Smashmouth rivalry and a big crowd at Aloha Stadium for this OIA D-I semifinal matchup.
Kahuku loses its first possession on a fumbled lateral pass that was scooped up by the Governors #11 (not listed). Farrington got a 27-yard FG by Kekoa Sasaoka out of that turnover. FAR 3, KAH 0, 5:30.
A of penalties so far. Both teams look a little bit anxious and excited. Must be a big game.
Kahuku got rattled and had more illegal procedure calls in the red zone, but Tuli Wily-Matagi found Alohi Gilman on a nice play-action rollout. Gilman made the catch in the back of the end zone, an 11-yard play to give the Red Raiders the lead. Stadium is rocking now. KAH 7, FAR 3, 9:40.
Governors unveiling a five-wide look with some success, but a drop on a quick pass — Liana had to unload because of a blitzing LB — and a 17-yard holding penalty killed the series.
Kahuku drove deep into Farrington territory in the final minute. After having first down at the 3-yard line, the Red Raiders came up empty. A run got stuffed for no gain, then they called their final time out with 29 seconds left. Then came a scramble to the right by Wily-Matagi, who was tackled inbounds. He spiked the next snap to stop the clock with :02 left. His fourth-down pass to Kesi Ah-Hoy in the back of the end zone was batted away by Andrew Anaki, ending the half.
The drive was initially sparked by a 52-yard bomb by Wily-Matagi to Chance Maghanoy.
Kahuku has 177 total yards, including 77 rushing on 22 carries. Wily-Matagi is 4-for-7, 100 yards, one TD.
Farrington has 74 total yards, including 12 carries for 16 yards. Montana Liana is 7-for-10, 58 yards, no picks. All three incompletions were drops.
Watching these storied programs, it’s interesting to see them try and open things up, but the struggle is still there. Wily-Matagi has the benefit of a decent ground attack, and he looks most comfortable on the play-action rollouts, something the previous coaching staff taught as a basic tenet.
Farrington has made too many mistakes to sustain a drive. Seven penalties for 59 yards. The dropped passes. If they can string together a couple of error-free drives, Liana is throwing the ball well. But they’re trying to cram Mamiya through tiny creases between the tackles, and Kahuku is clogging everything up.
Kahuku’s rushing attack isn’t exactly explosive, either. Ah-Hoy hasn’t gotten much room (nine carries, 25 yards). All of his runs but one (for nine yards) have been for 5 yards or less.
Big Red stops Farrington on fourth and goal from the 2. Liana is tackled on a rollout at the 1, and three plays later, Wily-Matagi launches a bomb to Keala Santiago who races down the right sideline for a 95-yard touchdown. Amazing. KAH 14, FAR 3, 3:31.
So far, neither coach has been willing to take the short field goal. Kahuku passed up the chance at the end of the first half. Farrington passed it up here even though Sasaoka is one of the state’s best. But the big bomb is a game changer, though there’s still plenty of time.
Maybe it’s the wet weather — occasional showers — or the wide angles the field goals would’ve been at. But if the coaches feel that field goals aren’t enough and big plays are coming, well, they might be right. That was big. Santiago is a blur.
Farrington stalls at the 32-yard line and Sasaoka misses a 50-yard FG attempt. Had the distance, no rush by Kahuku. Touchback, Kahuku ball at its 20.
There’s been a whirlwind of yellow flags since the first quarter. I also don’t get the logic of passing up on those short FGs with the score so close (down 7-3, up 7-3), then attempting a 50-yard FG with the score 14-6 on fourth and 1.
Govs no-huddle down the field and score on an 11-yard run up the gut by Challen Faamatau. Liana’s pass to D.J. Chaffin on the PAT is complete over the middle. Big momentum swing by Farrington. KAH 14, FAR 11, 7:51.
Farrington defense steps up big, plus Kahuku committed a holding penalty and lost 14 yards. After the punt, Govs drive to the 3-yard line and get a 20-yard FG from Sasaoka from the left hash. Big time, clutch. FAR 14, KAH 14, 1:41.
What a close by Kahuku. First, a 53-yard kick return by Alohi Gilman. Then Wily-Matagi hits Gilman on a 29-yard wheel route on the left side to the Farrington 4-yard line. Then Ah-Hoy scores on a nice cutback with 10 seconds left to give Kahuku the lead. KAH 21, FAR 14, :10.
Liana’s hail mary falls incomplete near midfield on the final play of the game. Great battle between two great programs. A lot of sloppy play, but an exciting finish. Farrington will meet Campbell next week in the third-place game, winner goes on to the state tourney. That loser is pau.