The 5:30 p.m. kickoff has been delayed for various reasons. It’s 5:41 and now here we go. Nanakuli’s community is here in FULL FORCE. Right on, Golden Hawks.
Pooch kick by NAN on the opening kickoff and nobody for PC calls fair catch. They luck out and recover the bouncing ball. PC ball at its 44.
PC series 1: First play from scrimmage, Jordan Taamu’s deep post pass is picked off by safety Randon Kahili-Frantela on a dive. Pass was intended for Israel Kaleo. Ball was a line drive, but if it had some air under it, might’ve been a TD.
NAN series 1: Golden Hawks go hurry-up, no-huddle on offense, converts a first down, but a sack by Alosina Toomalatai derails the Golden Hawks. PUNT.
PC series 2: The Chargers take over at their own 34 and get a spark on Taamu’s 39-yard option keeper. He finds Kaleo for a 10-yard TD pass on a right-side post route. PC 7, NAN 0, 7:30.
NAN series 2: The Golden Hawks start on their 32-yard line and run twice for 1 yard. Kale Kanehailua hits Keanu Momoa for a first down (second time so far), but the play is negated by an ineligible receiver penalty. Then NAN is whistled for illegal procedure. The last time they played PC, they started out like this with mental errors, a little bit too much adrenaline. Third-and-19 bubble-screen pass falls incomplete. NAN punt, but first, another procedure call. 30-yard punt by Randy Manewa, downed by the Hawks.
PC series 3: Chargers have outstanding field position at the NAN 48. Whatever blue sky we had earlier has yielded to ugly dark gray clouds completely covering Aloha Stadium, and now the rain is starting to fall. Typically, this works in favor of a run-first team (Nanakuli) and against a passing team (Pearl City).
We’ll see if PC goes to Dominic Maneafaiga a little earlier than last time. In the first meeting, he had just three carries before halftime as the Chargers tried to save his legs. (He had 15 carries after the break.)
Outstanding pursuit by NAN defense on a bubble screen pass attempt to WR Garrett Kanamu, ball falls incomplete. Wasted opportunity for PC, plus a 5-yard penalty just got called. No fake punt here, my guess. 43-yard punt by PC, and a short return by Luke Luna-Luuloa.
NAN series 3: Another false start by NAN, this time by RG #73. First and 15, another false start. The noise here shouldn’t be a big factor, even with PC’s band playing. It’s first-and-20 from the 5 and RB Makaila Haina-Horswill is nearly brought down for a safety. Side judge rules he got to the 1-foot line.
Coach Keala Watson has seen enough. He calls time out.
Haina-Horswill slices through the middle for 8 yards, their first significant gain by ground, but the next run goes nowhere and NAN will punt out of its end zone. Ball downed at the NAN 37.
PC series 4: Third-and-3 and PC’s inability to run is hurting. Taamu sacked for a big loss by Elijah Kaimi and Torae Redd. Chargers punt, coffin corner style, and the ball bounces from the 20 to the 3, where Haina-Horswill dives on the ball before it goes any further.
NAN series 4: Holding call on first down for NAN. I’m not doing stats for this game, but my guess is they’ve got more penalty yardage than offensive yardage so far. Turns out the holding penalty against #74 Lyle Tuiloma occurred in the end zone, which it a safety. PC 9, NAN 0, :25
PC series 5: Chargers returned the free kick to their 35-yard line and have a second-and-1 as the second quarter begins. PC looks a lot more comfortable in the hurry-up, but has gone back to huddling. NAN’s hurry-up, not in sync.
M.J. Keopuhiwa runs for a first down and Taamu fires a strike to Maneafaiga for another first down. DE Haku Kamai with a nice tackle for loss on first down. That was big. NAN bearing down. It’s now fourth-and-9 for PC at the NAN 35. Time out, PC.
