LIVE BLOG: Kahuku 20, Hilo 10, Final

 Hilo's Sione Atuekaho throws a pass against Kahuku. Bruce Asato /Star-Advertiser
Hilo’s Sione Atuekaho throws a pass against Kahuku. Bruce Asato /Star-Advertiser

FIRST QUARTER
HILO series 1

The Vikings kicked off, but their onside kick caught the Red Raiders off guard. Hilo recovered, but went backwards after Malcolm Macatiag and Braxton Medeiros combined for a sack of Sione Atuekaho. Hilo punts, ball fair caught by KAH at its 15.

KAH series 1
The Red Raiders go three and out after three carries by 6-1, 270-pound Salanoa-Alo Wily. Punt is partially blocked. Hilo special teams playing big so far.

HILO series 2
Vikings take over as the partially-blocked punt goes out at the Kahuku 32. But again, the Viks offense goes backward against a tough Kahuku defense. On a fake punt, Hilo’s up man, Donovan Faoa-Kelly, is stopped short of a first down, but Kahuku is called for a facemask penalty. Hilo didn’t get an automatic first down, but went for it and RB Tristan Spikes is stopped a yard short of the first down.


KAH series 2
Red Raiders stifled again by a swarming Hilo defense, but in punt formation, up man Hirkley Latu runs for a first down. Both teams pulling out all their tricks. Kahuku now has third-and-20 at its 41, time out, 3:43.

Big test for sophomore QB Samuta Acea. Kelly is back at safety, the ball is thrown nowhere near a Kahuku player and Kelly makes the easy pick. He returns the ball about 25 yards to the Hilo 48, 3:29.

HILO series 3
Vikings remain in no-huddle (but not hurry-up) mode. Black helmets, white jerseys, black pants. Not your dad’s 1990s-era Vikings. Back then, QB Robert Medeiros and WR Casey Newman were bomb factory in those royal blue and dark yellow uniforms.

Atuekaho has trouble with a low snap in the shotgun, now it’s third-and-16. Total defensive duel so far. Hilo punts — trips left, very interesting — and the punt is sky high. It hits a Kahuku player and Hilo recovers at the Kahuku 20.

Next play, Atuekaho goes for it all with a high pass to the end zone, but Kahuku’s Alohi Gilman breaks it up. Third-and-10, Hilo has a wide-open receiver on a corner route, but Atuekaho overthrows him. That would’ve been 6. Fourth down, 37-yard field goal try by Kalei Tolentino-Perry falls short. Touchback, 1:17. Lots of action for a scoreless game.

KAH series 3
Another three-and-out. A third-down deep throw by Avea to Gilman was nearly picked off. Kahuku punts. Hilo’s PR had a sideline-to-sideline return without much positive yardage, but that was fun to watch. Hilo flagged for block in the back. HIlo has the ball at its 36 as the quarter ends. There will be one untimed down.

HILO series 4
Viks line up in trips right, shotgun, opening the lanes for Spikes, who runs for a first down. They’re showing some pre-snap motion and misdirection, and Spikes is alert enough to bounce outside for good gains. He took a good lick inside on a dive as Atuekaho faked the option left. Viks use a fly man in motion and give to Spikes, who nearly carves out a first down on third-and-5. The punt is high again and the Vikings hustle like crazy to down it. Melvin Kikau downs it at the Kahuku 2, 9:04.

KAH series 4
First down, toss sweep to Soli Afalava, barely avoids a safety and picks up 2 yards. Wily stopped up the middle, 1-yard loss. Then Avea throws a quick pass to Chance Maghanoy, who slices through defenders for a first down, then fumbles. It’s Kelly again, and he returns it across the field from the right sideline to the left for a 19-yard return. He looked like he was going to score once he turned the corner on the left side.

HILO series 5
Viks start at the KAH 9, and facemask is called on the first play. First down at the KAH 4. Atuekaho’s pass to #80 is dropped in the end zone. Second down, Atuekaho wants to run a QB draw, three Red Raiders there. He runs out of the pocket to the right and throws a dart to Isaac Lerma, who makes a diving catch in the middle of the end zone. That’s a 4-yard TD and Hilo draws first blood. PAT: offsides on Kahuku. Second try is good. HILO 7, KAH 0, 6:44.

