BIIF champion Hilo was rewarded with the top seed in Division I of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships.
Now the Vikings (8-1) have to prove they were worth the honor when they host Leilehua (4-7) at Ke’au on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Hilo is 0-5 all-time in the state tournament but gave Kahuku quite the scare in the first round two years ago. Leilehua won the 2007 state title and is 9-5 overall in the state tournament.
HISTORY: This is the first meeting between the two schools in the Prep Bowl and state championship eras.
Live updates of the 7 p.m. kickoff will follow below.
Leilehua 26, Hilo 25, F
Damion Scandrick, a former Keaau player now with Leilehua, blocks Tolentino-Perry’s 39-yard field goal attempt with just over 1 minute left. Leilehua kneels the clock out.
Andres runs the OPTION right, 14 yards. Then option keeper left, 16 yards. But Andres is down after that gain with 6:56 left. Great playcalling by Leilehua to go to something Hilo hadn’t seen all night. Who still runs the option anywhere statewide? Maybe a handful of teams. Andres is up after a minute, took a hit to a shin. Piceno in at QB. Mules ball at the 23. Andres is out for just one play, returns and he’s a general. He passes for a short 6-yard gain, and Hilo is called for holding. Ball at the 7. Then Andres has an empty backfield, runs left, bounces outside and drags three Vikings with him as he reaches over the goal line with the ball. Touchdown, Mules. WOW. Mules call time out before the PAT. Going for 2. Hilo stuffs the run left on the PAT try. LEI 26, HIL 25, 6:07.
Hilo gets extremely conservative after Huddleston gains 11 yards. Third and 20, Huddleston picks up 16 on a screen. Fourth and 4, 7:37, time out Hilo. Tiogangco flushed out and tries to run for it, but Donavon Ugalino sacks him. Flag down, they wave it off. Leilehua ball at its 47. 7:30 left.
Mules diligent as always, hitting short passes and moving the chain before Andres lofts a long pass to Phifer, who outjumps the defender and goes the rest of the way to the right pylon for a 39-yard TD. HIL 25, LEI 20, 10:26. WOW.
The Mules start at their 6 after Holiday accidentally kneels while receiving the kickoff. A late hit call on Hilo is a big break for the visitors, ball is at their 26 when the quarter ends.
Hilo gets the ball back on Leilehua’s turnover on downs, and the next snap is a 75-yard TD jaunt up the middle by Huddleston. HIL 25, LEI 13, 1:26. WOW.
Hilo tries another pooch kickoff to a gap, but the Mules recover. Ball at their 39. Not sure if that’s a great idea, but the risk wasn’t bad. Leilehua gives to KASB on first down but the Viks are ready, no gain for the first time tonight. But a fresh RB, Dawkins, is a blur around right tackle for 9 yards. We’ve got Boulder and Lightning here. Hilo wraps up Piceno on first down, but facemask is called. Ball to the Hilo 31. Piceno with the nice zone read, fake to KASB, runs 9 yards for the first down. Ball at the Hilo 21. Third and 6, Andres’ pass incomplete as Piceno and a defender tangle up. Fourth down, a reverse trick play but Kawai Phifer is sacked by Rylen Kaniaupio, who has been almost everywhere defensively.
Vikings get a 17-yard pass from Tiogangco to Huddleston on the first play of the drive to the 49 and they’re rolling. Tiogangco’s speed is a huge factor, nice sideline pass to beat the blitz. Third and 2 and illegal procedure on Huddleston. Pass is incomplete. Fourth down, Tolentino-Perry lines up for a 36-yard field goal try, but it’s another flag, illegal procedure. Now it’s 41 yards, but Tolentino-Perry drills it with about 7-8 yards to spare. Josh Pacheco, the radio play-by-play whiz, says Tolentino-Perry is now 10-for-13 this season. HIL 18, LEI 13, 4:50.
Mules receive, weather is still clear, no big wind and no rain. Perfect for their passing game. They return the ball to their 26, and KASB goes back to work. Hilo’s defense is tightening up around the big back, but he’s lengthening each Mules drive. Fourth and 5 from the Hilo 34, they call Andres with a QB draw and he’s three yards short. Hilo ball with 8:06 left in the third.
Leilehua three and out, punts, 52-yarder. Hilo ball at its 27, :34 left. Viks do a reverse pass with Tiogangco, but he underthrows a wide-open receiver (Tolentino-Perry) who had 3 steps on his defender. Ball incomplete. Roughing call against Leilehua. Hilo stalling near mid-field. Leilehua with a sack. Time out, Hilo, :10. Fourth down, Hilo punts, Leilehua lets the ball roll and the half ends.
