The championship game of the JPS Paradise Bowl is underway at Aloha Stadium. NorCal All-Stars against Hawaii East All-Stars.
The game ends with 2:59 left due to fighting in the bleachers after Hawaii East scores a touchdown. The tension had been brewing all game long, and with fans of both teams forced to sit on the same sideline bleachers, and multiple late hits, conduct calls and generally rotten plays occurring all game long — by a small number of players, really — this was not unexpected. Several of us in the press box saw this coming. Game ends, Hawaii East beats a very good NorCal team 26-14. In some ways, a great night of football. But this will probably go down as another embarrassment to all-star games near and far that end because of fan behavior and undisciplined individual players who really shouldn’t have been allowed to continue playing after their first personal foul/conduct flag. This game is supposed to be a PRIVILEGE and 95 percent of the kids and fans here understood this. So sad.
Mauga recovers the on-side kick at the Hawaii East 47. Yuen back in at QB. First down, Towne rips a 10-yard gain to the right on the misdirection play. NorCal injury with 3:26 left. It’s the big man wearing #99 for NorCal, Sagaiga. He’s up but can’t put any weight on his right leg. Yuen keeps up the middle for one yard, time out NorCal, 3:09. Rolls right and gets blasted as he fires a strike to Lagazo, who scores on a 44-yard TD play. Flag on the play on NorCal, player is ejected. He goes to the sideline and riles up NorCal fans. NOW IT IS OUT OF CONTROL. FANS ARE FIGHTING. The lower part of the bleachers, fans from both sides are slinging fists and coaches from the Hawaii East side are sprinting across the field to get in the bleachers and stop the brawl. There is only one police officer. It takes a good 4-5 minutes for the fracas to stop. Fortunately there are far more fans trying to stop the madness.
NorCal confused on the kick return, both guys looking at each other, ball bounces into the end zone, touchback. Still enough time, of course, for a comeback. Brookshire has been at his best when he is a threat to run between and outside the hashmarks. He hasn’t seen many open lanes of late, but as long as he and Rivers are on the field, Hawaii East can’t get complacent. Give to Rivers and he slices up the middle for 20, dragging tacklers. He’s listed at 170 pounds, but runs like 210. Isaac Freytes with a GREAT catch, hangs on after taking a clean blast for a 17-yard gain. Then Brookshire finds Aukai for 32 yards to the 8. Time out, Hawaii East. Their defense looks tired, 3:51. It’s only 9-minute quarters, but rosters are not large. Brookshire in trouble, Hawaii East has him dead to rights, and he pulls a disappearing magic trick, avoids the sack and runs to the left pylon, touchdown. Looks like Michael Vick sometimes. HAWAII EAST 20, NORCAL 14, 3:44. That was too easy. Hawaii fans sound nervous. Quiet and nervous.
New life for Hawaii East. Tagovailoa’s pass batted at the line of scrimmage and it’s a pop fly, almost picked off. Next pass, he steps to the left to avoid a sack, rifles a bullet to McGoldrick, diving catch for 19 yards. WOW. Give to RB/LB Jalen Olomua, four yards to the 22. Tagovailoa finds Valladares on a out pattern, he squeezes through traffic, spins as two defenders run into each other and backpeddles out of the pack for a 26-yard TD play. Tagovailoa hits McGoldrick, wide open near the left corner, on the 2-point conversion. HAWAII EAST 20, NORCAL 7, 5:11.
Punt return by Hawaii East is good for more than 25 yards, but Hawaii East is called for an illegal blitz. A lot of shoving off the sideline between the return man and one of the NorCal players. Discipline? The penalty makes it a re-kick. The next punt results in an illegal hands to the face on Hawaii East and a conduct on Hawaii East. Ball moves back to the Hawaii East 5. Tagovailoa feeling good, hits Lagazo for 2 and 15 yards, then Valladares for 3. First down at the HE 25. Two incomplete passes, PUNT. NorCal muffs the return as the ball takes a nosedive. Hawaii East recovers the loose ball at the NC 44, 6:36.
NorCal has Brookshire back in the game, but he’s sacked on third down by Kana‘i Mauga. PUNT.
Tagovailoa back in at QB. NorCal was whistled for conduct at the end of the punt. Tagovailoa with adequate time in the pocket, drops a nice pass to Kame Kim Choy-Keb-Ah Lo in stride for a 65-yard TD pass. WOW. He had two strides on the nearest defender when Tagovailoa led him beautifully. That puts Hawaii East in the lead. Time out to discuss a 2-point play. Pass to Mark Lagazo near the left side is incomplete. Ball was there, good defensive play stripping the ball away. HAWAII EAST 12, NORCAL 7, :33.
Three and out for NorCal as Tran gets another chance at QB. Hawaii East swarming to Rivers now, but he could come back with a halfback option pass next time. Got to pick their poison. PUNT.