KAH series 5
Hilo’s kickoff sails over the end zone, touchback. Likio Vea catches a pass from Avea for a first down. Avea is very young and raw, but his confidence level looks pretty good now compared to his first series last week against Mililani. Kahuku calls time out with 4:58 left in the first half. Hilo’s giving enough cushion out wide for Avea to make that throw every time. He’s not as strong or fast a runner as QB Tuli Wily-Matagi (concussion) and his grasp of the offense is nowhere near, but he’s making enough plays to give Kahuku hope. Hilo has been rearing back and closing every gap for the Kahuku running game, but Avea is starting to make a difference.

KAH switched QBs for at least one play, caught me off guard. It was #13 in there, running the option and fumbling. KAH recovered. Avea’s third-down pass sails high, almost intercepted. KAH punts, balls is downed at the Hilo 46, 3:58.

HIL series 6
The Vikings with a nice drive in the final few minutes of the half. A pass interference call has Hilo at the Kahuku 14-yard line. Two incomplete passes, fourth-and-9. Field-goal unit on the field again. This time, Rayce Takayesu drills the attempt, a 30-yard FG. Roughing-the-kicker penalty is called, but Hilo takes the points and the yardage will be walked off on the kickoff. HILO 10, KAH 0, :42.

KAH series 6
The Red Raiders start at their 20 after the kickoff touchback. They fumble (Avea) on first down, and the run on second down is stuffed. Time runs out and Hilo’s fans are going nuts.

Halftime
By halftime, Hilo had just 37 yards of total offense on 30 snaps and Kahuku had 43 plays on 24 snaps. Hilo, however, had the edge in turnovers with none while Kahuku already had three.

THIRD QUARTER
Hilo series 7

Vikings had a third-and-8, but Kahuku was called for pass interference a ball that neither the WR or CB were close to. High school rule, ball doesn’t have to be catchable. But if the CB had just left it all alone, it would be fourth down. Hilo playing smarter and better, no question. First down, Vikings.

Drive goes nowhere, particularly after Atuekaho is flushed from the pocket by five Red Raiders and called for intentional grounding. Punt, ball downed at the KAH 42, 9:43.

KAH series 7
The Bonecrusher tells me that Uluave has moved from LT to C, one of Kahuku’s halftime adjustments. Actually, he played the last two plays of the first half at C. Kahuku gives the ball to Afalava for back-to-back runs off left tackle. Third-and-2. Give to Wily on the left (again) and he picks up the first down. Looks like KAH has found a recipe.

Now it’s Reupena Fitisemanu, a big guy with speed, on the right side for 6 yards. Kahuku not in no-huddle mode, but they’re getting out of the huddle real quick. Far more business-like in this half. Time out, injury. A Hilo D-lineman is down, looks like a leg cramp. Can’t make out the number yet. Looks like #50, LB Kiliona Pomroy (5-11, 250).


Second-and-4, Hilo jumps offside. Wily drags tacklers with him to the Hilo 21. All power game right now.

Fitisemanu hit in the backfield, ball squirts loose and HILO recovers. Was it a dead ball? Refs conferring. Hilo ball. Replay on the stadium screen shows he hit the ground after the hit. Second time the refs have missed a fumble call. Too bad they can’t use replay. Either way, huge defensive stop for Hilo. Viks have the ball at their 4-yard line, 4:45.

HILO series 8
The Vikings don’t get a first down, but they punt and get out of trouble, 2:36. Ball downed at the Kahuku 49.

KAH series 9
Red Raiders benefit from a big penalty by Hilo and move into Viking territory at the 36-yard line. Two plays later, a late hit by Hilo, another penalty. On the ensuing play, Avea’s pass on a post route was incomplete, but Hilo was whistled for pass interference. Then it’s KAH’s turn with two penalties, including a hold. That pushes KAH back to the Hilo 27. First-and-21. Injury time out: a KAH lineman, #96 is down with a leg cramp, 1:20.

