Kalaheo’s Adam Ferguson after upset of ‘Iolani: ‘I saw this coming’

Kalaheo defender Adam Ferguson (21) deflected an attack on goal by 'Iolani's Jacob Lee (8) during the first half. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Kalaheo’s Adam Ferguson didn’t have an exact crystal ball into Monday’s huge upset victory over ‘Iolani, but he did have a general feeling the Mustangs would be making a strong showing this season.

With defensive mastery, a slick field and a little luck, the Mustangs upended the host Raiders 1-0 (4-3 PKs) in the Division I first round of The Queen’s Medical Center/HHSAA Boys Soccer State Championships.

Wearing jersey No. 21, Ferguson and his mates in the back were stellar. Fans in the “press” box at Eddie Hamada Field continued to say, “That was 21 again,” after yet another blocked shot from the potent Raiders attack.

Ferguson, however, was not the only one stuffing ‘Iolani. Huge contributions were made by goalkeeper Braden Uehara and fullbacks Tristan Atwater, Alex Braswell and Keagan Roth.

The victory gave Kalaheo (11-3) a spot in the quarterfinals Thursday at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium against third-seeded BIIF champion Waiakea.

Let it be noted that Kalaheo, which got as far as the semifinals in the OIA playoffs and played tough while being eliminated by host Kapolei 2-0, was a Division II squad last year.

The Mustangs moved up to D-I after being pretty successful in D-II under coach John Nakagawa. Now, they can make a real splash by continuing to win. Three more games — with the competition likely to get tougher — and they’ll be the best team in the island chain.

But that is far off. Still, a talk with three of the Mustangs players after Monday’s win revealed that this team is special and has a shot to do just that.

“In the past, the team did not play a lot of club or in the offseason, and in the end if you do that, you’re not going anywhere,” Ferguson said. “Most of us have played club together. We’ve known each other for so long. When we first got here, when I was a 10th grader and most of these guys were in ninth grade, we were all starters, so it was bound to happen that we were going to get here.

“I was anticipating this and I’m just so happy that it’s finally come together. I’ve been seeing this happen for years.”

Added Atwater: “It’s all about heart and our team gave that. We definitely have what it takes. We have a lot of talent on this team. It’s scary because no one knows us because we were coming up from D-II.”

And this from midfielder Teo Stohler: “I thought we just pushed really hard, gave it our all, attacked every ball. I think we can go farther. Yeah, we’re really good. We just need to work hard like we’re doing. We came into it with a really good mind-set.”

Kalaheo is not a stranger to the OIA and state soccer scene. Under Nakagawa, the Mustangs won OIA D-II titles in 2013 and 2019.

The school’s glory years came in the ’80s and ’90s, with OIA D-I championships in 1984, ’86, ’94, ’96 and ’98.

Another theme coming from fans in the press box Monday: the Kalaheo vs. ‘Iolani game was a great example of tough, physical soccer played with utmost sportsmanship.

Eddie Maruyama, an ‘Iolani co-athletic director, said, “This is the most sportsmanship I’ve seen in soccer.”

Wendell Look, another Raiders co-AD, congratulated Kalaheo AD Mark Brilhante afterward. Look showed his style of sportsmanship with a big smile on his face and without an ounce of sullenness after his school was eliminated.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “That was really a great game and a great effort put in by Kalaheo.”

Division I State Tournament

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Feb. 10Hilo vs. KaiserKais, 2-0Hilo Bayfront
2Feb. 10Pearl City vs. KalaniKaln, 6-1Kalani
3Feb. 10KS-Maui vs. MililaniMil, 2-0KS-Maui
4Feb. 10'Iolani vs. KalaheoKalh, 1-0 (4-3 PKs)'Iolani
5Feb. 13(4) King Kekaulike vs. KalaniKaln, 4-0Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
6Feb. 13(3) Waiakea vs. KalaheoWaik, 2-1 (OT)Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
7Feb. 13(2) Kapolei vs. MililaniMil, 1-0Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
8Feb. 13(1) Punahou vs. KaiserPun, 4-1Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
9*Feb. 14Kaiser vs. King KekaulikeKais, 4-3Waipio
10*Feb. 14Kapolei vs. KalaheoKapo, 3-0Waipio
11Feb. 14Mililani vs. WaiakeaMil, 3-2Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
12Feb. 14Punahou vs. KalaniPun, 2-1Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
13*Feb. 15Kaiser vs. KapoleiKais, 2-0Waipio
14*Feb. 15Kalani vs. WaiakeaWaik, 5-4Waipio
15Feb. 15Mililani vs. PunahouPun, 3-2Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
* — consolation

Division II State Tournament

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Feb. 13(1) Kapaa vs. Makua LaniKapa, 3-1Waipio
2Feb. 13(4) Aiea vs. Seabury HallSH, 5-1Waipio
3Feb. 13(2) Hawaii Prep vs. WaipahuHPA, 4-0Waipio
4Feb. 13(3) Pac-Five vs. KS-HawaiiKSH, 1-0Waipio
5*Feb. 14Makua Lanai vs. AieaML, 5-2Waipio
6*Feb. 14Waipahu vs. Pac-FiveP5, 3-1Waipio
7Feb. 14Hawaii Prep vs. KS-HawaiiHPA, 1-0Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
8Feb. 14Kapaa vs. Seabury HallKapa, 3-0Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
9*Feb. 15Makua Lani vs. Pac-FiveTie, 0-0Waipio
10*Feb. 15Seabury Hall vs. KS-HawaiiKSH, 4-0Waipio
11Feb. 15Kapaa vs. Hawaii PrepHPA, 2-0Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
* — consolation


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