Roosevelt’s 4-0 start has consisted of dominant victories as the Rough Riders have outscored their opponents 166-13, relying mostly on the efficiency of senior QB Sky Ogata and their dynamic offensive play-calling.
In the Rough Riders’ 54-0 victory over Pearl City on Friday night, senior linebacker and receiver Shepard Kekahuna showed himself as a sleeper
POY candidate in Division II.
Kekahuna may have had years of experience on the high school field, but this season is his first in the red and gold since he transferred from St. Francis.
Less than two minutes into the game, Kekahuna picked off an overthrown ball from Pearl City senior QB Makana Canyon and ran it back into the end zone for the Rough Riders’ first score of the night.
“I was just trying to do my job,” Kekahuna said. “The pick-6 just got our momentum going and showed us that we can accomplish anything as long as we work hard enough.”
That momentum steadily continued as senior WR Chase Akana followed quickly behind on a 74-yard TD connection with Ogata that increased the Rough Riders’ lead to 14-0.
Roosevelt held Pearl City scoreless throughout the first half and added three more TDs following scoring catches of 26 and 25 yards by senior WRs Devin Naihe and Kirk Calinao. The second pick-6 of the night went to sophomore LB Kyson Aponte-Stone, who ran into the end zone from 51 yards out, notching Roosevelt to a 33-0 lead before the second half.
It wasn’t until the third quarter, however, that Kekahuna truly showed his wheels — returning the Chargers’ opening kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown that he says was inspired by his pre-game attitude.
“I just wanted to come out with my heart and mind in the right place and work hard so we can get closer to our goal,” Kekahuna said.
Two giant plays weren’t enough for the dynamic athlete as Kekahuna returned a punt 84 yards before falling out of bounds just before inching toward the end zone, setting up junior Wesley James’ 2-yard TD catch on the last Roosevelt offensive score.
Junior DL Skyler Thrasher closed the game with a 9-yard fumble recovery return for a final TD — a fitting end for an impressive Rough Riders defensive showing.
Despite a monster performance and a team shutout victory, Kekahuna is still not satisfied.
“We played more physically this game than the previous ones, but we still need work,” he said. “We have to start by giving it everything we’ve got in practice and then doing our jobs during the next games.”