No. 6 Hilo 19, No. 8 Leilehua 9, Final
Third and 5, Miyasato to Haasenritter in the flat for a first down. Silva through the masses for 34 yards to the Leilehua 9. Time runs out before Silva can punch it over. Hilo advances to the championship game and will the ‘Iolani-Moanalua winner at Aloha Stadium next week.
Leilehua three-and-out. Punt.
Two plays after the fumble recovery, Miyasato fires a bullet to Kilohana Haasenritter, and the CB misses the pick attempt. Haasenritter sprints untouched to the end zone for a 19-yard TD. That might seal it. HILO 19, LEILEHUA 9, Q4, 6:33.
Kick return to the Leilehua 48, Mules have good field position. But they go backwards on a holding call, way back, spot foul from deep in the backfield. Kainalu Lewis then sacks Turangan, forces the fumble and recovers at the Leilehua 22. HUGE play.
Second and 8 for Hilo, snap goes through Miyasato’s hands, ball on the grass. He picks it up and throws it out of bounds. WOW. Wait a minute, officials confer and rule the pass intentional grounding. It’s a SAFETY. Wow. HILO 12, LEILEHUA 9, Q4, 8:13.
After Hilo’s punt, Leilehua has the ball at its 16. Vereen has returned at RB. Third and long, Turangan to Akagi for a 27-yard gain to the Mules 46. Big play. Fourth down at the Hilo 48, Mules punt, ball downed at the Hilo 2.
Vikings driving past midfield. Ball at the Leilehua 46 as the third quarter closes. Rain has held up for the past two quarters, seems like snaps and footing are much better. For now.
Hilo’s decision to on-side with a 12-0 lead is reminiscent of the Neighbor Island Classic game here at Wong in the early 1990s. The Vikings led Kauai 13-0 and went for an on-side kick that didn’t work. Taylor Shigemoto and the Red Raiders rallied for a 21-13 win.
Turangan connects with Ramos for a 33-yard pass to the Hilo 4. Time out, Hilo, 2:03 left in the third quarter. Field is getting muddy between the hashes, but the red zone in the north end zone is still lush. Fourth and goal from the 4, Turangan fires a strike to Ramos at the left pylon just beyond the goal line, touchdown. Leilehua is on the board. PAT kick is good. HILO 12, LEILEHUA 7, Q3, 1:46.
Hilo tries a pooch kick on the kickoff and Guyson Ogata recovers, but officials confer. The ball did not advance 10 yards downfield, and the ball belongs to Leilehua. Fans are booing for the first time tonight.
Hilo at the 20, and Miyasato is drilled in the pocket, fumble. Recovered by Hilo, but Leilehua flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. That helps the Vikings big time, as they move into field-goal position. Keolanui drills his second FG, this one from 37 yards out. HILO 12, LEILEHUA 0, Q3, 4:13.
After a Hilo three-and-out, Leilehua has the ball at its 22. Smith falls as he tries to cut and loses the ball. Mules recover. Low snap, fumble, Hilo’s Tysen Kaniaupio recovers at the Leilehua 45. Yep, it’s a mess out there.
Mules receive the second-half kickoff and begin at their 36 after the return. Vereen for 8, then 5 yards and is injured. He makes it off the field. Damarion Smith enters at RB. Fourth and 1, Leilehua burns a time out. Ball at the Hilo 42. Turangan keeps and is tackled for a loss. Hilo ball.
Aside from the late pass from Akagi to Ramos, and the two long runs by Vereen, Leilehua has struggled against a hard-hitting Hilo defense. Their brand of football is perfect for this stadium. They know how to run in this sloshy stuff, too. Vereen should have scored on the first big run, but he inexplicably went down all by himself at the Hilo 35. With that play and the scoreboard flickering (mostly dark) and the flickering stadium lights earlier, maybe there’s a ghost or two playing tricks here at Wong Stadium.
