Radford won’t have to guard against looking ahead this week.
After completing a 44-7 win over Kalaheo on Saturday, the Rams could turn their attention to a showdown with Nanakuli on Friday in a matchup of the two remaining undefeated teams in OIA Division II play.
“It’s a big game next week,” Radford coach Fred Salanoa said moments after the Rams improved to 7-0 overall and 6-0 in the division. “We’re going to enjoy this win and we’ll get to work on Monday getting ready for Nanakuli and we look forward to a good match.”
Salanoa acknowledged “it was tough not to look at them” in the weeks leading up to the anticipated matchup for first-place. Both teams kept the stakes high for their meeting at Waianae by both reaching 6-0 this weekend, albeit in contrasting fashion.
Nanakuli rallied late to force overtime against Pearl City on Friday and pulled out a 41-34 win. Radford had a far less stressful night in its win over Kalaheo on Saturday led by running back/safety Ace Faumui’s 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Faumui is an integral part of the division’s stingiest defense and averages 12.75 yards per carry.
“I watched (Nanakuli) play (Friday) night and even though they were down at halftime they’re such a scrappy group that they kept on fighting and Coach Keala Watson does a good job of getting his players prepared,” Salanoa said.
Radford enters the game leading the division in both scoring offense (308 points) and defense (33 points allowed). Nanakuli follows with 206 points scored and 103 allowed. Following a season-opening forfeit win over Anuenue, Radford has scored at least 43 points in its six on-field wins while allowing just five total touchdowns so far.
Since losing its opener against Kapaa, now ranked ninth in the Star-Advertiser poll, Nanakuli has strung together six straight wins (including an Anuenue forfeit) and has reached 40 points in its last four games. Nainoa Banks leads the division with 13 touchdown passes.
Since losing to Pearl City on Sept. 27, 2013, Nanakuli has won 16 straight regular-season games, including a 27-26 victory over Radford last year. A missed 2-point conversion attempt with no time left was the difference in the Nanakuli win and they’ll meet again at Waianae, which will serve as Nanakuli’s home field while work on the school’s track is completed.
“Unfortunately we have to go farther down to Waianae, but, hey, that’s what football is all about,” Salanoa said. “And it’ll show some of these young men that haven’t been out that way a great venue.”