While a Kamehameha offense missing some of its leaders struggled in the first half of Friday’s ILH opener, the Warrior defense remained stifling in a 48-9 win over Saint Francis.
Kamehameha held Saint Francis to 24 yards in total offense and pushed the Saints backward for negative-46 rushing yards. Of Saint Francis’ 20 rush attempts, only three passed the line of scrimmage as the Warriors posted 14 tackles for losses, including four sacks.
Defensive lineman Kanoa Gilliland set up Kamehameha’s first touchdown with an interception and linebacker Micah Mahelona added a pick in the third quarter. A fumble recovery deep in Saint Francis territory set up the Warriors final score of the night at Kunuiakea Stadium.
True, the third-ranked Warriors trailed the Division II Saints 9-7 at halftime. But the Saints’ points came on defensive scores — an interception return and a safety — with several Kamehameha starters sidelined for the first half.
Kamehameha pulled away in the third quarter with quarterback Noah Sua-Godinet leading four scoring drives. The Warriors added two more touchdowns, both Makoa Freitas runs, in the fourth quarter.
Kamehameha was also without running back Kaulana Apelu, who suffered a knee injury in the Warriors’ season-opening 25-17 win over Del Oro in California last week.
In his absence three backs and Sua-Godinet combined to power the Kamehameha ground game.
Freitas led the Warriors with 82 yards and two touchdowns in 14 carries, all coming in the second half.
Jordan Bayudan, a junior, opened the scoring with a 32-yard run on his first carry of the game and added a 23-yard run later in the first quarter on his way to picking up 79 yards on 11 carries.
Kaysan Nakatsu shared playing time with Bayudan in the first half and finished with 54 yards and a touchdown in 10 attempts.
“Once we get past Apelu, the other guys all kind of have different skills they can help us with,” Kamehameha coach Doug Cosbie said. “It’s kind of running back by committee when Apelu’s not available. They all stepped up … they played hard and did some good things.”
Sua-Godinet ran for 72 yards on eight carries and scored twice, including a 36-yard touchdown run, while playing only the third quarter.
“He stretches the field and with the misdirection and him keeping the ball it can affect the defense because we’re thin as it is,” Saint Francis coach Mike Ulufale said.
Sua-Godinet was among a group of Kamehameha players who sat out the first half for what Cosbie characterized as “internal business.”