A three-play sequence to end the first half of the Mililani-Farrington football game on Saturday spelled bad news for both teams.
In the end, Mililani defensive back Ramsey Tacadena suffered an injured elbow moments after intercepting a pass. Farrington quarterback Montana Liana, ejected for a late hit on Tacadena, faces a one-game suspension.
“(Officials) made the right call. It was a hit on a defenseless player,” said OIA chief official Jim Beavers, who saw the game video later.
Liana’s frustration may have begun two plays earlier. A short pass by Liana to Ranan Mamiya resulted in a hard, clean hit by Trojans defensive back Graysen DeMello, and the ball fell incomplete. DeMello bounced back up immediately after the play, clapping and jumping next to Mamiya as he laid on the turf. Safety Tielu Mamea then ran in from 5 yards away to stand over Mamiya.
“I was telling him, ‘You’re good, you’re good.’ I would never taunt anyone. We’re brothers on the field,” he said.
Mamiya may have heard something different. When he came to, he stood up and pointed at Mamea angrily before going back to the huddle. Farrington wide receiver Kingston Moses-Sanchez also heard what Mamea had said. He, too, pointed at Mamea.
For some officiating crews, like the one headed by Beavers, a flag for taunting (unsportsmanlike conduct) would probably have been thrown against one or both teams. For this crew, perhaps weary after a blazing hot JV game (temperatures hovered around 90 degrees) and a very long first half of the varsity contest, no penalties were assessed.
With time running out, Liana took the next snap and was sacked by Kaimana Padello. Liana appeared to get upset after the play when Padello shoved Liana, who was trying to get up, back to the ground.
Though time had expired, a penalty was assessed to Mililani on the play, giving Farrington one more snap before the half.
Beavers was surprised to hear about the post-whistle activity on the two earlier plays.
“That’s always the issue, isn’t it? It’s not the first or second guy who gets caught,” he said. “I try to teach get it the first time. We’ll continue to address catching the first. But that’s very experienced crew we had out there.”
Then came Liana’s hail-Mary bomb. Tacadena changed directions on his return, was cornered by two Governors and hit by Moses-Sanchez. Tacadena tried to regain his balance, putting his left hand on the ground, but he went down.
Liana ran two strides in and struck Tacadena, who was already on his back.
Liana may have been frustrated by the previous two plays, but insisted that it had nothing to do with the interception hit.
“The guy made the interception and I wanted to finish the play. He used his hand to keep his balance,” Liana said.
Farrington coach Randall Okimoto is hoping for the best. He may be without his starting quarterback with title contender Campbell awaiting this Saturday.
“I didn’t see it, but I’ll watch the film,” he said. “If it’s not flagrant, hopefully it’ll be overturned. We had a situation like this last year that was overturned.”
Mililani coach Rod York said he had warned officials during the first half that there may have been too many extra shots taken.
Mililani won the game 41-14.