Here we go, just a few minutes away from kickoff for a matchup between BIIF champion Konawaena and OIA champion Radford. The Rams are the No. 2 seed in the D-II tourney. Hot here at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium, but a brief downpour cooled us all off.
Conditions: Partly Cloudy
First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships
Division II semifinal round
Konawaena wins the coin toss and has elected to receive. Mahalo to the HHSAA for providing statistics. Give me a chance to do more blogging. Woohoo.
Wow. Craziness. Konawaena WR Kupono Kane fumbles on its first play from scrimmage after a completion and Radford recovers at the Wildcats 43. Forced fumble by Ace Faumui, recovered by linebacker Jordan Walker.
Next play, Radford’s Thomas Reid picks up nice yardage on a jet sweep cutback, then fumbles and Konawawena returns the ball 66 yards to the end zone. Forced fumble by Jordan Kikugawa and run back by Jeremiah Casuga‐Llanes. KONA 7, RAD 0, 11:21.
Ace Faumui fair catches the ensuing kickoff at the 22. Strange.
Then Radford’s next play is a pass or is it a lateral? Konawaena recovers, but the officials meet and determine it was (probably?) a pass. Big break for Radford. Now they’re conferring again. That would’ve been Konawaena ball at the 20.
Rams get down to business with a nine-play, 78-yard drive, which began with that much-discussed incompletion/lateral. Key third-and-5 completion, and a lot of Faumui out of the pistol. He had four carries for 19 yards including a 1-yard burst for the touchdown. RAD 7, KONA 7, 8:25.
Wildcat defense really struggled at the tail end of that drive. The Faumui effect.
Konawaena impressive with a hurry-up offense, going 72 yards in seven plays, aided by a Radford personal foul. QB Austin Ewing was sharp, completing all four pass attempts, including a 6-yard strike to Kayson Mahiai. PAT kick misses. KONA 13, RAD 7, 7:04.
A lot of action so far.
Here’s more fireworks. Radford marches 62 yards in seven snaps, scoring on a 8-yard TD pass from QB Quintin Iriarte to Blaise Manabe. PAT is good. RAD 14, KONA 13, 4:44.
Then Konawaena gets a 73-yard TD bomb from Ewing to Andrew Udac. Perfect throw, Udac right in stride on the deep post. That’s a two-yard drive by the ‘Cats. PAT pass (fake) is incomplete. KONA 19, RAD 14, 4:22.
Holy crud, we’re still in the first quarter. Konawaena’s going so fast, I missed the throwing part of that TD pass on video as I was blogging. Booo….
Here come the Rams. They’re marching without handing the ball to Faumui over and over, too. It’s Iriarte’s aerial show. He hits Thomas Reid (again) for a 34-yard gain. Then he finds Faumui behind the defense on the right sideline for an 8-yard TD pass. RAD 21, KONA 19, 2:35.
Konawaena punts after a third-down incompletion deep on the post. Fans wanted a P.I., no flag. Punt and nice coverage for no gain by Radford’s return man. The Rams are using Faumui a lot on defense and a lot less on offense. Kodi Ongory‐Mathias is getting most of the snaps at RB. Good way to save Faumui’s legs. Ongory-Mathias has 23 yards on four carries already. Reid has been beastly with four grabs for 109 yards.
The quarter ends with Radford crossing midfield on a carry by Faumui for a first down. There’s been more action in this quarter than some entire games I’ve seen. And fewer dead-ball conferences.
Rain falling again as the quarter begins. Faumui becoming the workhorse again. But he fumbles and Konawaena recovers at the 41, then officials rule that he was down first. Big break for the Rams. Next play, Rams pick up a first down on fourth-and-1, but flags go flying. Konawaena called for a chop block and a personal foul. Ball goes to the 8-yard line. Wow.
Radford drives to the 3-yard line, third-and-goal. Time out, Rams, 8:45.
Iriarte stopped for a 5-yard loss on a bootleg.
Fourth down pass to the right corner of the end zone for Manabe is long and incomplete. Konawaena with a huge stop.
Penalties killing Konawaena again. This time it’s a 15-yard facemask that helps Radford drive to paydirt. Seven-play, 70-yard drive. Nicely executed fake screen pass on third-and-22, and Iriarte fires a dart to Reid, who bobbles the ball and hauls it in at the goal line for another TD. RAD 28, KONA 19, 5:52.