WOW. Two huge plays by PC. First, a double pass from Taamu to a WR (not sure who) on a long lateral, which turns into a first-down pass to Maneafaiga. Then the Chargers line up in a “flamingo” style set with seven or so players lined up to the far left, and the center and two guards with Maneafaiga at QB. He takes the snap and darts through the middle for a TD. Tricky, tricky. PAT misses. PC 15, NAN 0, 10:09.
NAN series 5: Golden Hawks take over at their 35 after a pooch kickoff and short return. Haina-Horswill runs right for a first down. Just as they get a little momentum, another false start penalty is called. Haina-Horswill makes a nice cutback run on a draw, but on third-and-1, another false start. I’ve never seen anything quite like this in a long, long time.
PC series 6: Maneafaiga’s 26-yard punt return sets the Chargers up at their own 46. Chargers go nowhere as a third-down pass is stopped short, but they line up on fourth-and-5, and a long lateral pass from Taamu to Maneafaiga is jumped by linebacker Alexcio Meyers, who picks it off and races 35 yards down the left sideline before he’s tackled. One trick too many by PC.
NAN series 6: The Golden Hawks run twice with no luck, and remain in the double-TE set on a give to Haina-Horswill, who has nowhere to go, then bounces outside on the right, jukes two defenders, breaks a tackle and finds his way into the end zone. Amazing run. PC 15, NAN 8, 5:03.
When your coach calls for a run on third-and-goal from the 8, that’s a lot of faith in his O-line.
PC series 7: Chargers trying to make it work on the ground, but another first-down run goes nowhere. They’re still trying to save Maneafaiga for the second half, Nanakuli’s crowd is back in this game, big time. Kanamu lets a second-down pass go through his fingers near a first down. Third down, Taamu with a nice strike to Maneafaiga on a crossing route, generous spot by the official, but it’s still fourth-and-inches. PC sends the punt unit out.
PC sends the offense back out, then calls time out after letting the play clock wind down to 1 second. Interesting to see if they’ll really go for this on their own 42-yard line. They don’t have an elephant-type fullback. Now NAN calls time out as PC lines up in a five-wide, quads-right, under-center, ace set.
Taamu is stonewalled on a sneak attempt, then a second attempt on the left side with a lunge. They measure and he’s short by about 6 inches.
NAN series 87 Golden Hawks run twice with Haina-Horswill, and on third-and-2, Kanehailua’s bomb to Momoa is deflected by Kavossie Mason. Fourth down, Kanehailua’s play-action pass to Louis Hulama is good for a first down. Kyler Mano and Pjay Solomon sack Kanehailua on a rollout, and on third-and-long, the snap comes early, surprising Kanehailua and they lose about 20 yards. Fourth-and-33 from the PC 37-yard line. Major snafu. Time out, NAN, :01 left in the half. PC follows with its final time out of the half.
Kanehailua rolls right, gets a bonecrunching block and launches it deep to Momoa, who hauls it in for a 37-yard TD. I think I saw Momoa push off the DB before the catch. Stadium replay doesn’t show it, but I can check our video later. PAT pass from Kanehailua to Momoa falls incomplete. PC 15, NAN 13, :00.
Just checked the video. Tough to tell on the tiny LCD screen, but the officials let the pre-catch contact go. Momoa also lost control of the ball after the catch, but was given the TD. If this was the NFL, that probably wouldn’t be a TD since the ball came loose and he didn’t establish clear possession. All it takes in high school (and college) is to get one foot down.
NAN series 8: 17-yard kickoff return sets the Hawks up at their 30-yard line. Still some rain falling, more like mist, with a steady wind. First play is play-action, but Jackson Fuamatu sacks Kanehailua. NAN still in no-huddle, hurry-up mode. They get some yards back on a middle screen to Haina-Horswill. O-line seems to have settled down. Third-and-five, Fuamatu (5-11, 210) swallows up Haina-Horswill. NAN punt. Ball downed at the PC 34.
