The Governors defense stepped up in the winner-take-all game, holding Kahuku to just one first down over the first 35 minutes.
OIA Red East standings
Kahuku quarterback Tuli Wily-Matagi didn’t complete a pass until hitting Kuuliko Carvalho on a stop-and-go route for 27 yards with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter to record just the second Red Raiders first down of the game.
PJ Liua Jr. ended the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, but that was all the Kahuku offense would score. The Red Raiders punted nine times and had eight three-and-outs as Farrington held them to 143 total yards in the game.
“We treated this as a championship game,” Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. “I couldn’t ask for better execution of our game plan.”
Farrington beat Kahuku for just the second time in the last 18 meetings between the two schools. The Governors have won 18 of their last 19 regular-season OIA games and have finished 6-0 in the division for the second time in three seasons.
Both Kahuku and Farrington will have next week off before hosting quarterfinal games in the OIA Red playoffs in two weeks.
Still, it was an impressive win for a Govs team that looked lifeless in their first two games of the season. Farrington lost 33-16 to Waianae to start the year and was shellacked 38-3 by Kamehameha in Week 2. After 15 days off, the Govs survived an overtime game against Castle, 20-14.
Even in wins over Kailua, McKinley and Moanalua, Farrington just didn’t seem like it had enough firepower to compete with Kahuku for the division crown.
That couldn’t have been further from the truth on Thursday as the Govs put it all together in the game that counted the most.
“Things came together at the right time,” Okimoto said. “We started the season slowly and that actually helped us.”
Sanele Lavatai rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns. But it was the first drive of the game that really set the tone. Quarterback Montana Liana completed eight of his first nine passes and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run as Farrington went 72 yards in 14 plays on its first drive, taking 6:12 off the clock.
“They shut us down,” Kahuku coach Reggie Torres said. “They played great football for four quarters.”
Kahuku finished with 83 rushing yards on 32 attempts, averaging less than 3 yards a pop. Wily-Matagi finished 6-for-18 for 60 yards and an interception in the game.
Liana was an efficient 12-for-20 for 102 yards and no interceptions, providing just enough of a threat in the passing game to open the door for Lavatai, who had his third 100-yard rushing game of the season.