Konawaena marching to midfield with momentum when the shotgun snap is low, bounces off Ewing’s leg and Walker returns the fumble 47 yards for a TD. What a weird play, great speed by Walker. PAT: Radford goes for 2. Faumui takes the toss on a sweep, then passes to Manabe in the corner of the end zone. RAD 36, KONA 19, 3:54.
Konawaena gets a nice 43-yard return on the kickoff to midfield by Cameron Howes. A sack on third down derails the threat, and after a time out, Kona punts. Nice punt, downed at the Radford 2. Konawaena not playing badly, but this might turn out to be one of those games that a team loses because of three or four plays. Can’t do that against a talented Radford team and that stellar defense.
Radford gets breathing room with a 16-yard completion from Iriarte to Manabe, but two plays later, a potentially pivotal play. Iriarte is sacked by a blitzing linebacker right up the middle. He is overpowered and goes down at the 2, and is also whistled for intentional grounding, but the worst part is i.e. is injured. Takes about a minute or so before he finally gets up. Seems like it’s not a leg injury, maybe just shaken up.
Manabe moves to QB and runs for nine yards to the 10. Fourth down.
Punt return of 14 yards by Howes to the Radford 38 with 2:55 left in the half.
Pretty drive by the Wildcats, who get a clutch third-down completion from Ewing to Kane, and then Ewing hits Mahiai on an out pattern and he goes down the sideline for an 11-yard touchdown on fourth-and-3. RAD 36, KONA 26, 1:34.
Manabe still in the game at QB, and though he’s blazing fast, Konawaena is bottling him up in these last few plays of the half. No word yet on Iriarte’s condition.
Ewing is 12-for-21, 183 yards, three TD passes. Algene Kelekolio has been limited to 28 yards on six carries. Kamakana Ching has a team-high 87 receiving yards on three receptions, and Mahiai has two TD catches (17 total yards).
Iriarte is 13-for-20, 235 yards, three TD passes. Faumui has nine carries for 36 yards and Ongory-Mathias four handoffs for 23 yards. Reid has five hauls for 135 receiving yards and a TD. Manabe has five catches for 67 yards.
Total offense: Konawaena 203 yards; Radford 306.
Radford will receiving the second-half kickoff. Iriarte is back in the game at QB. Ongory-Mathias is the RB.
Third-and-8, swing pass to Faumui goes for a loss. He steps on the field and all the Wildcats’ radars start pinging. Injury time out for a Konawaena player. Can’t see who it is yet.
Injured player is No. 14, Kikugawa. Looks like a left ankle injury. Key defensive player.
Punt return of 14 yards sets up the Wildcats at the Radford 42. Another golden opportunity.
Huge play for Radford, an interception in the end zone by Brandon Brady for a touchback. He and the receiver had a big push-off on each other as the ball went airborne. Official right there, no call, must have felt they both were even on that.
Third-and-10 and another huge conversion by the Rams, a 32-yard bomb to Manabe on the left sideline over the secondary. Another big play, a remarkable play by Iriarte to elude a sack and pass to Faumui for a big gain, is called back by an illegal block. Then Iriarte hits Faumui on a third-and-18 swing pass and they just can’t stop the 215-pound senior. Faumui picks up 33 yards to the Konawaena 27. He is a force of nature against a tough Wildcat defense that is struggling to bring him down.
Next snap, Ongory-Mathias blasts up the middle and cuts back on the safety for a 27-yard TD run. PAT kick misses. RAD 42, KONA 26, 6:03.
Mahiai with a 44-yard kick return. Radford with a nice stop against the run, but Kelekolio leaks out and takes the pass from Ewing, races 15 yards to the pylon untouched. Seems like that’s a Bermuda Triangle part of the field for Radford’s normally stalwart defense. RAD 42, KONA 33, 4:04.
Another wild situation. Iriarte’s pass over the middle is too high and picked off by Jeremiah Casuga‐Llanes, but he fumbles during the return after taking a hit from offensive lineman Hezekiah Po Ching (6-2, 250). Ball recovered by wide receiver Derek Morton.