PC series 8: Chargers line up in a slot-I for the first time tonight. Maneafaiga at TB, but they get just 3 yards on two carries out of this. Taamu is on point with a first-down bullet to Maneafaiga on a sideline route. Taamu throws a lot of different balls and that’s one of his favorites. Rain rally coming down hard and heavy now. Next pass goes through Maneafaiga’s fingers. Not sure if gloves help in this kind of weather.
Michael Fomai brings Keopuhiwa down for a loss in the backfield, but on third-and-long, Taamu steps left away from traffic and finds Keelan Domingo-Ishikawa down the hash marks for a huge gain to the NAN 14. Taamu rolls left and hits Dante McGee with a first-down pass to the 2. Manefaiga scores on a right-side run on the next play. PC 22, NAN 13, 6:57.
NAN series 9: No offensive series (technically). Luke Luna-Luuloa muffs the kickoff at the 10, then hustles to pick it up at the 2, and then races through traffic for a 98-yard TD return. Golden Hawks go for 2 and Haina-Horswill follows his burly line into the end zone. PC 22, NAN 21, 6:38. What a game!
PC series 9: Squib kickoff takes a funny hop and Maneafaiga has to track it down near the goal line. He brings it back out to the 12. PC determined to establish their running game with #6 (Manefaiga) and he gains 7 yards on first down. Then PC has a false start, their first. Taamu goes deep again to Kaleo, but overthrows. Seems the wind is blowing strong from the makai end zone to the mauka one. PC called for another procedure penalty. Third-and-long, Hawks corral Kanamu on a short pass. PC has fourth down, whistled for delay of game.
Ball now at the 4, punter at the edge of the end zone and the snap is high, through his hands and out of the end zone for a safety. Two safeties in one game. Weird. NAN 23, PC 22, 4:41.
NAN series 10: Nice return by Luma-Luuloa (about 37 yards) sets the Hawks up at the PC 36. Haina-Horswill powers his way to the 25 on a left-side run, nice downhill stomping by the right-side linemen pulling. Then Kanehailua has an open receiver on play action, but misfires. Haina-Horswill bear-crawls his way to nice yardage, setting up fourth-and-1, but on the next play, Leon Dupio sacks Kanehailua to end the threat.
PC with another false start. First-and-15 from the NAN 35. NAN sits back and Taamu picks them apart. Nice crossing route by McGee and Taamu delivers a 17-yard strike for a first down. Then he scrambles for a 7-yard gain. Golden Hawks don’t have an answer right now. Draw to Keopuhiwa, who is stuffed for a loss. Second time he’s gotten the ball and gotten up slowly. Time out, PC. Any more trickeration?
The last time I saw a flamingo-style formation work that well was long ago when Roosevelt used it. Actually, I didn’t see it when they busted it out to upset Kahuku, but I saw it later that season.
Taamu with lots of time, goes right and finds McGee on the right side of the end zone for a TD. Nice footwork by McGee to stay inbounds, and another nice throw on the move by Taamu, who looks more and more like a potentially good QB at the next level. PAT: Taamu to Kaleo pass is good. PC 30, NAN 23, 10:28.
NAN series 11: A nicely-placed pooch kickoff by PC almost leads to disaster for NAN. In the pileup, Hawks recover at their own 39. No-huddle mode. Kanehailua with an 8-yard pass to Isain Wong, then a pass intended for Momoa is deflected over the middle. A perfectly-timed screen pass to Momoa goes for a 53-yard TD, but is called back for holding. That was a nice play, off play-action.
Third-and-9, they fake the same screen pass to Momoa and Kanehailua fights off two sackers to complete a first-down pass to the TE, Hulama. Another screen pass to Momoa for a nice gain, called back by holding again. Doesn’t matter. Kanehailua somehow evades sackers again and finds Wong downfield for a big first down at the PC 24.