Hawaii East ball at its 16. Yuen in at QB again. Quick out pass to McGoldrick for 5 yards, then over the middle, 13 yards. Then to Valladares out of the slot for 15, 2 yards. Yuen in a rhythm and NorCal is bringing heat, but the O-Line is protecting this half. Now a 15-yard strike to McGoldrick, who has single coverage. Next pass is a deep post try to Chayce Akaka, overthrown. Procedure call, then Yuen’s mobility comes into play. He escapes carnage in the pocket, races right and fires over the middle to Isaiah Freeney for 13 yards to the 26. WOW. Yuen processing his options, looks left, scrambles right, hits McGoldrick over the middle, 9 yards to the 6. Best drive of the night by far for Hawaii East. Second and goal from the 8, he escapes again, races right, looks like he’s heading out of bounds and then rifles a strike to Freeney at the goal line, touchdown. Yuen is wearing out NorCal’s D-line. Yuen’s PAT kick misses. NORCAL 7, HAWAII EAST 6, 2:22
NorCal ball at its 31. Third and long, QB Phillip Tran overthrows a deep target. That would’ve been 6. PUNT.
The penalty that ended the first half is enforced here. NorCal kicks off from the Hawaii East 45 and it’s a touchback. Hawaii East moves the ball to its 36, but stalls. PUNT
NorCal squib kicks the kickoff and it’s a short return. After the whistle, more silliness as players go after each other. A Hawaii East lineman was blatantly going after NorCal players for no reason. He’s been tossed from the game. Sad and ridiculous. The half ends with a weird vibe, for sure.
Jordan Brookshire at QB for NorCal, keeps up the middle for no gain, but Hawaii East whistled for taunting. Brookshire looks nervous and misfires, incomplete. Next play, Rivers (he has not touched it enough, really) rips up the middle for 9 yards, and some players on the field are getting silly. Flag on Hawaii East, conduct call. That’s two in just three plays, 30 penalty yards against Hawaii East. Big third and long, Brookshire looks, runs to the left sideline and picks up the first down. Key play. Procedure call on NorCal, but Brookshire keeps his poise, scrambles up the middle, then dumps the ball to Montaz Thompson on the right sideline and he runs for a 15-yard gain. Next play, Brookshire lobs a screen pass to Rivers, who is cornered, but slashes through and picks up 10 yards. That was (forgive my slight exaggeration) Payton-esque. First down at the 19, nobody open and Brookshire takes the sack, hit by Kahai Auld and Luke-Charles Tagaloa-Kava. Time out, NorCal, :19 left in the half. They have one time out left. Nice call, a draw to Rivers, who explodes off the handoff, then again off a cut. Haven’t seen this kind of cutting and explosiveness in a long time at the prep level. Takes the ball to the 11 with :11 left, time out NorCal, that’s their last. Brookshire in the pocket, lots of protection, hits Kalei Aukai (6-4, 215) near the right sideline in the end zone, touchdown from 11 yards out with 5 seconds left in the half. Replay check by the game officials confirms it. Ruling on the field stands. NORCAL 7, HAWAII EAST 0, :05.
Hawaii East lets the short punt bounce, downed at the 50, 4:50 to go in the half. No scoring yet, but some terrific defensive effort. Feels entirely different from the third-place game. Time out. Alaka‘i Yuen at QB, runs for 3 yards, and then RB De’Aundrae Cruz loses 6 yards. Yuen rolls right, pass incomplete. D-Line of NorCal is a force. PUNT.
NorCal takes over at its 21. Trejon Hawkins at QB, hits a short pass, but on third and medium, sacked by Feletoa Ailua. Initial rush was by Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, who leaped high and forced Hawkins to turn inside. Katoosh. PUNT.
Third and 1 at the 25, RB Javen Towne stopped short, and then on fourth and 1, procedure called on Hawaii East. Fourth and 6, Tagovailoa finds McGoldrick on a rub route, 10-yard gain to the 20. Clutch play. Second and 11, Tagovailoa has Andrew Valladares open at the pylon, but the pass is broken up. Nice recovery, that was looking like a touchdown. Time out, Hawaii East, 7:13. Screen pass to high, that’s the big guy, Sagaiga with the big pass rush. Next play, McGoldrick is open between the hashes, but Tagovailoa misses him just barely. Turnover on downs.
Tagovailoa with a smooth corner pass to Jeremy McGoldrick for 21 yards. Imagine if these two guys had a year together on a prep or college team. But the NorCal boys come up with two sacks, one by Jamaar Hardy and a big one on third down by DE Leo Rodriguez. Hawaii East punts, the ball is touched by NorCal, Hawaii East recovers at the 34-yard line of NorCal. The first quarter ends with the ball at the 25, third and 1.
NorCal starting to churn yardage. RB Ronnie Rivers picks up 14 yards on a slashing catch-and-run, then 6 yards on a dive through a crease. Fourth down at the 20, Campos FG try is long enough, but is rejected by the right upright, no good, 3:24.
Hawaii East went three and out with Taulia Tagovailoa at QB. The sophomore from Kapolei was sacked on third and long by big (6-4, 285) Nick Sagaiga (Balboa). PUNT
NorCal drove to its 45 before stalling, PUNT.