King Kekaulike snaps skid
PUKALANI – This one was sweet.
On homecoming night Friday in front of a packed house at King Kekaulike Stadium, Na Alii gave their fans a 36-31 win over Kamehameha Maui in a game that took more than 3 1/2 hours to play after a 37-point fourth quarter.
“Big, big win, absolutely,” said first-year King Kekaulike coach Kyle Sanches. “Kamehameha is a tough team, they have showed that they can come from behind multiple times this year.”
Na Alii appeared to put the final touches on the opening game of the Maui Interscholastic League schedule’s second round when Kawika Homalon broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run with 68 seconds to play while trying to run out the clock to make it 36-24.
Ikaika Chong Kee’s 4-yard scoring run had pulled Kamehameha within six points 44 seconds earlier. The Warriors scored one final time on a 35-yard pass from Chase Newton to Keoni Keanini with six seconds left.
“That was not a surprise,” San-ches said. “They have tough kids, but we are very senior-heavy and it is nice to have a lot of these kids, have them go out with a win on their night.”
King Kekaulike (1-4 overall in the MIL) had not won an MIL game since Oct. 12, 2012, when it beat Kamehameha Maui. Na Alii had lost six straight league games, and 16 of their last 17.
The Warriors (1-4 overall) won this season’s first meeting between the teams 29-0 on Aug. 24.
Kamehameha was playing without head coach Cody Nakamura, who was suspended for one game by the school after an incident in the Warriors’ last game, a 27-14 loss to Maui High. Nakamura was involved in a collision on the sideline with Maui High’s Andre Pierman.
“Wild ballgame, our kids don’t give up, that’s one thing we can say about our kids,” said acting Kamehameha co-head coach Jordan Helle. “That’s one thing coach Cody has instilled in these kids. I think it was weighing heavy on their hearts and I think they played for (Nakamura) tonight.”
Na Alii went in front 20-10 on a 1-yard run by Homalon in the third quarter and made the score 27-10 on a 62-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Christian Garcia Alvarez with 9:59 to play.
Kamehameha’s Ian Armitage scored on a 6-yard run with 6:50 to play, and the Warriors then forced a punt. A pass by Newton tipped off his receiver, however, and Na Alii’s Reid Yonamine intercepted and returned it 14 yards – a personal foul on Kamehameha at the end of the play moved the ball to the 26-yard line. Ryley Widell’s 36-yard field goal made it 30-17 with 3:23 left.
Both teams piled up more than 100 yards in penalties – King Kekaulike had 12 infractions for 106 yards, while Kamehameha Maui had nine for 119 yards.
Na Alii bettered the 10 points they scored in the first round of MIL play with two touchdowns in the first seven minutes of the game – both times having short fields set up by punt mistakes by the Warriors.
The first time a short snap to Kamehameha punter Zachery Romero led to the kick being blocked by a host of King Kekaulike players at the Warriors’ 25-yard line. Widell hit Brandon Haupu for a touchdown pass on the next play.
Na Alii forced a three-and-out series on the ensuing possession and the next punt snap sailed over the head of Romero for a 29-yard loss to the 2. After a penalty, Jay Braun ran through the middle and scored on a 6-yard run.
Kamehameha got on the scoreboard when it built a 65-yard, 20-play drive – the longest possession, by plays, in the MIL this season – that ended with a 27-yard field goal by Kailoa Akoi. During the march, Joshua Hiwatashi grabbed a tipped pass out of the air for 22 yards and a first down at the King Kekaulike 35-yard line.
After Na Alii’s Micah McDonald missed a 52-yard field goal try, the Warriors cut the deficit to 14-10 on an 80-yard, seven-play drive capped by Newton’s pretty timing pass to Colton Cabanas in the deep left corner of the end zone. Newton was 3-for-4 passing on the drive for 69 yards and ran twice for 20 yards.
Na Alii missed three field goals in the first half, McDonald’s tries from 40 and 52 yards and Widell’s try from 55 on the final play of the half.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Kamehameha Maui ….. 0 ….. 10 ….. 0 ….. 21-31
King Kekaulike ………. 14 ……. 0 ….. 6 ….. 16-36
KK-Brandon Haupu 25 pass from Ryley Widell (Micah McDonald kick), 7:02.
KK-Jay Braun 6 run ( McDonald kick), 5:16.
KM-Kailoa Akoi 27 FG, 10:44.
KM-Colton Cabanas 25 pass from Chase Newton (Akoi kick), 3:52.
KK-Kawika Homalon 1 run (kick failed), 6:31.
KK-Christian Garcia Alvarez 62 fumble return (McDonald kick), 9:59.
KM-Ian Armitage 6 run (Akoi kick), 6:50.
KK-Widell 36 FG, 3:23.
KM-Ikaika Chong Kee 4 run (Akoi kick), 1:52.
KK-Kawika Homalon 45 run (run failed), 1:08.
KM-Koeni Keanini 35 pass from Newton (Akoi kick), 0:06.
* * *
Junior varsity-King Kekaulike 48, Kamehameha Maui 13.