KAH tries some trickeration. Gilman takes the pitch, runs right and throws downfield to Keala Santiago. Pass is late, tipped away. Next play, deep pass intended for Maghanoy. The ball drifts and would be picked off, but Hilo commits pass interference — but officials pick up the flag and say no penalty. Fourth down and long. Avea’s short pass soars high, but Santiago is savvy and draws contact as he jumps for the ball. Pass interference this time, but it’s fourth-and-8.

KAH lines up for a 32-yard FG try, but HILO jumps offside. Fourth-and-3, now it’s a 26-yard attempt. Kick is good by Gabriel Pinheiro-Alves, high and deep. HILO 10, KAH 3, :55.

HILO series 9
Atuekaho hits #82 Jordan Caoagdan for a first-down completion as the third quarter comes to a close.

FOURTH QUARTER
Drive stalls at the 50, fourth-and-5. Time out, KAH, 10:25. HILO punt is shanked and downed at the KAH 35. 15-yard punt.

KAH series 10
Red Raiders stubbing their toes here. A fumble on a snap. A false start. Third-and-15 fro their 42. MIddle screen pass to Gilman is off target. Fourth down. KAH punts, ball downed at the HILO 23.

HILO series 10
Unbelievable. Second-and-13, the Viks throw the ball and Atuekaho overthrows his target. Easy pick for Gilman, who has a short return to the HILO 25. I thought they would run three times and punt. Huge test for the Vikings’ defense now.

KAH series 11
First play, handoff to Wily, who is stopped at the line of scrimmage, but spins and rumbles down the left side to paydirt. Hilo defense has played GREAT, but they looked fatigued on that one. Replay shows Wily avoided a tackler in the backfield, another at the line of scrimmage, then ran through two tacklers en route to the end zone for a 25-yard TD run. Kick is good. New game. KAH 10, HILO 10, 7:43.

HILO series 11
Viks return the kickoff to their 22, but now they get a little more conservative with three runs, no first down and a punt. Ball is downed at the Kahuku 35-yard line, 5:21.

KAH series 12
First play, Wily bottled up inside. Viks are daring Kahuku to throw the ball or run wide. Kahuku lines up in a Power I and Wily runs for 7 yards. They had success to an extent with three-back sets last week. Third-and-1, Fitisemanu bursts over tacklers for a big gain, TD-saving tackle by Hilo’s safety. Ball at the HILO 42. Now it’s Wily up the gut for 32 yards to the Hilo 10. Wily and Fitisemanu are sucking it up here in the fourth Q. Both are full-time defensive players, but they’re not showing any fatigue here.

Kahuku’s fans are back into this game, too. Time out, HILO, 3:24. Bonecrusher telling me the game turned when KAH moved Uluave from LT to C and I agree. They ran left three times in a row, then it’s been smashmouth up the gut since.

Wily pulling an entire defense forward to the 2-yard line. Wily barrels off the left side for a 2-yard TD. Kick is good, KAH 17, HILO 10, 2:34.

It’s thrilling for Kahuku and heartbreaking for Hilo. Their defense has played a gutty, gritty game all night. Losing Pomroy (leg cramps) hurt a lot, but Kahuku’s commitment to smashmouth football paid off in this second half. Can the Vikings make a comeback?

HILO series 12
Hilo called for a low block on the kick return (touchback). Back to the Viks’ 10-yard line. First down, Atuekaho unloads to the left sideline and Kahuku cornerback Jeremiah Hawaka jumps it for an interception. Kahuku ball at the Hilo 12-yard line, 2:29.

KAH series 13
Hilo has two time outs left. Kahuku burns its final time out. Field goal by Gabriel Pinheiro-Alves is good from 30 yards out to seal the win. KAH 20, HILO 10, :50.


HILO series 13
Viks get near midfield, but Atuekaho is sacked and Gilman recovers and nearly runs the ball to the end zone as time expires. What a game.

Epilogue: Fantastic defensive battle. Game turned on some key adjustments and injuries: 1) Kahuku’s decision to move Uluave from LT to C, 2) going to the three-back (Power I) sets to put Fitisemanu (6-0, 255), Pesa Lefau (5-9, 205) and Wily together, 3) double leg cramps to DE/LB Pomroy, 4) losing Spikes to injury.

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