Farrington defense keys breakthrough win

Farrington's Chasen Castilliano, pictured in a game against Campbell, sparked the Governors' comeback Friday night. Farrington, however, wound up losing 27-21 to Waianae. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

After an 0-2 start to the season, Farrington’s defense made sure the skid ended with Friday’s trip to Nanakuli.

The Governors turned away an early threat from the Golden Hawks with the first of five takeaways and sparked a 35-0 win to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2005.

Farrington last dropped their first two games in 2013 (to Waianae and Kamehameha) then reeled off eight consecutive wins. The Governors opened this season with losses to No. 6 Kamehameha and No. 7 Campbell to fall out of the Star-Advertiser top 10 for the first time since that 2013 season.

The Governors rebounded by holding Nanakuli to minus-7 yards rushing and 87 yards in total offense. Wendell Alob came up with two interceptions and Liki Taoai recovered two fumbles, the second coming in the end zone for the game’s final touchdown.

“It’s not like we haven’t started with two losses before, but it’s funny how you just gotta get that one win to get encouraged like this,” Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. “For me, it’s ‘we’ve been here before we know what to do.’ But I know these kids are different, because they haven’t been here before — so it was good to see them bounce back.”

Nanakuli drove to the Farrington 35 on its first possession before stalling and Nahum Kipi led the Golden Hawks to the Governors 5 on their next drive. But a mishandled snap was recovered by Taoai to keep Nanakuli off the scoreboard.

Senior linebacker Thane Tanuvasa harassed Kipi throughout the night, dropping him for two sacks and pressuring him on numerous other occasions. Tanuvasa also knocked down two passes, the first while dropping into coverage on a fourth-down stop in the first quarter and the second while rushing off the edge to bat down another attempt just before halftime.

Farrington managed one first down in its first three possessions, but scored on its next three drives after being set up by a fumble recovery, an interception and a fourth-down stop.

“We finally got back to playing the defense that we usually play,” Okimoto said.

Quarterback Stephen Eter alternated drives with Chris Afe in the first quarter. Eter took over full time after Afe was shaken up late in the first quarter and four of his first five passes with two going for touchdowns to Reginald Faamatau and Tre Barrett.

Chasen Castilliano’s 46-yard burst down the left side gave Farrington a 21-0 lead in the second quarter and the Governors continued to pull away in the third. After Alob’s second interception, Eter found a wide-open Faamatau on a screen pass for a 25-yard score.

On Nanakuli’s next possession, Blessing Umaga forced a fumble on a sack in the end zone and Taoai pounced on the loose ball.

Farrington (1-2, 1-1) next faces No. 5 Kapolei on Aug. 26 at Skippa Diaz Stadium. Nanakuli (1-2, 1-1), which snapped a 10-game losing streak with a Week 2 win over Aiea, travels to No. 9 Kailua.


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