Leilehua’s McGary runs wild against Kailua

Leilehua's James McGary broke free from Kailua's Gaege Kupahu on Saturday night. Jay Metzger / Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Right after James McGary ripped off two straight 25-yard runs in the third quarter Saturday night, it was time to look up Leilehua’s single-game record for rushing.

At that point of the Mules’ eventual 38-14 victory over Kailua, McGary was already at 232 yards on the ground.

The record: Adrian Murrell‘s 332 set in 1987.

Could he get there? Or would he finish the night as Leilehua’s single-game leading rusher not named Murrell?

Murrell — who went on to a successful NFL career — passed the 300-yard mark twice and he had four games in which he rushed for over 200 yards.

McGary needed 233 to be the highest Mule aside from Murrell, and he got there easily, finishing with 329 yards on 26 carries. He just missing Murrell’s record by 3 yards and was not on the field for Leilehua’s last possession with under a minute left in the game.

Afterward, McGary talked about what motivated him toward the brilliant performance that more than doubled his season rushing total (227 in six previous games) and included touchdown runs of 56 and 40 yards.

“I got tired of being stepped on,” he said. “I just want to run the ball. I ran harder. My coach (Mark Kurisu) was riding hard on me. I said, ‘Coach, I got you. Give me something I love.’ And he gave me something I love, a play I know I’m going to score on. He gave me the plays and that’s what I did. He pumped my head up, saying, ‘James, you cannot get tackled, you cannot get tackled.’ I said, ‘Yes coach, I understand.’ The next play, score. Broke three tackles and scored.

“I did it for my mom (Cherise), too. She’s deployed in the Middle East. And I love my O-line. I love them. After the touchdowns and the long runs, I shook their hands and told them to keep up the good work.”

Leilehua (5-2, 4-2 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red) has won four straight games and can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win at home over Farrington next week. The Mules and Govs (4-3, 4-2) are tied for second place behind Mililani (7-0, 6-0) in the Red.

So what can we expect during the nitty-gritty part of the season from McGary and the Mules, who watched Leilehua’s 2007 Division I state championship team introduced to the fans at Hugh Yoshida Stadium before the game.

“I’ll do it again and again and again until the season is over,” he said. “In the playoffs, I’m going to do the same thing. We’re going to states.”


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