This was not the usual night for Tomasi Pasi.
The junior defensive back came up with the play of the game with 16 seconds left and Kahuku clinging to a 21-19 lead over Campbell. The Sabers had just scored on a remarkable 24-yard touchdown pass from Blaine Hipa to Titus Mokiao-Atimalala.
On the ensuing two-point conversion attempt with 16 seconds remaining, Hipa scrambled and hurled another pass to Mokiao-Atimalala, who had just received three college scholarship offers within the past two days. At the last second, with Mokiao-Atimalala in the back of the end zone, Pasi deflected the ball, preserving Kahuku’s win.
The Red Raiders will meet the Saint Louis-Mililani winner in the final in the Open Division of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships next Friday at Aloha Stadium.
Pasi, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound two-way back, is listed as a running back on the offensive end. It was his fourth-and-15 catch near the sideline — as a receiver — for an 18-yard gain that kept a key drive alive for Big Red. Kahuku went on to score the go-ahead touchdown moments later for a 14-10 lead.
Defense, though, is where Pasi made his mark. He did his best to jam Mokiao-Atimalala on the key play.
“I’m pretty physical, so I was just trying to get hands on him, but I had to make the keys with the other receivers,” he said. “They were all to the left, and he was lined up on one side. I had my eyes on him. There was all this scrambling, so I was looking at the quarterback and then he threw it up. I tried to get right in front of him and tipped it. I was like, I was hoping I batted it enough to get it away from his hands. It was good enough.”
Played quite well against a pass catcher with offers from Hawaii, Michigan, Wisconsin, Cal, Oregon State.
“He’s a good receiver. I just had to make sure I’m on my game and keep focus,” Pasi said.
Next up is the state final.
“We’ve just got to get good practices in this week and come out with our game,” he said. “We can do it.”