The visiting Chargers strike for touchdowns on their first two possessions. The first drive is mostly handoff left and right to Dominic Maneafaiga, but after all his heavy lifting, Jordan Taamu found Garrett Kanamu in the corner of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown. PC 7, NAN 0, 7:08.
Nanakuli got flagged on its first three plays from scrimmage and punted. Pearl City drove 66 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a 12-yard TD pass from Taamu to Manefaiga. PC 14, NAN 0, 1:26.
The Golden Hawks got on the scoreboard with a five-play, 69-yard drive. Keanu Momoa threw a 13-yard TD pass to Kale Kanehailua on a well-executed trick play. PC 14, NAN 7, 11:37.
Back-to-back fumbles have killed Nanakuli’s momentum. The first came at the Pearl City 9-yard line, and the next was at the Chargers’ 46. Pearl City responded with a 40-yard TD pass from Taamu to Maneafaiga, who caught a short toss, broke a tackle and sprinted down the right sideline to paydirt. PC 21, NAN 7, 6:48.
A crucial fourth-down completion by Kanehailua, throwing on the run off his back foot, for 26 yards to Isain Wong, gave the Golden Hawks first down at the Pearl City 4-yard line. Haina-Horswill blasted up the middle on the next play for a TD. PC 21, NAN 14, 10:16.
Nanakuli loses Kanehailua to a rib injury after he took a big hit on a pass — ruled a roughing-the-passer infraction. A second roughing-the-passer call later in the drive — on another third down — gave Nanakuli another second chance. Haina-Horswill then blasted up the gut for a 21-yard TD run. TIE, NAN 21, PC 21, 9:39.
Haina-Horswill breaks off a 34-yard TD run on a fourth-and-1 play to give the Golden Hawks the lead. NAN 28, PC 21, 2:40.
The Chargers are marching downfield, ball at the Nanakuli 23, when Taamu drops the shotgun snap and fumbles. Haina-Horswill, blitzing on the play, recovers and Nanakuli has the ball with 31 ticks left.
It’s 5-0 versus 5-0 tonight at the Golden Hawks’ field. Pearl City has won six of the last eight meetings. The winner will have the inside track to home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs. (The OIA D-II final is normally played at Aloha Stadium.)
Beat the traffic and got here early, got some early dinner at the main intersection (Kamehameha Hwy. and Nanakuli Ave.) leading up to the campus. It’s homecoming for Nanakuli. Coach Keala Watson likes a challenge, all right.
• Jordan Taamu’s skills and experience are huge plus for the Chargers, the defending OIA D-II champs. He’s only averaging 153 passing yards per game and his rushing numbers are even more modest, but that’s only because he’s got weapons at his disposal. If the Golden Hawks decide to lock down on RB Dominic Maneaifaga, Taamu (12 yards per carry) will become a passing and running force.
• Nanakuli’s Kale Kanehailua, like Taamu, is an effective playmaker through the air (10 yards per attempt, 10 TDs, only three picks) and by ground (8.8 yards per carry). He’s got enough talent around him, though, to manage the offense into the end zone. Makaila Haina-Horswill (567 rushing yards, 10.9 YPC, five TDs) has been used lightly and should have fresh legs for Nanakuli’s stretch run.
Clifford Cunningham (15 receptions, 363 yards, five TDs) and Isain Wong (11-194-2) have been effective and dangerous, making it tough for defenses to key in on Kanehailua and/or Haina-Horswill.
Then there’s 6-foot-3, 284-pound offensive lineman Lyle Tuiloma, a commit to Colorado.
This is going to be fun.