12 at the break.
Roosevelt blitzed Pac-Five on its opening drive with nine straight runs, capped off by quarterback Ogata’s 2-yard keeper for an early 7-0 lead.
The Rough Riders had 65 yards rushing on their opening drive but managed just 54 yards on the ground the rest of the half.
The Wolfpack scored twice from the 1-yard line in the first half with Bruce Shewalter converting on fourth-and-goal with 17 seconds left before the break to cut the Rough Riders’ lead to two.
Shewalter led Pac-Five with 49 rushing yards. Pac-Five quarterbacks Makana Bertelmann and Rocket Uechi combined to go 8-for-32 for 91 yards.
Roosevelt quarterbacks Ogata and Tamaki Iijima combined to finish 6-for-10 for 75 yards.