On Saturday night at Aloha Stadium, No. 6 Farrington did just enough to earn a 29-27 win over No. 7 Campbell in a game that decided second place and a first-round bye in the OIA Blue Division.
Both teams made it to the semifinals of the state tournament a year ago, and both gave a signal that, while they may be running teams in an era of pass-crazy squads, they are not going to be easy to beat from here on in.
Farrington (6-1) threw the ball three times in the game and that lack of a passing attack could hurt the Govs against quick-strike teams, especially if they fall behind early.
Campbell (5-2) made a switch at quarterback and got a solidly managed game by new starter Anthony Pablo. The senior doesn’t have the deep-strike ability of sophomore Ezra Savea, who he took over for, but he was on the money with his short passes, and with defensive backs giving the dangerous Jayce Bantolina a big cushion, he made it look easy getting it to the big target.
Bantolina made nine catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns, and mostly all of the catches were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
The running of Sabers’ backs Terell Johnson (81 yards on 14 carries) and Austin May (53 yards on 15 carries) is what gave Farrington the most trouble.
The Governors’ Ranan Mamiya, who raced for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries, overshadowed Campbell’s threats. His presence made the final difference on the scoreboard. He got a huge assist from his massive offensive line and Challen Faamatu, his mate in the backfield who churned out 79 yards on 16 carries.
One call changed by the officials may have swayed the game. A flag was thrown against the Govs’ Breiden Fehoko for roughing the passer on a play in which Farrington’s Ansen-Joe Faamasino tipped Pablo’s pass, caught the ball and sprinted to the 2-yard line, where Mamiya scored from 2 yards out on the next play. The final ruling was that Fehoko’s late hit on the passer was in actuality a block on a player after the ball was tipped.
Hold it right there. Yes, that was the ruling, according to Govs coach Randall Okimoto. But there was at least one reporter in the press box who was specifically watching Fehoko on that play and he says the hit came an instant after the ball was released and was well before it was tipped.
That is just one eyewitness report. The officials were a lot closer and did not need the aid of binoculars. Furthermore, he has had no training in officiating football.
Mamiya’s touchdown made it 29-20.
No matter what, the Farrington-Campbell showdown was a clean, hard-hitting affair that showed both teams mean business in the future.