OIA Division I championship game, Aloha Stadium.
Kahuku’s crowd is pretty big, definitely spirited. Halloween night might have kept a lot of folks home.
MIL series 1: Vavae Malepeai‘s game-opening, 47-yard return is negated by a holding call. Ball at the 15 for MIL, which is wearing all white. Kahuku in all red. Malepeai runs on the right side for 3 yards. Third-and-7 screen pass to Malepeai is stopped for a 2-yard gain on the left sideline. MIL punts, fair catch for KAH.
KAH series 1: Ball at their own 41-yard line. Red Raiders open with two running plays and pick up 3 yards. They may have a run bias tonight to keep MIL’s offense on the sideline. Third-and-7 flare pass to Kesi Ah-Hoy in the slot is stopped for a 1-yard loss. KAH punts, but the swirling wind tonight causes Malepeai to muff on his fair catch. He recovers. MIL ball at its 20. TV time out, 8:25.
MIL series 2: First down, McKenzie Milton on the read-option keeper. Unusual for him to look to run this early in the game. Flag on the play. Dead ball, unnecessary roughness on #8 of Kahuku. Tack on another 15 yards to Milton’s 16-yard run. Bubble screen pass loses 4 yards. Quick pass (lateral) goes for just 2. Kahuku sniffing out all of the sideline stuff really quick. Milton scrambles to the left sideline, then to the right and is brought down for a loss, but a holding call pushes MIL back. It would’ve been fourth down, but KAH takes the penalty instead. Risky. Third-and-26, pass incomplete. MIL has trouble getting all 11 guys out for the punt team, forced to call time out, 6:33.
Sideline warning on MIL. Booming punt, downed at the KAH 6-yard line. Ray Guy would’ve been proud.
KAH series 2: Big Red with a handoff and then a toss to Reupena Fitisemanu for no gain. Pass for Keala Santiago incomplete down the right sideline. Fourth-and-11. KAH ready to punt, MIL coach Rod York calls time out. Interesting. He sees something?
KAH punt downed at the KAH 40, 4:41. Great opportunity for MIL.
MIL series 3: Malepeai weaves from inside to the right for 7 yards, then picks up a first down on the next play when a flag comes flying in from 30 yards away. KAH called for a cut block (#28), ball moves half the distance t the KAH 14. Bubble-screen pass to Kainoa Wilson for 11 yards to the 3. MIL in jumbo set with Rex Manu at fullback. Malepeai gains 1 yard. Confusion for the Trojans as the play clock ticks down. #20 leaves and is apparently injured as a trainer tends to him. MIL burns its final time out, 2:57.
Malepeai scores easily through a massive hole at right tackle. The PAT kick misses. Mililani had been pretty steady all season until the last few weeks on PATs. MIL 6, KAH 0, 2:48.
KAH series 3: First down, Tuli Wily-Matagi‘s pass over the middle is high and nearly picked off. Second down, Salanoa-Alo Wily lines up as the single back, bursts into the second level, lowers his shoulder on a tackler and drags people for a 29-yard gain. That got Kahuku’s crowd going. Next play, pass over the middle is dropped. KAH not shy about throwing on first down tonight. The gaps are there on the intermediate routes. Time out, KAH, 1:30.
Third-and-9, Wily-Matagi rolls right and finds Ah-Hoy for a first down near the sideline. Next play, Ah-Hoy follows two blockers off right tackle for a nice gain of about 20 yards, saving tackle by the safety. First down at the 20, and Ah-Hoy carries again off right tackle, churning for a 7-yard pickup when the play looked dead.
Red Raiders line up in a double-TE, two-back shotgun set. Wily follows two blockers off left tackle and goes 13 yards untouched to the end zone. Unique set, perfect fit for Kahuku’s personnel. Wily doesn’t run like the typical defensive tackle. KAH 7, MIL 6, 11:49.
MIL series 4: Bronson Ramos returns the kickoff 38 yards to the MIL 49. KAH playing fairly tight with everybody inside 8 yards of the line of scrimmage. Malepeai stopped for a 2-yard gain, then comes right back on a swing pass for an 18-yard pickup on the left side. Handoff to Malepeai again and he’s stopped in the backfield. Deep pass by Milton to Kalakaua Timoteo is late and picked off by safety Keala Santiago in the end zone. Touchback.
