Tiger Sharks denied in debut
WAILUKU – Kihei Charter School took the field for its first-ever football game Thursday night with only six of its 21 players having competed in the sport previously.
It had the makings of a blowout, but the Tiger Sharks hung tough in a 33-24 loss to St. Anthony in a nonleague eight-player game before about 200 fans at War Memorial Stadium.
“We’ve been trying to get a football team at Kihei Charter a couple times now and to see it become a reality we went out and played our hearts out and had a lot of fun,” said quarterback Payton Wagner, whose team will begin official Maui Interscholastic League play next month.
Grayson Nolette and Koltyn Russel each rushed for two touchdowns for the Trojans, who finished 0-5 in the MIL last season.
“We’re pretty young ourselves,” said St. Anthony coach Alika Delos Santos. “We got baptized last year and I know what we had this year. Our kids came out, played hard and did what I wanted.”
The first touchdown in Tiger Sharks history came on a 21-yard pass from Wagner to Dakota Littlefield, who made a juggling catch at the goal line with 5 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first quarter to cut the Trojans’ lead to 13-6.
“That was a great play. He doesn’t play a lot of receiver, but when he came in I told him I was going to get him a touchdown catch and we made it happen,” Wagner said.
Littlefield, who usually plays linebacker, said: “I ran out, the quarterback said his leg gave out on him right when he threw it, so it was a wobbly pass and I just jumped up for it. The guy tipped it and I just focused. I had to try and bring it down.”
The Trojans, who suited up only 15 players, rushed 17 times for 156 yards and four scores in the first half. Nolette scored on a 52-yard option-keeper on the third play from scrimmage and added a 13-yard score in the second quarter. Russell scored on a 23-yard run, and later from a yard out.
St. Anthony went ahead 26-6 early in the second quarter on Nolette’s second touchdown run, but Kihei Charter’s Spencer Archuleta scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak on fourth down with 5:47 left before halftime and Justice Crozier caught a 14-yard scoring pass with 3:58 remaining.
The Tiger Sharks weren’t afraid to take chances. They attempted a fake punt from their own 34 on their first possession, but did not convert, went for a fourth-and-1 from their own 40 and faked two extra-point attempts.
In the third quarter, Kihei Charter lined up for a 26-yard field-goal try, but a slow snap led to a block – St. Anthony’s Colby Tam scooped up the ball and returned it 82 yards for a score, which made it 33-18 with 8:07 left.
“That was all because of my line,” Tam said. “The line got the block and I just picked up the ball and started running. During the game I caught cramps so I was just pushing through and see if I could get to the end zone and lucky thing I did.”
Tam finished with three sacks, ran six times for 48 yards and caught an 8-yard pass.
Kihei Charter also had a punt blocked, and was unable to get another punt away, leading to a tackle for loss.
The Tiger Sharks capped the scoring on an 8-yard reception by Quentin Sweeney from Wagner with 8:41 remaining in the game.
St. Anthony iced the win by recovering a lost snap by Kihei Charter with 1:48 to go.
The Tigers Sharks finished with a 270-211 advantage in yardage.
“We didn’t give up and we’re looking forward to next week. We have a few things to iron out,” said Kihei Charter coach James Sparke.
Remy de Rochemonty ran 20 times for 127 yards for the Tigers Sharks and Wagner threw for 105 yards.
“It’s a trying process,” Sparke said. “We had to take it a step at a time because these are young men who don’t know the game of football. But it’s coming and we’re looking for improvement week by week.”
* Kyle Sakamoto is at firstname.lastname@example.org
SA-Grayson Nolette 52 run (Kei Sakai kick), 11:04
SA-Koltyn Russell 23 run (kick blocked), 7:18
KC-Dakota Littlefield 21 pass from Payton Wagner (kick failed), 5:46
SA-Russell 1 run (kick blocked), 11:24
SA-Nolette 13 run (Sakai kick), 9:42
KC-Spencer Archuleta 1 run (run failed), 5:47
KC-Justice Crozier 14 pass from Wagner (run failed), 3:58
SA-Colby Tam 82 blocked field goal return (Sakai kick), 8:07
KC-Quentin Sweeney 8 pass from Wagner (run failed), 8:41
RUSHING-Kihei Charter, Remy de Roche-monty 20-127, Jake Lasater 19-68, Wagner 5-0, Archuleta 2-(-5), Littlefield 2-(-6), team 2-(-19). St. Anthony, Russell 9-79, Nolette 12-77, Tam 6-48, Jake Gage 2-3, Sam Wyner 1-(minus 5), team 2-(-11).
PASSING-Kihei Charter, Wagner 9-25-0-105; Nolette 12-77. St. Anthony, Nolette 5-7-0-20.
RECEIVING-Kihei Charter, Littlefield 2-31, Archuleta 2-29, Sweeney 2-19, Crozier 2-18, de Rochemonty 1-8. St. Anthony, Sakai 2-6, Tam 1-8,Gage 1-6, Colin McGee 1-0.