Campbell’s effort and energy concerned coach Darren Johnson early in Saturday’s OIA Open Division matchup with Farrington.
The Sabers had too much of both.
Coming off a bye week, the Sabers eagerness to get back in the action revved into the red for much of the first quarter. After falling behind, the fourth-ranked Sabers settled in and ran away from the 10th-ranked Governors in a 34-7 win to open their OIA Open Division schedule.
“They were so hungry that we were overexerting ourselves instead of just playing the game,” Johnson said. “Hopefully we got that out of their system and and we just play football the rest of the way.”
Senior Kaniala Kalaola embodied the dilemma in his start at quarterback. After going 5-for-8 in the Sabers’ win over Hilo, Kalaola earned the assignment in Campbell’s OIA opener and misfired on six of his first seven attempts. The offense also committed three false starts in Campbell’s first 12 plays and Kalaola was summoned to the bench in the middle of the Sabers’ third possession.
After Farrington took the lead on Raymond Millare’s 21-yard run early in the second quarter, Kalaola returned to the huddle with the jitters out. The throws that sailed over his receivers early on found their marks, giving the Sabers’ playmakers opportunities to open their stride.
After being shutout on their first three possessions, the Sabers scored on five of their next six drives with Kalaola completing seven of his 10 throws with three touchdowns — the first to Titus Mokiao-Atimalala and the next two to Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala.
“The coaches were talking to me, making me feel comfortable out there, just telling me to trust in myself and get the receivers the ball and trust in my line that they’ll block for me,” Kalaola said.
The line indeed protected Kalaola and opened the way for Sky Lactaoen to rush for 110 yards and a touchdown. Kalaola capped the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run on his lone rushing attempt of the night.
Pokii Adkins-Kupukaa contributed in all three phases in starting at safety on defense, returning kicks on special teams and contributing to the offense with a rushing attempt, a reception and an option pass. Adkins-Kupukaa took a toss from Kalaola, pulled up and fired a deep ball to Titus Mokiao-Atimalala — who finished with 119 yards on four receptions — that set up Lactaoen’s 15-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter. Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala also caught four passes for 93 yards, 65 coming on a touchdown pass on Campbell’s first play of the third quarter.
The score effectively put the game away after Farrington threatened to cut into its 21-7 deficit with a 12-play ground-and-pound march deep into Campbell territory.
After Treshawn Kepa’s kickoff return to the Campbell 37, the Governors fed Samsen Tanuvasa and Selau Kalani for 32 yards on eight attempts and Chris Afe converted on a fourth-and-2 from the Campbell 5. Tanuvasa got to the 1 but a personal foul on Farrington pushed the Governors back to the 16. A pass interference call moved the ball to the 8 and Tanuvsaa again powered near the goal line. On fourth and goal, quarterback Richard Tagataese rolled out for a throw but was dropped by Campbell linebacker Taelase Gaoteote for a 10-yard loss.
“We came up big over there,” Johnson said. “The penalty helped us but we played behind it and our defense made a big stop.”
Campbell (2-0, 1-0 OIA Open) travels to Waianae (0-3, 0-1) on Saturday and Farrington (1-2, 0-2) plays host to Punahou (1-1, 1-1) on Friday.