KAH series 4: MIL DT Rex Manu blows up a handoff to Ah-Hoy in the backfield. Wily-Matagi scrambles on the left side for a gain of about 20 yards, but lands awkwardly on the tackle. He’s up now, trying to talk to the the doctor, but they tell him to go to the sideline. He staggers for three steps and someone grabs him before he falls. Probable concussion. Ah-Hoy takes over at QB in a wildcat set. Everybody knows he’s going to run, but he still gains 6-yards with a nifty juke. Bad news for the Red Raiders, though, losing their QB and having to move their starting RB to QB.
Sophomore Samuta Avea now at QB. He’s one of the top basketball players in the state and wasn’t planning on playing football this season. Great athlete, but very young. He gets sacked by Kaimana Padello immediately. KAH run game goes nowhere. Punt. Malepeai returns it about 5 yards.
MIL series 5: Ball on the MIL 42. Milton trying to make something happen, but his keeper only goes for a couple of yards. Then he finds Makana Tauai for a big gain to the KAH 27. Malepeai runs twice for just 3 yards. Third-and-6, MIL has four receivers to the left, Milton rolls right, avoids a defender and hits Bryson Ventura in the end zone for a 24-yard TD. Replay shows the ball came out as a defender stripped it in the end zone, but again, like the earlier game (Nanakuli-Pearl City), receiver only needs to make contact with one foot after catching the ball. It’s not like the NFL where a receiver has to have complete control with two feet down, securing the ball. MIL extra-point kick is good. Fast drive. MIL is in rhythm. MIL 13, KAH 7, 5:42.
KAH series 5: Santiago with a nice runback, but another holding penalty assessed to KAH. Ball comes back to their own 10-yard line. Extremely tough spot for Savea, a 6-5, 190-pound athlete who would make a great receiver. On the basketball court, he is fluid and quick, long and fast. A true shooting guard even at 6-5. Lot of pressure on the KAH O-line now. KAH goes double-TE again, but with three RBs; loss of 2 for Ah-Hoy. Two more running plays, KAH loses 3 yards. Malepeai picks up the bouncing punt and returns it 9 yards to the KAH 30.
MIL series 6: A block in the back penalty on the punt return moves it back to the 40. First play, Milton rolls right, throws off balance and hits Joshua Butac on a go route for a 40-yard TD. MIL 20, KAH 7, 3:28.
Milton showing a willingness, as always, to go to receivers who may not have been used a lot during the regular season. Butac. Tauai.
KAH series 6: Red Raiders fall on a squib kick at the KAH 33. Avea runs for a short gain, then hesitates in the pocket and gets sacked by Kataferu Seumalo. Third-and-long, his short pass is deflected by DT Rex Manu, who bobbles the ball and drops it. Malepeai returns the punt 3 yards. Tried to go from the right side to the wall on the left.
MIL series 7: Fly sweep by Ventura loses 2 yards. Deep ball to Timoteo incomplete. Milton looks for the post, but gets sacked by Lerod Tongi. Fourth and long. KAH time out. Kahuku has a defense that can match up physically with MIL. High, bouncing punt is downed at the KAH 28 by Tielu Mamea. It probably would’ve bounced downfield another 10-15 yards, not sure why he grabbed it.
KAH series 7: Avea with his first completion, a short gain, and time runs out in the first half. He’s got open receivers, but the pass rush is really causing him to panic, and he’s more than happy to take off and run. That completion should help him settle in a bit.
KAH series 8: Santiago with a 76-yard kickoff return, but a personal foul on KAH moves the ball back from the 9 to the MIL 24. They go to Wily right away for a 9-yard run, nice cutback. Two yards by Wily for a first down. They’re in double-TE, I formation and he’s doing a nice job of following his blocks, nimble feet. He played fullback at Kamehameha two years ago, still has it. Carries for 3 more yards to the 9. That’s four carries in a row. Full-house backfield on third-and-5, but Padello blows in and brings Ah-Hoy down for a loss. 32-yard FG try from the right hash is wide left, just barely left. KAH can’t get a break, 8:39.
