A joyous evening for Kalani and its fans Saturday night at Kaiser Stadium got scary at the end of the third quarter.
Leading Roosevelt 21-6 on homecoming night, the Falcons were driving for another score when senior receiver Ethan Zippay was knocked to the ground by an illegal hit that drew a flag.
Zippay remained on the ground and was tended to by coaches and trainers for roughly 20 minutes until an ambulance drove onto the field and took him to a hospital.
After the game, Kalani coach Scott Melemai said Zippay felt pain in his back, but was talking and had movement in his arms and legs.
“It was his back that had tenderness so that’s why we took precaution,” the first-year Falcons coach said.
The injury dampened what was otherwise a great night for Kalani, which defeated Roosevelt 27-12 to improve to 2-2 in OIA D-II play.
Junior quarterback Seth Tina-Sobarano rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two more. He was 8-for-14 for 209 yards, averaging 26 yards per completion in the win.
“This is his second year as a varsity starter and he’s come a long way,” Melemai said. “When he sits in the pocket he can make good decisions and when he runs around he can make some plays. He’s worked really hard in this offseason.”
Brandon Kim caught a 68-yard touchdown pass from Tina-Sobarano on Kalani’s second offensive play of the game and finished with four receptions for 127 yards.
Kalani is one of five OIA D-II teams with two wins this season. The race for the playoffs is shaping up with Pearl City, Waipahu, Kaimuki, Waialua and Kalani contending for the four spots. Kalani handed Kaimuki (2-1) its only loss in league play, but suffered a two-point defeat to Waialua (2-1) the next week.
Two of its final three games in league play are against Kalaheo (1-3) and McKinley (0-2), giving the Falcons an opportunity to get back to the playoffs for the first time in two years.
When asked if the Roosevelt game was a win he needed to have, Melemai laughed and simply said, “we want to win every game.”