We are 50 minutes from kickoff at Aloha Stadium.
The Maui Sabers are warming up, all 33 of them. A lot of folks up here in the pressbox don’t seem to think the Sabers have a real shot to upset Farrington. Me? Anything can happen on any given Friday.
Be sure to check out Billy “Bonecrusher” Hull’s TRENCH WARFARE live blog during both D-I state-tourney games tonight.
Ooh. It’s sprinkling now. It was muggy all afternoon. Rain is sometimes a factor, but with two smashmouth teams in this one, I don’t expect it to be.
MAUI series 1
Three and out by the Sabers, who tried a toss sweep on first down, but got minus yardage. Third down pass to the TE was complete but short of the first down. MAUI punts.
FAR series 1
FAR gets the ball with 9:59 left in the first. Governors almost messed up on the punt return. #34 tried to play it off a bounce and muffed it. Lucky for FAR, they got the ball. Ranan Mamiya ran for 8 yards on first down, but an illegal procedure call on second down stifled the drive. Sasaoka’s punt goes out at the FAR 45-yard line.
MAUI series 2
Sabers pick up their first first down of the game on a nice run up the gut by Onosai Emelio, but a sack by Breiden Fehoko on play-action sets the Sabers way back. Fourth and 12 from the FAR 35, MAUI sends out the punt unit. Coffin-corner punt goes out at the 10-yard line.
FAR series 2
Govs making their move. Mamiya with a big run on the right side for a first down. Montana Liana finds Challen Faamatu for a first-down completion. But an illegal block call on the next play is whistled on FAR. Then a holding call on the next play. Self-destructing what would’ve been a very efficient drive. Screen pass to TE C.J. Liana is blown up. He fumbles and Maui #25 receivers at the FAR 30, 2:35.
MAUI series 3
Sabers run two times and hit pay dirt. Both carries fullback dives are to #28 Daniel Kelly Jr., who gains 13 yards up the gut, and again to Kelly for 17 yards the gut for a TD. Maui’s PAT kick is off the upright and no good, but a roughing-the-kicker penalty on the Govs gives the Sabers a second chance. That kick is blocked by FAR #51 Asalemo Sila. MAUI 6, FAR 0, 2:04.
FAR series 3
The Govs return the kickoff their 31-yard line, and on the next play, Mamiya runs off right tackle and down the sideline untouched for a 69-yard TD. That was quick. Sasaoka nails the PAT. FAR 7, MAUI 6, 1:43.
MAUI series 4
Sasaoka’s kickoff is deep, touchback. First down, they go to the air and Kelly hauls in an 8-yard play-action pass, but comes up gimpy. Hanisi Lolutelei, Maui’s hot RB, bulldozes up the gut for a first-down run. But on the first play of the second quarter, a deep pass down the right sideline is read by the FAR secondary. Ball is tipped and falls into the hands of Siaosi Pakileata. Govs ball at their 40-yard line
FAR series 4
Faamatau charges through the trenches for a first-down run. Mamiya follows with a 17-yard gash. The Govs have a second-and-6 at the Maui 29-yard line when they’re whistled for another false start. Mamiya runs for a first down, but there’s a botched snap (pistol formation) and Maui’s #21 recovers. Mental errors hurting the Govs and the Sabers get a big break.
MAUI series 5
Sabers get the ball on their 28-yard line and on first down, a sweep left is swallowed whole by Govs DT Breiden Fehoko. Maui tries a bootleg-type rollout left, but the Govs have three defenders there to stymie. Third and long, QB Austin Lee Hoe throws over the middle to TE #9 Tristan Nichols (6-4, 240) for a first down. Second-and-long play-action rollout by Lee Hoe is stopped by Ansen-Joe Faamasino for a sack. Sabers try a third-and-long counter trey left, but the Govs are waiting there in the gap. Maui punts, ball downed at the FAR 24-yard line, 5:26.
FAR series 5
Govs gashing the Sabers up front. Mamiya bolts for a 25-yard gain inside, but the Govs stall just past mid-field. Liana can’t find an open receiver on third down, tries to weave through the middle of the field for a first down, but gets wrapped up. Sasaoka’s punt is returned by Maui to the Sabers’ 20-yard line, 3:01.
MAUI series 6
#13 Lusitania Tongi Jr. runs for a nice 13-yard sweep on the left. After that, it’s slim pickings. Kelly tries in vain to gain yardage up the middle, bounces it outside while eluding four tacklers, but eventually they string him out. Maui tries another third-down counter trey, but FAR is disciplined and waiting in the gaps again. Time out, FAR, 1:02. Illegal substitution call on FAR, but it’s still fourth-and-2. Maui’s punt is downed at the FAR 26, :53
FAR series 6
Govs look to throw on first down, but Maui DE Alexander Vainikolo sacks Liana. Then FAR called for offsides. They’re letting the clock wind down, but Liana throws an 18-yard completion to Mamiya. FAR calls time out, :02. Liana hands off to Freedom Alualu for a modest gain, ending the half.
Mamiya has 139 yards one just nine carries and FAR has 171 rushing yards on 18 attempts. Faamatau (4-31) and Alualu (1-5) are the only other RBs with carries so far. Normal distribution for the Govs. Liana is 5-for-6, 43 yards and has run four times for 11 yards. Total offense for FAR is 214 yards.
