Iolani’s victory over Moanalua on Saturday was all about Brock Hedani picking up touchdowns and the Raiders’ defense picking off passes.
Hedani rushed for two scores and caught a touchdown and No. 9 ‘Iolani intercepted five passes on defense in a 35-9 victory over host Moanalua in the Division I semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships.
‘Iolani (10-2) will play No. 6 Hilo for the title at 4 p.m. Friday at Aloha Stadium.
Hedani, a senior, was previously a member of the Raiders’ defense. In fact, Hedani said he had played exclusively at linebacker since he was 8 years old before finally moving to running back this season.
“I honestly felt that I could help the offense and I guess it worked out for the best,” said Hedani, who finished with 24 carries for 90 yards.
He scored in the second quarter on runs of 1 and 17 yards and sealed the victory with a 7-yard touchdown reception from Jonah Chong, which made it 28-9 with 5:15 remaining.
For the season, Hedani has 155 carries for 718 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.
“He’s really matured and grown through the year,” ‘Iolani coach Wendell Look said. “Moving him to offense was something he wanted to do and it’s very rewarding for him and very good for us.”
The Raiders didn’t get much pressure on Na Menehune quarterback RJ Javar, but more than made up for it with superb coverage.
‘Iolani got two interceptions from Lanakila Pei, including a pick-6, two more interceptions from Micah Shikada and another from Stirling Sakashita.
“We knew they’re mainly a passing team,” Pei said. “We inputted new coverages to man up with each and every one of their wide receivers and hopefully slow them down.”
The Raiders also recorded three sacks.
“We were worried about the quarterback running and scrambling,” Look said. He hurt us last game (21-20 Moanalua victory) with his legs and his arm, so we kind of had to pick our poison a little bit. We wanted to contain him a little bit and play a little bit of coverage and hopefully we could get to him some.”
Moanalua (10-2) outgained ‘Iolani in total offense 474 yards to 271. Na Menehune simply couldn’t execute when it counted.
“We had everything set, we just weren’t hitting,” Moanalua coach Savai’i Eselu said. “If you don’t hit against a team like that, you get smashed.”
Na Menehune drove to the Raiders’ 4 with eight seconds left before halftime, but Shikada’s first interception ended the scoring opportunity.
Late in the third quarter, Moanalua reached the ‘Iolani 6, but a 14-yard sack by Joshua Miyazawa short-circuited the drive.
The Raiders capped the scoring on a 28-yard pick-6 from Pei with 1:11 left.
“Our starting safety, he went out with some cramps,” Pei said. “Our dime (package), kind of like our rover position, moved back to safety and I’m the 2 guy for the dime. I did my job. I just sat under and found wide receivers and I was exactly where I needed to be to make that play.”