All that cover-3 defense by Hilo worked in Leilehua’s favor thanks to Mr. 250. Hilo goes three and out with Tiogangco at QB, punt. Leilehua ball at its 18 with 1:01 left.
KASB is changing this game. The 250-pound wrecking ball carries for 6, 9 and 5 yards, bouncing off Hilo defenders. That’s right, Mules playing smashmouth football. Serafi Ulai steps in at RB and gains 10 more yards, and Andres passes to Jay Jay Antolin for 16 yards to the 10. Ulai picks up about 4 yards, and Hilo gets flagged for a personal foul. Ball now at the 4, but Ulai is down. KASB powers for 3 yards and it takes all 11 Vikings to stop him. But he scores on the next play for a 1-yard TD. Bomboocha. Leilehua lines up for the PAT in a centipede formation, shifts to a PAT kick, then fakes the kick and the holder is sacked before he could get a pass off. HIL 15, LEI 13, 2:17.
Hilo goes deep, but Miyasato’s pass is intercepted on a jump-ball kind of situation. Tough call, Leilehua gets a break. Mules ball at their 33. They’ve got momentum here after being dominated in the first quarter.
Mules persist on running the ball and it works. Their bowling-ball fullback, 250-pound Kalika Anderson Seumanutafa Bryant picks up key yardage. Andres finds Jerome Holiday for an 11-yard TD pass and the Mules are on the scoreboard. HIL 15, LEI 7, 5:30.
Tiogangco getting the snaps in the red zone, pass dropped at the 1-yard line. Tolentino-Perry knuckles a field goal through from 28 yards out, good. HIL 15, LEI 0, 10:37.
Huddleston with another big run, this time 36 yards to the Mules’ 25 as the quarter closes.
Mules three and out again. Hilo winning at the line of scrimmage. Punt downed at the Hilo 32.
Ka‘ale Tiogangco lines up at WR and hauls in a lob down the right sideline for 23 yards. He is a weapon. Ball at the 36 of Leilehua. Third and long, screen pass overthrown. That would’ve been a first down. Another sloppy punt snap, but the punter Kalei Tolentino-Perry snags it and punts left-footed to the 20. Nice play.
Hilo punts for the first time, ball out at the 19. But Leilehua goes three and out, punts right back. Hilo’s ball on its 41.
Mules with good field position, but the drive stalls at the 39. Fourth and long, Piceno stopped for a 2-yard gain. Hilo ball. Mules going no-huddle, hurry-up, but empty on two series so far.
The Vikings get a blast up the middle by RB Kahale Huddleston for 40 yards to the 8-yard line. After a time out by Leilehua and the ball on the 13, Ka‘ale Tiogangco enters for the first time, completes a pass to his brother, Kainalu, for 8 yards. Next play, Huddleston scores up the gut for a 5-yard TD. PAT pass is incomplete. HIL 12, LEI 0, 8:56.
Kona Andres with a 26-yard completion on the first play from scrimmage for Leilehua, but they stall and on fourth and 15, screen pass to Kaleo Aloha Piceno gains just 3 yards. Hilo ball at the Mules’ 48.
Pooch kickoff by Leilehua is caught by the Vikings, first down at their own 49. Hilo drives 51 yards in six plays. The freshman QB, Kyan Miyasato, is sharp with a completion, a pass interference call, and then scrambles 15 yards to the right pylon, touchdown. PAT kick misses. HIL 6, LEI 0, 11:00.
Leilehua wins the toss and elects to defer. Hilo will receive the kickoff, going north to south, my left to right.
Everyone here at Keaau High School tells me that the lights are literally night and day now. When the BIIF season ended, one corner of the field was virtually in the dark. The tower near that corner had just three working lights, according to longtime coach-turned-cameraman Thane Milhoan. But with the state-tourney game here tonight, those bulbs and many more were replaced and the field is almost shiny.
It’s been sunny all day so the field is in fairly good shape after a rough season. However, it normally rains here in the evening, so a slushy, maybe muddy field is probably unavoidable.
Senior QB Ka‘ale Tiangangco was cleared to play earlier in the week, a huge plus for the Hilo Vikings. Leilehua is playing with all-state DB (and WR) Charles Moku Watson (torn labrum).