Kanehailua with a sweet fake handoff to Haina-Horswill on the read-option and runs for 19 yards to the 5. Haven’t seen a read-option fake that good since Marcus Mariota ran for a 50-yard TD at Kahuku in 2010.
PC has Kanehailua dead to rights on a play-action rollout, but he eludes three tacklers and picks up 2 yards. The give out of the GL set is to the fullback, Haku Kamai, who scores off right tackle. Clifford Cunningham’s PAT is good through the cross wind. NAN 30, PC 30, 6:12.
NAN series 12: For all their first-half blunders, there hasn’t been more than one false start by Nanakuli in the second half while PC was whistled for three. Haina-Horswill gets the handoff twice in a row, picking up exactly 1 yard. NAN was excellent in the previous series by being less predictable. Now they are too predictable Third-and-9, Kanehailua is nearly sacked, then finds Momoa for a 4-yard gain. NAN will have to punt. PC plays for the fake, punt is downed at the PC 1-yard line. Nicely done.
PC series 12: Chargers ball at their 1, 2:13 left. Maneafaiga bulls his way to the 5 and they have some breathing room. Third-and-3, Kamai brings Maneafaiga down for no gain. Time out, NAN, :58.
Punt snap is a little high, but the punter gets it off. Flag goes down. NAN called for running into the kicker. OK, they confer and now the running-into-the-kicker call is nullified by a blocking below the waist penalty PLUS an unsportsmanlike conduct call (on NAN). Officials conferring again.
OK, now they say PC will take the running-into-the-kicker penalty AND the conduct penalty. That makes sense now. PC has 48 seconds to make it happen.
Taamu with all the time in the world, finds Maneafaiga for about 25 yards to the NAN 49 as he steps out of bounds. Next play, Taamu escapes out of a collapsing pocket to gain 11 yards on a scramble. Time out, PC, :20 at the NAN 38.
Taamu again has to leave the pocket, almost sacked but throws a first-down pass to Maneafaiga off his right foot (hopping). Maneafaiga steps out on the right sideline at the 19-yard line with :12 left. Time out, PC.
Taamu finds Kaleo in the end zone by the right pylon for a TD, but a holding penalty nullifies that. :06 on the clock, ball on the NAN 37.
PC calls time out. The play starts and Taamu is in the pocket when officials blow it dead. NAN called time out, their last.
Taamu’s hail-mary pass falls incomplete. He rolled right, almost got sacked, came back to the left. At that point, some of the DBs started coming toward Taamu, and his pass to a receiver in the left corner was wide out of bounds. Heading to overtime.
NAN series 13: Kanehailua looking to throw on first down, but gets chased to the sideline by Kyler Mano, who strips the ball loose and it goes out at the 27 for a 7-yard loss. On the next play, Kanehailua pump fakes and throws a spiral to the left corner, where Wong dives and makes a beautiful catch for a TD. Cunningham’s kick is good, NAN 37, PC 30.
PC series 13: First down, nobody open, Taamu sacked for a 5-yard loss by Elijah Kaimi. Second down, pass intended for Maneafaiga is deflected at the line of scrimmage, incomplete. Third down, Taamu with a pretty corner pass to Domingo-Ishikawa for a 25-yard TD. PAT: delay of game on the Chargers. Maneafaiga’s PAT is wide right. Game over.
FINAL: NANAKULI 37, PEARL CITY 36, OT. Heartbreak for the Chargers again against the Golden Hawks. One of the best playoff games I’ve seen in 25 years.
Here we are. It took many of us 1-2 hours to get here. For me, it was being in traffic from 3 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. due to Halloween (?) traffic and rain. Salt Lake Blvd. was brutaaaaal.
But thank the Lord most of us have made it to the OIA Division II championship game. Both Pearl City, the second-place regular-season finisher, and first-place Nanakuli have qualified for the state tourney. This game is for the OIA crown.
Weather is fine out here. Clouds are forecast to clear out. Lots of blue sky now.