A week after pulling out a close win, Kalani saw one slip away on Saturday.
A miscue on an attempted punt resulted in a tie-breaking safety and the Falcons’ rally fell short in a 16-14 loss at Waialua’s Toshiyuki “Tosh” Nakasone Football Field.
Waialua followed the safety with a scoring drive that gave the Bulldogs a 16-7 lead with 7:06 left in the fourth quarter. The Falcons drove into Waialua territory but two holding calls and a sack halted that drive.
After a Waialua punt and Cody Uehara’s 30-yard return, quarterback Seth Tina-Sobarano scrambled until he found Randy Daligon open for a Manziel-like 37-yard completion. Tina-Sobarano then scored on an 11-yard keeper to bring the Falcons within two.
The ensuing onside kick took a high hop and bounced free for a tantalizing moment before rolling out of bounds to give Waialua possession with 1:02 left.
While the Falcons gave themselves a shot for a comeback in the final minute, the opportunities over the previous 47 minutes were on coach Scott Melemai’s mind after the game.
“A lot of errors, lot of penalties that hurt us,” Melemai said. “A lot of plays that we were doing good with momentum and then the penalty kills it and puts us in a bad situation.
“Dropped balls, missed blocks. A lot of small things turn into a lot of big things at the end and that’s the result. … That’s one of the things we try to focus on a lot at practice with this team, taking care of the small things and we’re still learning, still growing.”
Tina-Sobarano passed for 203 yards and running back Jaemi Harris ran for 92, with 81 coming on a third quarter touchdown run. Harris was initially stopped at the line of scrimmage, spun free and sprinted down the middle of the field for the Falcons’ first touchdown of the night.
On the other side of the ball, senior defensive back Hunter Benson thwarted an early Waialua threat with an interception inside the Kalani 10 and broke up three more throws.
The close finishes early in the season may have aged Melemai a tad in his first season as head coach.
“Every single game turns out to be like this and it’s kind of taxing a little bit. (But) It’s fun. Good group of kids. I’m enjoying it.”
Kalani (1-2, 1-1 OIA D-II) next faces McKinley (0-3, 0-2) on Saturday at Kaiser.