Damn, Campbell’s defense is good.
The Sabers (7-4) shut down Waiakea’s offense in a 48-0 Division I state-tournament first-round home win Friday night.
It gets Campbell a semifinal game next Saturday against ‘Iolani, when it will be tested by the Raiders’ tried and true short-passing game.
Before looking at the huge Sabers’ defensive playmakers from Friday, let’s first take a look at how the team has done against teams that made the Open (top) division state tourney as well as how they did against the teams that did not make the Open.
>> The four losses were against Kapolei, Kahuku and Farrington (twice), all of who are in the Open.
>> In the seven wins, a total of 39 points were given up, and that includes 12 to Waianae, which was the only team the Sabers vanquished that qualified for the Open.
And now for some of Friday’s defensive studs:
Outside linebacker Dane Esprecion is at the top of the list. He had two fumble recoveries, both of which led to offensive touchdowns, and he also had two sacks.
Then there’s Dominic Puatuua, a 6-foot-4 defensive lineman who had two tackles for loss. In addition, Dylon Duque and Jeremiah Leaeno both had a tackle for loss, and Noah Empron and Braden Kauhane each had an interception.
The road gets tougher for Campbell, and head coach Amosa Amosa knows that all too well.
“This (the ‘Iolani game) is going to be a great test for us,” he said.
Amosa was disappointed with the many personal foul calls on his team, and he talked about that at length after Friday’s win.
“The thing that stands out to me is the personal fouls and the penalties,” he said. “We’ve got to clean that up. Make them understand that there is no need for that when the play is done and the whistle blows. It’s over. Pau. When the ball is beyond you, there’s no need to block. We had a defensive back pick the ball and had a nice return and they come and do something stupid. Or a good run of 20 yards and our guy hits somebody by the pile.
“THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR. I DON’T WANT THAT,” Amosa said with conviction.
Amosa, on the other hand, was happy with the team’s ball control and especially happy with the defense.
Two key starters, quarterback Kawika Ulufale and defensive lineman Kishaun Ki, did not start the game because they broke team rules.
Ulufale shared time with Dustin Abillanida and both played well. Ulufale scored via the run three times and Abillanida threw two touchdown passes.
Ki, who has been a monster on the defensive line all season, played sparingly in the second half.
Campbell’s biggest football accomplishment previously was a Division II championship in 2004, when the Sabers topped ‘Iolani 28-7 in the title game.
Now, both of those teams are Division I, which is — for the first time this season — the second tier in Hawaii.
“Iolani is a big task,” Amosa said. “They’re playing either Punahou, Saint Louis or Kamehameha every week. We’re not going to look at their record (4-7). We know their history and what they bring and how they’ve been a dominant team in D-II. They might not have size like us. But the way they play, they don’t need size. They’re smart, have pretty good athletes and a pretty good quarterback (Tai-John Mizutani).
“Offensively, we’ve got to try to take advantage of our size somehow. And our defense, they love the challenge and get to see an ILH passing attack. We’re looking forward to that. We’re happy we got the win tonight.”