The Leilehua Mules have been a pleasant surprise this season, earning a first-round bye in the OIA playoffs after finishing second in the OIA Red. Leilehua hosts the Darren Johnson-led Campbell Sabers with the winner earning a trip to the OIA semifinals.
Top performances in the series:
Campbell passing vs. Leilehua: Isaac Hurd with 251 yards in 2013
Campbell rushing vs. Leilehua: Shauncey-Blaine Saito with 172 yards in 2002
Campbell receiving vs. Leilehua: Rashard David with 97 yards in 1995
Leilehua passing vs. Campbell: Justin Jenks with 302 yards in 2012
Leilehua rushing vs. Campbell: Tito Rivera with 200 yards in 1991
Leilehua receiving vs. Campbell: MIchael Wilson with 138 yards in 1990
No. 9 Campbell 10, No. 6 Leilehua 6, Final
Fourth down, Nichols has time but nobody is open, pocket collapses and his pass falls incomplete. Campbell ball with :49 left and the Sabers run out the clock.
Leilehua gets the ball back at its 19 with 1:14 left to play. Nichols goes deep, ball on the mark, down the sideline, but Ramos drops it near the Campbell 40. Nichols has quite an arm. Next play, pass to Evans on the left sideline incomplete. Double coverage. Time out, LEI, 1:00 left. Nichols looks for Jerome Holliday on the right sideline, but Adkins-Kupukaa is there to knock it down. Holliday prevented the pick. Injury time out. Campbell player, can’t see his number. OK, he’s getting up with a lot of help. It’s Sevao, who has played a huge game.
The Sabers get a huge play from WR Jalen Henderson, who leaps to make an acrobatic catch while staying inbounds. That’s a 14-yard catch just beyond the chains for a first down. Campbell chewing off time, ball is at the 50 after Adkins-Kupukaa fumbled on a reception, but Joshua Salvido recovered for the Sabers. Fourth and 1, Campbell punts.
Mules go to McGary, who powers through the trenches for gains of 14 and 16 yards, then off left tackle for 3 yards. Two incomplete passes by backup QB Max Nichols and the Mules punt. Fair catch by Campbell at its 18, 6:07 left.
Sabers drive to the 36 of Leilehua, forth and 5, punt, penalty on Leilehua for running into the kicker. First down Campbell. Three plays later, it’s fourth down at the 34, Sabers fake the punt, but procedure is called. Then officials determine a time out had been called by Leilehua. 7:43 left. Teams return to the field and a five-yard penalty is assessed now. Weirdness. Punt is sky high, just 4 yards before being downed. Leilehua has the ball with 7:28 left.
Mules go three and out, hurting themselves with a holding call. Punt.
No. 9 Campbell 10, No. 6 Leilehua 6, 3Q, :35
Game resumes and the Sabers drive to the 1, time out, Leilehua. Then Tafai carries off left tackle for a TD. PAT is good, might have been partially blocked. Sabers lead for the first time.
Andres is carted off the field, clearly a serious injury.
Pillette gets a toss to the left, but is immediately upended and flips over, loses the ball. Campbell’s Stone Africa recovers and his teammates push him ahead in the midst of a huge scrum for an apparent TD. Flag down, assisting the runner. That’s illegal. Ball is placed on the Leilehua 12. To make matters worse, Andres is down with an injury. The entire stadium has gone silent. That scrum was moving at about 10-15 mph, basically a stampede. Not good.
Sabers do the same, three runs, no first down, punt out of bounds at the Leilehua 35.
Mules go to RB Isaiah Pillete three straight carries for eight yards. Punt fair caught at the Campbell 33.
No. 6 Leilehua 6, No. 9 Campbell 3, 3Q, 6:31
Rain starting to come down again. Keanukea Coyaso-DeCambra’s 44-yard return on the opening kickoff of the second half gives Campbell a spark. Kaipo connects with Poki‘i Adkins-Kupukaa for 3 and 38 yards. Adkins-Kupukaa had played defense in the first half and had just one pass thrown his way as a receiver. A holding call nullifies a TD run by Viliami Vaimui, and the Sabers go conservative with no throws on second and third downs. Kaipo recovers a fumble by RB/LB Tafai. Ball is still slick. Ariel Villanueva’s 22-yard field goal puts the Sabers on the scoreboard.
