A busted punt — too much penetration forced the punter to run on fourth and about 30 — led to a quick score by Kalani to open the game. Noah Brum’s lob to Trevor Yamashita in the end zone gave the visiting Falcons a 7-0 lead early.
Then came a shanked punt by Kalaheo and Kalani is driving again. The Falcons defense has bottled up Kalaheo’s prolific running back, Makena Johnston, so far. He broke about 85 yards to the end zone on a kickoff return, but it was called back by penalty.
Marc Teshima’s 20-yard field goal has Kalani ahead 10-0 with 6:19 to go in the first quarter. I’m expecting a scoring bonanza. But Johnston and several of the Mustangs play both ways. Big test.
A 24-yard field goal by Teshima ups Kalani’s lead to 13-0 with 3:15 left in the first quarter. Kalaheo’s fortunate it’s not 21-0.
Falcons recover a fumble at the Kalaheo 26-yard line, but Brum is sacked, and on the next play, Kalani’s whistled for a personal foul. The opportunities Kalani has gotten, I get the feeling these gifts won’t continue all night.
Third down, Brum sacked and fumbles. Kalaheo recovers at the Kalani 45.
Kalani misses another opportunity. Drive stalls at the Kalaheo 17 with a misfired pass on fourth and 2. Kalaheo dodging them bullets.
Just like that, Kalaheo is back in it. Makena Johnston eludes tacklers in the backfield, sidesteps another Falcon on the perimeter and goes about 85 yards to the end zone. It’s 13-7 with 10:27 left in the first half.
Falcons get a 3-yard touchdown run from Noah Kim after a nice post pass from Brum to Brandon Roberts. Kalani leads 20-7 with 8:15 left in the first half.
33-yard field goal by James Geren cuts Kalani’s lead to 20-10 with 4:36 to go in the half.
Brum scrambles and hits Yamashita for a first down at the Kalaheo 2. Kim scores up the middle on the next play for a Kalani touchdown. The 2-point pass from Brum to Enrique Gruver falls incomplete. Falcons lead 26-10 with 1:09 to go in the half.
Another Kalaheo fumble gives Kalani a short field. Brum finds Brandon Roberts on a screen and he cuts back for a 10-yard touchdown play. Kalani’s Blaise Manabe catches a pass from Brum and scores on a 2-point conversion, and it’s 34-10 with less than 11 minutes to go in the third.
A 65-yard bomb from Jack Bell to Shayde Spencer ends a scoring drought for Kalaheo, which hadn’t scored in … a long time. It’s 35-17 with 6:36 left. Interesting play by Kalaheo. Bell just dropped back and threw off his back foot., lofted it high and deep. Kalani playing a lot of reserves at this point, but still a nice play.
Makena Johnston not a factor tonight. Wish they’d thrown to him a lot more.
Final: Falcons 34, Mustangs 17. Kalaheo had opportunities to come back after its defense came up with stops in the first half, but the passing game never materialized. I’d love to see the development of their passing game from this point. Kalani took Johnston out of the offensive scheme for most of the night. Other defenses will likely duplicate the blueprint.
How Kalaheo gets the ball to Johnston the next time a defense clogs the running game, well, that’s going to be an interesting evolution. Kalani coach Greg Taguchi said they didn’t spy on Johnston, but everyone was aware of his presence.