MIL series 8: Malepeai blasts off the left side for a gain of about 15, then gets stripped of the ball by Santiago, who returns it about 5 yards. Dead ball foul on MIL for conduct, ball moves to the MIL 15. Huge break for KAH, 8:27.
KAH series 9: Avea drops back, launches to the end zone for Ah-Hoy, incomplete. His first try at the EZ, felt the heat from Padello. He’s basically just 4 yards back in the gun, more like a pistol. Nice look on an inside splint (Alohi Gilman), but the pass is a little high and incomplete. Avea looking more comfortable now. Fourth down and long, his pass over the middle is late and the INT is dropped by Pekelo Lee. That’s two passes that could’ve been picked tonight by a secondary that already has 22 interceptions.
MIL series 9: Trojans take over at their own 15-yard line. No success here. Fourth-and-3 on their 22, they still have the offense out there before Milton calls time out. Not unusual for the Trojans to gamble like this time to time. They often convert with a quick pass. Milton’s field vision is exceptional.
After the time out, MIL opts to punt. Fair catch by KAH at its 40.
KAH series 10: Avea goes deep, but his high, floating spiral is dropped by Chance Maghanoy down the left sideline. It hung up there a long time, so it might have thrown the timing off. KAH punts after three incomplete passes. Bronson Ramos of MIL returns the ball about 10 yards to the MIL 43, 5:30.
MIL series 10: Trojans in no rush here. Penalties on Kahuku and Mililani slowing things down. Fourth-and-long, Milton’s quick kick dribbles through the red zone for a touchback, 3:19.
KAH series 11: Third-and-4, Padello blows by the LT and hits Avea as he throws, no chance for a completion as the ball falls short. On the punt, Malepeai muffs another one, but again, recovers the ball. MIL at its 33.
MIL series 11: Trojans still testing out the bubble screens and KAH still gang tackling there. Third-and-long, Red Raiders have Milton cornered, but he turns the corner and picks up the first down with another scramble. Deep pass by Milton for Roman Tovi is intercepted by Gilman. Gilman and Santiago proving their worth tonight in pass coverage. MIL receivers not getting separation, but to be fair, Tovi is not a starter.
KAH series 12: Avea holding the ball too long, looking deep on the right side. Sacked by Kahewai Ka’aiawa’awa. Time out, MIL, 8:43. Punt returned by Malepeai from the 37 to the 28, KAH territory, 8:30.
MIL series 12: Kahuku still playing tough, stuffing Malepeai on first down. Soli Afalava with two nice defensive plays in pass coverage deep. Milton flushed out of the pocket and stopped short on fourth down. Took a big hit trying to get that first down.
KAH series 13: Nice run by Reupena Fitisemanu for a first down. Wily with a run for 2 yards. KAH still working on the ground, trying to help out their young QB. Third-and-long, Wily scoots for a first-down on a nice run. Now it’s Afalava with his first carry in a long, long time. His ankle is doing better, apparently. Picked up 9 yards. Fourth down, Avea’s pass is nice, but dropped. MIL ball.
MIL series 13: KAH still bringing tough defense as Malepeai gets slammed in the backfield trying to run left. He’s taken his share of hits tonight. Can only wonder what kind of game this would be if Wily-Matagi had not gotten injured. Third-and-9, KAH sniffs out the screen pass and turns it into a 4-yard loss. Milton with another fourth-down quick kick. Santiago is ready this time, returns it about 22 yards to the KAH 22, 2:15.
KAH series 14: Gilman fumbles on a run play and Ka’aiawa’awa recovers at the KAH 45. That should do it with 2 minutes left.
MIL series 14: KAH calls time out with 1:59 left after a short run by MIL. This will be Mililani’s lowest offensive scoring output of the season, but arguably its best defensive performance. Again, the injury to Wily-Matagi was crucial, but depth is always important this late in the season, and Kahuku didn’t have any experience at the position beyond the senior. Good win for MIL, which will have a bye in the first round of the state tourney next week.
Kahuku faces the prospect of playing its first-round game possibly without Wily-Matagi, depending on the severity of his injury.