It’s Oahu vs. Maui in the Division II state final as ‘Iolani, winner of seven of the last eight state football titles, takes on Lahainaluna, looking for its first state crown.
Our battle in the trenches features Lahainaluna’s two-way lineman, Connor Mowat (6-feet-0, 270 pounds, Senior), on defense, going up against ‘Iolani center Devin Ide (5-11, 218, Jr.).
The Raiders can’t afford to be one-dimensional against the Lunas. They have to run the ball. How Ide holds up against Mowat will go a long way in determining the outcome of tonight’s game.
As always, this is purely for fun. Each series is scored like a boxing round with a 10-point must system.
The two line up helmet-to-helmet to start. Mowat goes low and power through to draw help from the running back on a pass. Mowat goes low again and tries to crab walk against Ide and the left guard on another pass. Third down and Mowat stands straight up and tries to drive right through Ide. Cameron Chang, the left guard, with a big block on the help to save his quarterback, Austin Jim On. Mowat standing up now and is basically trying to push two linemen back on every snap. Mowat back on all fours before the snap and goes low again, getting through, but it’s a pitch away from the middle. No ‘Iolani runs up the gut yet. Mowat charges up the middle low and this time ‘Iolani runs up the middle. Ide one-on-one against Mowat on third down and holds him off, allowing Jim On to complete a pass over the middle. Short run left as Mowat’s interesting tactic of powering through low takes him out of plays but forces ‘Iolani to use up two OL to block. Second-and-8. Mowat stands straight up and is again effectively double teamed, giving Jim On time to throw. Mowat gets under Ide and drives him back right into the running back for a tackle for loss on first-and-goal. Lahainaluna brings in a fourth defensive linemen and Mowat moves over to go up against Chang but is double teamed with Ide, giving Jim On time to throw the touchdown pass. 10-9 Ide.
Mowat one-on-one with Ide and crab walks again up the field but the running back runs past him to his right. Have to imagine it’s hard for him to pick up the runner that way. But he does get penetration. Third-and-short. Ide with the seal block on Mowat that opens JUST ENOUGH room for ‘Iolani to pick up the first down. Raiders now gashing Lahainaluna up the middle in the space unoccupied by Mowat. Mowat goes low again but the run is outside for nothing. Mowat moves over to Ching on third down and beats him but Ide picks him up on the double team. Another run to the spot Mowat had occupied and Lahainaluna calls timeout. The Lunas need to adjust as ‘Iolani is rolling up yards. After the timeout, the Lunas have a fourth down lineman in the game and Mowat moves over to go up against Chang. Mowat beats Chang to the inside but it’s a quick pass as Ide now has to worry about a fourth lineman. Fourth-and-2. ‘Iolani punts. Ide and Chang win 10-9 but you see the adjustment made.
Mowat is one-on-one against Ide and gets a very late touch on Jim On in, but it’s way late as ‘Iolani goes deep for a first down. Back to three down linemen. Mowat goes low again but ‘Iolani again runs just enough to his right to get away from him on the ground. Mpwat goes low again but guesses right as he gets the running back at his knees for a second tackle for loss. Third-and-7. Mowat stands up and blows by Ide and gets a big hit in on Jim On, who gets it away just in time for a big gain, but took a hit. Another run as Mowat goes low and goes after the wrong guy. Raiders first-and-goal at the 2 as the quarter ends. Mowat isn’t in on first play of the second quarter and ‘Iolani rushes for a touchdown. Mowat 10-9 despite the Raiders controlling every other aspect of the drive.
Ide and Chang combine on the double team but Mowat takes up space, forcing a short run. Mowat stands straight up and barrels into Ide but gets no push. Third down and Mowat again is held up by a double team, giving Jim On time to throw. First down. Mowat smokes Ide on that one but can’t get his hands on the running back. Mowat beats Ide but there are two more blockers there to stop him on the long ‘Iolani TD pass. 10-9 Ide.
Mowat does it again. He crab walks right up the middle and Ide just lets him go as he pulls past Mowat and then blocks downfield for Pascua. Quick run to the left now away from Mowat. Mowat with the crab walk into Ide’s knee and goes nowhere. Ide with the great seal block on Mowat but the other Lunas come in to make a big play. Mowat gets past Ide but is put on the ground but a two-hand shove from the left guard, who was also blocking another defender. Mowat again with no penetration while the rest of the Lunas are able to close in. Ide is doing a helluva job. ‘Iolani with a run up the middle and Mowat gets off the block of Ide enough to slow the running back in his track and allow his defense to come in and make the tackle for no gain. Mowat gets beat and pushes Jim On inside but no Lunas are there and Jim On scrambles for a first down. :56 left in Q2 and ‘Iolani calls timeout. Mowat goes low on Ide who just sits down on him, allowing him to go nowhere. Mowat double teamed on the next pass. :14 seconds left, no more timeouts. Got caught ball watching on the third down play but Jim On wasn’t pressured. Raiders will try a field goal. It’s good. 10-9 Ide.
