First-year Roosevelt coach Kui Kahooilihala is steadfast in his commitment to the Rough Riders’ ball-control ground game.
The problem on Friday was actually keeping control of the football.
The Rough Riders lost three fumbles in a 27-0 loss to Pearl City, the first halting their most promising drive of the night and the next two leading to Charger scores.
“We have to take care of the ball better offensively,” Kahooilihala said. “That kind of hurt us. That and penalties.”
The Rough Riders were without quarterback Shastyn Kekahuna, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another last week against McKinley, due a sprained ankle he suffered in the win. Senior Noah Rosa got the start behind center with the confidence of his coach.
“Noah’s like a player-coach for us at quarterback,” Kahooilihala said. “He plays multiple positions, tight end, slot, running back. He knows the offense so we didn’t really worry about our offense. Just the mistakes (were) too much.”
Pearl City had short fields on their first two possessions but the Roosevelt defense held the Chargers to two field goals. Pearl City’s third drive ended with a 30-yard touchdown pass to widen the lead to 12-0.
After Roosevelt went three-and-out on its first two possessions, Charvis Paia gave the Rough Riders their initial first down of the game with a 30-yard burst. The Rough Riders found running room on the edges to move into Pearl City territory and had a first down at the 19. Paia took a toss around the left side and turned upfield when he had the ball punched out from behind and Pearl City’s Kasey Kikuyama recovered the loose ball.
Roosevelt lost another fumble on the second play of the third quarter which Pearl City converted into a five-play scoring drive and Kikuyama recovered his second fumble of the night later in the period. The Chargers then put together a seven-play march capped by the final touchdown of the night.
Paia finished with 93 yards on 13 carries for the Rough Riders, who didn’t attempt a pass until nearly midway through the fourth quarter.
“The past four or five years, we tried with the run-and-shoot, spreading the field, four different (offensive coordinators),” Kahooilihala said. “I told the coaches before we started the season we have to establish our running game, we just gotta. That’s what we’re going to be doing this whole year.”
The Rough Riders (1-2, 1-1 OIA D-II) next faces Kaimuki on Aug. 27 at Kaiser.