Kamehameha got a pretty nice 50-20 home win over ‘Iolani on Saturday night and it served as a confidence-builder for the Warriors, who fell to Punahou 56-14 a week earlier.
On the offensive side of the ball, things went smoothly on the ground and through the air. Kanoa Shannon rushed for 88 yards on 19 carries and Boogie Yam passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more. As a team, the seventh-ranked Warriors gained 540 total yards, 313 via the pass and 227 by the run.
“We’ll always be a run-first football team,” Kamehameha first-year head coach Abu Ma‘afala said. “That’s who we are. We gained some confidence and I’m glad we had some success and hopefully we can continue to build on that.”
Ma‘afala was concerned with a defensive lapse in the first half that allowed No. 10 ‘Iolani to get within 10 points, 24-14.
“They were two plays away from getting right back in it,” the coach said. “Hey, we need to play hard. That’s something we’ve been telling them. We can’t let anybody outplay us. That’s our message for the rest of the year.
“It’s discipline. Our team as a whole and everything we did this week in challenging them was that when the pressure is on, you gotta keep your belly hot and your head cool. And still be able to function — I mean they (the Raiders) picked up the tempo on us and our guys were just all over the place. We need to pick up the tempo in practice and we just need to get better. It’s the basic things, like tackling and taking good tackling angles. Those are all fixable things, but the kids gotta want to get better at that. We’ll review the film, bring that to their attention and emphasize it a ton in the weeks that follow. We got outplayed by ‘Iolani in the first half.”
That’s it right there — they’ve got to have the “want to.” The schedule only gets tougher.
Ma‘afala was quite pleased with all of the offensive sets the Warriors put in play, including the wildcat that found success and surprised Punahou last week on one long drive but was used sparingly against the Raiders (3-2, 0-2 Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I).
“Whenever you add a tight end or two tight ends, as we saw last year with Kahuku, it makes people have to game-plan for more things, so it’s just something we’re going to build on,” Ma‘afala said. “I feel really, really good about the other things we did and the other packages and hope the kids continue to be confident and build on that.”
Yam got most of the snaps and backup Justice Young got some playing time in the second half. Young was also the recipient of a fake-punt pass by Adam Stack that went for a first down.
“They’re both good,” Ma‘afala said about his two QBs. “I know people may question what I’m doing (by playing both). I’m trying to get both kids to college. Boogie was very consistent. He understands what he’s doing. Justice has been the same way in practice. Both guys are more than capable of running this offense.”
Shannon was the workhorse against ‘Iolani, carrying the ball 19 times for his 88 yards. Jaykob Cabunoc caught two of Yam’s TD passes among his seven receptions for 153 yards.
Nakoa Pauole, who recorded a safety on a hit to Raiders backup QB Jarin Yokogoawa in the end zone, Akalea Kapono (sack), Kalawai‘a Pescaia (sack), Joshua Mahelona (interception), and Hoku Arias (tackle for loss) were among the Warriors’ defensive standouts.
‘Iolani’s Kaua Nishigaya intercepted a pass, Cameron Chang recovered a fumble and Justin Miyazawa recovered an uncontested pooch kick to give the Raiders the ball deep in Warriors territory late in the first half. ‘Iolani trailed 38-20 at the time, but did not capitalize on that play before the break.
Miyazawa had seven catches for 59 yards and Justin Genovia added six receptions for 77 yards. KJ Pascua piled up 93 scrimmage yards, including 73 on five catches.
‘Iolani quarterback Tai-John Mizutani, who threw two short TD passes to Miyazawa and Genovia, finished with 192 passing yards. As a team, the Raiders rushed for 74 yards and passed for 263 for a total of 337 scrimmage yards.
Kamehameha (2-2, 1-1) faces a tough road ahead. The Warriors close out the regular season with two games against No. 2 Saint Louis along with rematches against No. 3 Punahou and No. 10 ‘Iolani.
The same goes for the Raiders, who play Punahou twice along with rematches against Saint Louis and Kamehameha.