No. 6 Leilehua 6, No. 9 Campbell 0, Half
At Hugh Yoshida Stadium
Campbell (6-3) 0 0 xx xx — xx
Leilehua (6-2) 0 6 xx xx — 6
LEI—Akoni Tom-Makue FG 37
LEI—Tom-Makue FG 24
#27 Jacob Covington 4-44,
#4 Tyrese Tafai 2-4,
#10 Viliami Vaimoui 3-(-2),
#12 Krenston Kaipo 2-(-15),
#14 James McGary 9-25,
#4 Jeremy Ramos 1-4,
#1 Kona Andres 7-(-5),
#17 Dorian Furtado 1-(-4),
#12 Kaipo 6-12-0-52,
#1 Andres 6-15-0-73,
#88 Jalen Henderson 3-28,
#14 Vernon Etrata-Daite 1-8,
#2 Christian Quiambao 1-11,
#4 Tafai 1-5,
#3 Keanu Hirota 3-27,
#2 Evans 2-26,
#4 Ramos 1-20,
The Mules drive to the Campbell 33 after completions of 12 and 20 yards by Andres, but he is sacked by Melcolm Kelaulani. An incompletion and a 4-yard gain by McGary to the 37, and time expires. No field-goal attempt. No Hail Mary. Coach Mark Kurisu is content with the six-point lead. That was either extremely conservative or something just wasn’t right out there; why risk Andres taking an unnecessary hit, maybe?
Campbell picks up one first down, but a sack by Braxton Victor derails the drive. Leilehua takes over after a no-gain punt return at its 35 with 1:34 left in the half.
No. 6 Leilehua 6, No. 9 Campbell 0, 2Q, 3:45
Leilehua’s drive stalls at the 7 after two incomplete passes. Tom-Makue’s 24-yard field goal opens the margin to six points.
Mules try a screen pass to McGary, something different, but it’s sniffed out, incomplete. But on third and long, a deep pass is incomplete and targeting is called on the DB. Third and 20, Andres leaves the pocket and fires a strike to Jeremy Evans on the sideline for a first down. Andres showing his speed now, running for 6 yards, and on fourth and 1, running again on the left side for 6 yards. First down at the 13. Completion to Evans to the 7. Time out, Campbell.
No. 6 Leilehua 6, No. 9 Campbell 0, 2Q, 8:00
Sabers go three and out. Sky-high punt is downed, 21 yards to the Leilehua 42. Neither offense will to show new stuff. Double coverage on some of the balls thrown downfield. We have a defensive battle.
Mules go three and out, getting a sideline chase and sack by Dane Esprecion. Campbell is not giving Andres any space to run. Punt is downed at the Campbell 30. Sabers ball.
Tom-Makue blasts the kickoff into the end zone for a touchback. Sabers are third and 4, procedure penalty. Coverage on the punt is solid, 1-yard loss for Leilehua.
No. 6 Leilehua 3, No. 9 Campbell 0, 2Q, 11:54
The first quarter ends scoreless. The Mules drove to the Campbell 9-yard line, but lost a yard on a dive by McGary and 10 more yards on a sack by Isaac Sevao. Ball at the 20, fourth down and it’s FG time.
Tom-Makue drills a 37-yard attempt with a good 12-14 yards to spare. Leilehua draws first blood.
No. 9 Campbell 0, No. 6 Leilehua 0, end 1Q
The Sabers seem to have some momentum after picking up two first downs, including one on a run by Jacob Covington, who has 44 yards on four rushes so far. But the drive stalls after a sack by Odin Mersberg and a deep pass by Krenston Kaipo is too far. Punt is only 3 yards, straight up in the air, downed at the 42. Short field for the home team.
Second series for Leilehua starts pretty well, a 10-yard pass by Kona Andres, but Campbell stuffs a draw play and there are two drops during the drive. I think the slickness of the ball is just enough to mess with receivers tonight. Punt by Akoni Tom-Makue is 47 yards, downed at the 24. Nice work.
Campbell drives to the 23, then draws Leilehua offside and it’s fourth and 1. But the shotgun snap is low and recovered by the Mules in the backfield.
On-side kick by Campbell is recovered by Leilehua at its 44. Three carries by McGary, fourth and 3, Mules will punt. But Campbell calls time out. It’s coming down here, first a drizzle, now a bit heavier.
Conditions here at Wahiawa are typically idyllic with the Waianae Mountain Range in the horizon, a mix of white and gray coulds, but no real threat of rain. The installation of this synthetic turf a few years back was a dream come true for Mules football and soccer players who had endured muddy terrain for so long. Now, this field is part of one of the best facilities for football in the state. Personally, the three-tiered press box is a blessing. Plenty of space for game officials (scoreboard), coaches, press and TV.
A dash of history
This is, by many accounts, possibly the most competitive matchup in the OIA quarterfinals. On paper.
The Campbell-Leilehua series is a throwback to a simpler time, when plantations covered the landscape and the Rural Oahu Interscholastic Association was still an entity. For decades, the Mules were the victor much more often, but in their last four games, the teams have split.
Oct. 17, 2014
Campbell won 20-14 last year in the OIA playoffs.
Aug. 23, 2013
Leilehua won 28-21 behind Mack Eberhardt’s 127 passing yards.
Sept. 21, 2012
The Sabers won at home in overtime, 35-34, despite 302 passing yards by Leilehua’s Justin Jenks.
Sept. 3, 2011
Campbell won at Leilehua 32-13 behind 183 passing yards by Kenan Sadanaga.