Maui has spread the workload on the ground: Kelly (7-29), Lotuleilei (3-15), Emelio (2-12) and Tongi (3-7). Lee Hoe is 3-for-4 with one pick for 33 yards. He’s been sacked twice.
FAR series 7
Govs up man semi-muffs the opening kickoff, but Mamiya picks it up and returns it to the FAR 43. He picks up 9 yards up the gut, then Liana completes a first-down pass to D.J. Chaffin. Faamatau brings more lightning with a first-down run, going left, then a nice cutback to the middle. Then it’s Faamatau off right tackle for 15 yards to the MAUI 15. Govs are in no-huddle, reading the signals from their sideline. Maui called for encroachment on third-and-3. Govs have first down at the Maui 4-yard line. Sabers call time out, 8:44. Faamatau runs off right tackle for a 4-yard TD. FAR 14, MAUI 6, 8:38. Maui called for roughing the snapper. 15-yard penalty assessed on the kickoff.
MAUI series 7
Govs elect to kick “short” and smother the Sabers inside the 20 on the return. On first down, the Govs apply a bonecrunching gang tackle on a Maui RB, and #73 Tatum Tanuvasa (6-1, 254) recovers a fumble at the Maui 17-yard line.
FAR series 8
Mamiya turns the left corner for a big run, but is injured. Trainer checks both legs and he’s carried off the field by teammates. He can’t put any weight on either foot. FAR also called for a late hit on the play, but Liana finds WR Keola Kealohi for a nice pickup. After a run by Faamatau, the Govs line up for a FG. Sasaoka lines up for a 26-yard try from the left hash mark, but a delay penalty pushes it back for a 31-yard try. He pulls it left, no good, 6:53.
MAUI series 8
Sabers dodge a bullet and remain one score away from tying the game. TV time out gives their offense a chance to get regrouped. Sabers run wide right, but Fehoko is already in the backfield to stop it for a 5-yard loss. Maui punts, Faamatau returns the ball on the hop 25 yards to the Maui 35-yard line, 4:48.
FAR series 9
Great field position. First down, Liana spirals a bubble-screen pass to Chaffin, who crowds up behind his two blockers and races to the right pylon untouched for a 35-yard TD. On the PAT, Farrington goes muddle-huddle — something coach Randall Okimoto may have picked up during his years at UH (and coach Dick Tomey), using a lateral-style snap to Bryce Tatupu-Leopoldo. He races in for the 2-point conversion. FAR 22, MAUI 6, 4:37.
MAUI series 9
Kickoff goes for a touchback. First down, Tatupu-Leopoldo, the linebacker, strips the ball from Maui’s RB and runs about 20 yards to the end zone, but officials rule it a dead ball. There was no whistle until after the strip. Next play, stuffed again by the Govs, and a couple of players get chippy after the play. Lee Hoe finds Nichols on third-and-long for a first down over the middle, then Lotulelei runs for another first down. Sabers starting to show some life offensively. Sabers dial up a little trickery on the next play, a lateral to a sweep man, who throws downfield and overthrows an open receiver downfield. That would’ve been 6.
Next play, Kelly runs a counter trey left for a first down, their first success with that play. Injury time out; Maui player is down. #16 David Alan Kalaleauki helped off the field by teammates. Third-and-8 at the FAR 25, they try a sweep, but Fehoko runs to the right sideline and halts it for a 1-yard gain. Time out, Maui, :50. Fourth-and-7, Maui tries play-action, but Fehoko is there on Lee Hoe immediately for a big loss. FAR ball at its 30.
FAR series 10
Faamatau chugs downfield through traffic and drags tacklers for a first-down run. Another Faamatau run, another first down. That’s 34 yards on two carries. But FAR’s drive stalls just past mid-field. Sasaoka’s punt bounces out of bounds at the Maui 24, 11:10
MAUI series 10
Sabers called for a late hit on the punt return, starting at its 12 now. Marching upfield, third-and-5, a nice pass from Lee Hoe to Jayden Wilhelm on the right sideline for a 37-yard gain. First time they’ve really looked that deep downfield to their WRs tonight. Third-and-1 at the FAR 27, Tatupu-Leopoldo explodes into the backfield to stop the RB for a 5-yard loss. Lee Hoe picks up the first down with a QB draw.
Third-and-7 at the FAR 21, Lee Hoe has problems with the shotgun snap and is sacked by Faamasino. Fourth-and-15 now. Lee Hoe’s pass is overthrown and picked off by Pakileata. FAR called for an illegal block on the return, but they have the ball at their 4-yard line.
FAR series 11
Govs take over with less than 5 minutes left. Faamatau blasts through the trenches for a 32-yard gain. Then it’s an 11-yard rip through the middle. Govs’ O-line in command now. Another 11-yard pickup by Faamatau, this time on the right side off tackle. Bugsy Tui gets the next carry, but he fumbles. Refs confer and give the ball to Maui at the Sabers’ 34-yard line, 2:39. Replay (TV) shows that the ground caused Tui’s fumble, should’ve been a dead ball.
MAUI series 11
Sabers’ last chance, but they’re still running and still in regular huddle mode. Not looking to throw and score in these final minutes/seconds.