Hilo ball, but the Viks are having ball-security problems again. Tiogangco fumbles after a catch again, and it’s Leilehua ball at the Hilo 41. Akagi launches a bomb down the muddy left sideline and Ramos hauls it in for a 29-yard gain to the Hilo 12. Time out by the Vikings with 1:45 left in the half. Turangan re-enters after Akagi takes a sack. Turangan’s deep pass to Ramos is underthrown and Elijah Apo comes up with the pick in the end zone for a touchback with 1:09 left in the first half. These footballs are water-logged and nobody is overthrowing anybody tonight. It is a shot put festival.
Vereen rips off another long run, sloshing through puddles and mud for a 49-yard gain to the Hilo 22. Kalei Akagi enters at QB, gains 10 yards, but two plays later, he runs left and is whistled for facemask on his stiff arm attempt. Big loss. Fourth and long, screen pass to Vereen from Turangan is short. Hilo ball.
Hilo driving, but Miyasato’s sideline pass is picked off by Selau Aiava at the Mules 13.
Leilehua offense still stagnant. Hilo loading the box and daring the Mules to throw these waterlogged balls. Doesn’t look like anyone is permitted to use rubber balls like they did in the 1990s on the Big Island during these conditions.
Hilo wastes this opportunity. Kaimi Tiogangco catches a pass from Miyasato and funbles. Leilehua recovers at the Hilo 11. Big stop.
Mules offense stagnant. Run, run, pass. Punter Jonathan Vasquez drops the snap, sacked by Kapana Kana’e‐Kane at the Mules 23. Another big opportunity.
Second play for Hilo on its fifth series, Miyasato hits WR Kyler Aguiar with a quick pass at the left sideline, and the speedy playmaker slices through tacklers for an 83-yard TD. PAT kick misses. HILO 9, LEILEHUA 0, Q2, 11:32.
Bad snap again for Hilo out on that swamp field, and Miyasato slides for the ball and misses the grasp. Leilehua’s Keaka Pio is there for the recovery. HUGE BREAK for the Mules. Ball at the Hilo 14 as the first quarter ends. Field-goal try to begin the second quarter. Surprise. Bad snap, and the holder is sacked near the sideline on a futile attempt to escape. This is just ridiculous.
Leilehua punts, and it goes 64 yards with the bounce, and Hilo returns it to midfield, but the play is called back by penalty. First down Hilo at its 30.
Hilo punt bounces, Jayzon Ramos returns, popped, fumble and the Vikings recover at the Leilehua 34. Then, on fourth and short, Leilehua jumps offside again. But QB Kyan Miyasato fumbles on a sneak and Ethan Kuth saves the day for Leilehua. Mules ball at their 1.
Leilehua’s first series, second snap, Jemell Vereen breaks through the pile and is on his way for a touchdown but slips and is down at the Hilo 35. HUGE BREAK for Hilo. Leilehua turns the ball over on downs a few plays later.
Big fourth-and-1, Leilehua jumps offside. Hilo first down at the Mules 20. Hilo stalls at the 16 and here comes their kicker with rain failing for a 44-yard attempt. Time out, Leilehua. BOOOOOM! Keanu Keolanui’s 44-yard kick is high and deep, good by at least 10 yards. HILO 3, LEILEHUA 0, Q1, 7:55.
Leilehua wins the coin toss and defers. Hilo receives from the south end zone.
Dr. Francis Wong Stadium is drenched. Infield of this baseball facility is cake. Wet, chewy cake and it extends into one sideline of the football field. The north end zone is generally bordered by a batting cage structure five feet from the left corner back pylon.
This is what Hilo football has called home for decades. Think Oakland Alameda Coliseum with a one-story building next to an end zone. Keaau or Kamehameha-Hawaii have hosted Hilo’s state-tournament games in past years. What happens when someone slips near the structure and runs into it.
Hopefully, we don’t find out any time soon. I covered BIIF sports in the 1990s for eight years. That structure wasn’t here back then.
Chance of rain: 80%
Wind: 0-6 mph
Heat index: 73