Halftime notes: Maybe the most interesting Trench Warfare I’ve done this year. First, hats off to Devin Ide, who has done a tremendous job blocking for the Raiders. Lahainaluna’s strategy with Mowat is interesting. It’s basically to get low and try to push Ide back, but ‘Iolani has just been able to angle its runs right off of Mowat. Once he gets low and starts to crabwalk, there’s no lateral movement for him to make any plays, so unless he times it perfectly and does it right into the direct run, which he did twice, he’s unable to do much else. I thought Lahainaluna would go more to the four-man front on defense like it did when it stopped ‘Iolani for the first time but the Lunas seem content to go with three down linemen and occasionally bring a linebacker on a blitz.
Mowat eats up a double teams and plugs the middle for a negative-gain for ‘Iolani on the run. Mowat doubled on a pass outside. Third-and-9. Encroachment on Lahainaluna. Third-and-4. Mowat doubled again but tries a spin move and gets away. It’s too late as Jim On fires another pass for a first down. Ide tries to push Mowat away and go to block downfield but the running back trips over the back of Ide’s foot or else it would have been a big gain. Run up the middle as Mowat is handled easily. He almost looks deflated now. Third-and-3 and Ide doesn’t need help blocking Mowat on a pass outside for a first down. First-and-goal. Mowat with some push but goes to a knee as the running back races right past him for a TD. 10-9 Ide.
Ide tries to block Mowat one-on-one on a run up the middle but Mowat doesn’t move an inch and forces the tackle for loss. Mowat back to getting double teamed on the next play. False start on ‘Iolani. Third-and-18. Mowat doubled again but his teammates pick up the stop. Mowat’s play on first down the key to the three-and-out. 10-9 Mowat.
‘Iolani tries to pull tackle Kamuela Borden to block Mowat but he’s too slow and Mowat gobbles up a tackle. Mowat beats Ide and gets pressure. He can’t wrap up but the rest of the Lunas do. Third-and-8. Mowat stands up and tries to go speed around Ide but it’s a quick pass out wide and ‘Iolani picks up the first down. Mowat goes low and gets through three blocks to trip up the running block. OK, that crabwalk was awesome on that play, but again, only when ‘Iolani is content to just run clock and run up the middle. Mowat is sealed off by Ide on the next play for a nice run up the middle. Third-and-1. Mowat goes low to take up two blocks and the rest of the Lunas swarm in for the stop. Mowat doubled on the fourth-down reverse and the Raiders just pick it up. Mowat takes up the block from Ide and the blocking back on first down. Borden tries to come down and block on Mowat again but Mowat is too quick getting upfield. Still can’t adjust to block the back though. Third down. Crabwalk again. Ide sits down on it. Raiders have fourth down. Mowat doubled on pass over the middle. First down. Run up the middle is stopped by Mowat. Mpwat with the crabwalk and Ide pushes on top of him. An extra push from Ide draws a look from Mowat as the run is the far side of the field. Third down. Mowat crashed up the field and misses the running back. Fourth down run is stopped short. Lunas ball with 31 seconds remaining. 10-9 Mowat.
Final thoughts: The scorecards show Devin Ide and the Raiders winning five rounds to three and it probably wasn’t as close. The story of this game was ‘Iolani, not Lahainaluna, dominating in the trenches. A big part of that was the job Ide did to neutralize Mowat. With only three down linemen to worry about much of the time, ‘Iolani used its technique and blocking schemes to just thoroughly outmatch the Lunas at the point of attack. When it came time to pass block, ‘Iolani was up to the task as well, giving Jim On all day to fire away and finish a ridiculous 21-for-24.
PREVIOUS TRENCH WARFARES:
Oct. 4: Farrington’s Breiden Fehoko vs. Campbell’s Boss Tafai
Oct. 23: Mililani’s Rex Manu vs. Campbell’s Amosa brothers
Oct. 23: Campbell’s Josiah Mageo vs. Mililani’s Jordan Agasiva
Oct. 24: Punahou’s Canton Kaumatule vs. Saint Louis’ Fred Ulu-Perry
Oct. 24: Saint Louis’ Tanielu Evaimalo vs. Punahou’s Semisi Uluave
Oct. 31: Mililani’s Andru Tovi vs. Kahuku’s Salanoa-Alo Wily
Oct. 31: Kahuku’s Aleeki Vihimahi vs. Mililani’s Kaimana Padello
Nov. 7: Maui’s Logan Cabrera vs. Farrington’s Tatum Tanuvasa
Nov. 7 Hilo’s Kiliona Pomroy vs. Kahuku’s Siotame Uluave
Nov. 15: Mililani’s Rex Manu vs. Farrington’s Louis Matagi
Nov. 15: Farrington’s Breiden Fehoko vs. Mililani’s Derrick Fetui-Suapaia
Nov. 15: Punahou’s Canton Kaumatule vs. Kahuku’s Victor Tualau