Konawaena’s defense looks totally deflated by the crazy sequence. Radford gets the ball back at Kona’s 37, Faumui runs for 11 yards right, then Jake Walter picks up 15 yards on a jet sweep left. Then Iriarte keeps on the misdirection fake and scores on an 11-yard run to the left. PAT for 2 points: illegal sub, then illegal procedure. The second one would’ve been a completion from Faumui to Walker, normally a LB. Coach Fred Salanoa and his bag of awesome tricks. PAT kick misses. RAD 48, KONA 33, 1:49.
Fourth-and-7, Ewing is sacked at the Kona 32 by Dillon Sunday. Radford with the ball and in command.
Quarter ends with Faumui dragging a scrum of defenders across the Konawaena 20-yard line. Whistle blows dead as he squirms out of it with empty field ahead.
Another crazy sequence. Iriarte’s deep pass to Reid, who is wide open inside the 5 near the pylon, turns into an interception when Reid bobbles the pass. It’s a little low, he loses control and defensive back Jeriah Cacal, a sophomore, returns the ball 57 yards to the Radford 40. Instead of opening a three-TD lead, Radford loses momentum. A roughing-the-passer penalty moves the bal to the 15, and then Ewing’s pass is deflected by safety Jonah Soakai and into the hands of tight end Tristan Fleming‐Nazara for a 15-yard TD pass. CRAZY. RAD 48, KONA 40, 10:50.
Penalty on the PAT against Radford is assessed on the kickoff, and the kickoff goes beyond the goal line for a touchback. Radford goes with Ongory-Mathias for the first three plays and they pick up a first down. Faumui enters, stretch play left is penetrated, he fumbles and recovers. Loss of 3. Third-and-13.
Radford punt is 50 yards and goes out at the Konawaena 18. Nice work. Ewing tries a long shot to Ching, overthrown. Run by Kelekolio goes for 4 yards, then a screen pass to Ching, but the blocker, Fleming-Nazara, lets his man fly in and stop Ching. That was sad. Could’ve been an easy first down with just a teeny bit of a block. Kona punts.
Radford fair catch, ball at its 49 with 7:05 left.
More craziness. After a 5-yard penalty on Radford, the snap whizzes through the hands of Manabe, who is at QB. The ball is uncontrollable and squirts through the hands of several Rams and Wildcats before Konawaena’s Trey Basque recovers at the 4-yard line. Kelekolio’s second effort gets him a touchdown on the next play, squirting through the big boys on the right side.
Konawaena going for 2, chance to tie. PAT pass – Radford is called for a defensive hold, then the next play, pass dropped by Kane. (WR coach Peter Ewing later told me that they believed pass interference should have been called.). Penalty on Konawaena (shift) is declined. RAD 48, KONA 46, 6:40.
WHAT A GAME.
Injury time out after the kickoff (touchback), Konawaena player is down, No. 41 Dominic Dela Cruz. Leg injury and he’s carried off the field by two teammates.
Ongory-Mathias at RB, picks up a first down on two carries. Third give to him is a tackle for loss by Michael Banagan‐Brock and Austin Santos‐Johnson. But he charges through on the next play for a 14-yard gain. Then an 8-yard run. Right now, it’s In 9 Radford Trusts. Now Faumui is in.
Decoy play. Iriarte keeps for 6 yards and a first down at the Kona 42, Clock under 4 minutes. Ongory-Mathias back in the game, 3-yard gain to the Kona 35. Third-and-3, time out by the Wildcats with 2:50 remaining.
Stretch play right, Ongory-Mathias picks up 10 yards but runs out of bounds to stop the clock. He bursts up the middle for 15 yards to the 10. Radford O-line dominating now. Injury time out, Konawaena player down with 2:35 left. Kona player is No. 23, Micah Laban.
Next play, Radford called for holding. Ball moves back to the 18 with 2:11 left. Rain has stopped.
Konawaena calls time out with :59 left, their final time out. Radford ball, third-and-goal at the 9-yard line.
Faumui gains five yards to the 4-yard line. Clock winds down to :16 and Radford calls time out. Fourth-and-goal with a 48-46 lead.
Iriarte’s pass to Manabe in the end zone is ruled a drop. Kona gets the ball back with 12 seconds left.
Ewing runs for 12 yards, clock stops. Then he throws over the middle for a completion, but the tackle is made, time runs out.