Defense keys Campbell’s overtime win

Moanalua’s Brandon Bender is hit by Campbell linebacker Tyrese Tafai during the first half. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Defense defined Campbell’s first home game in nearly two years.

While the Sabers gave away five turnovers against Moanalua on Friday, they countered with six takeaways and limited a prolific Na Menehune offense to 118 yards in total offense in a 12-6 win in double overtime on Friday night.

Jaylen Ignatowski came up with Campbell’s first two turnovers with a fumble recovery and an interception in the first half. The Sabers and Na Menehune traded turnovers on a single play in the third quarter when a Moanalua interception return ended in a fumble recovered by Campbell.

Campbell intercepted three of Moanalua quarterback Alakai Yuen’s last five passes, including two in overtime with Poki’i Adkins-Kupukaa coming up with picks to end regulation and again in the second overtime.

Campbell came up empty on its possession in the first overtime but an interception by Noah Empron forced a second overtime.

After Adkins-Kupukaa’s second pick, the Campbell offense converted with a two-play scoring drive to end the game. Quarterback Kawika Ulufale picked up 15 yards with a keeper up the middle and Darius Cambe finished off the game with a 5-yard touchdown run.

“Our game plan was to slow down Yuen and I think our defense did a wonderful job,” Campbell coach Amosa Amosa said.

“Our offense kind of sputtered, just trying to find things we can do well and execute well. We threw two interceptions early so we got back to trying to run and control the ball with our big guys up front.”

Moanalua entered the Friday’s game averaging 33 points in five games led by quarterback Yuen’s 255 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Ryan Ramones had averaged just over 156 receiving yards per game and caught 14 touchdown passes.

Yuen and Ramones connected on a 12-yard touchdown pass on Moanalua’s first possession of the third quarter. But Campbell held Ramones to 55 yards on five catches while Yuen finished with 139 passing yards and four picks. The Sabers also pushed Na Menehune back for negative-21 rushing yards.

“They were clouding it and we could see it, but for some reason we had no time protecting,” Moanalua coach Savaii Eselu said. “It was one of those days.”

Moanalua was last held to single digit scoring in a 34-6 loss at Campbell on Aug. 22, 2014 — a span of 21 games — and Amosa credited Campbell defensive backs Braden Kauhane and Dylon Duque for shadowing Ramones for much of the night.

“We mixed in some of our linebackers to kind of combo cover him here and there,” Amosa said.

Amosa, a standout offensive lineman in his playing days at Campbell and the University of Hawaii, put the game on the backs of his linemen to end the defensive duel.

“I’m so happy with our up-front guys,” Amosa said. “I gave it to them, ’It’s going to be up you guys. I’m not going to throw the ball. I’m going to run the ball in with you guys.’

“I’m so proud of our kids. This is our first overtime in maybe the last four years and for them to come through it like this, so proud of them tonight.”

Campbell jumped ahead of Moanalua into third place in the OIA Blue and both teams face the division frontrunners next week. Campbell plays host to Waianae on Friday. Moanalua faces top-ranked Kahuku on Saturday in the Red Raiders’ return to OIA play after taking on Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas.


  1. Chloropicrin September 17, 2016 5:45 am

    Whoa, didn’t see that coming.

  2. AUWE September 17, 2016 6:02 am

    Lol yep don’t think anyone did!! On paper moanalua should of had this one 35 to 14… But that’s why the game is played on da field and not paper..

    Good job sabers!!!

  3. Chloropicrin September 17, 2016 8:07 am

    It’s all about seeding at this point. Coming in 3rd or 4th could be the difference. I can see Moanalua matching up with anyone from the D1Red side, they might not have a defense but Yuen could keep them around offensively getting into to shoot outs with Kapolei, Mililani and or Farrington.

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