In a prep preseason football game that occasionally looked like a giant water balloon fight, Hilo swashed its way to a 36-6 win over rival Waiakea on Friday night.
About 750 fans watched the wet-and-slippery contest on a mostly rainy night at Wong Stadium.
It was the season-opener for the Vikings (1-0) while the hustling Warriors (0-2) dropped their second straight preseason encounter.
Hilo quarterback Donavan Kelley ran for one touchdown and passed for another, and teammate Hunter Macabio returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score to lead the explosive Viking offense, which carried a 21-0 advantage into the half.
Kelley, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound junior, threw a 14-yard TD pass to Macabio with 2:34 left in the first quarter to give the host Vikings a 6-0 lead. Then senior Rayce Takayesu drilled the first of his four extra-point kicks in the hard-fought game.
Kelley finished with 76 yards rushing on six attempts, but he was held in check in the second half by the fired-up Waiakea defense. He also completed 5 of 8 passes for 39 yards and had one intercepted, by Warrior Tysen Pasco-Brown in the fourth quarter.
Lapilio had 66 yards in blue-collar 21 carries.
Rodrigues and Picano hooked up on two other pass completions in the fourth quarter to spark the Waiakea offense, which primarily runs through the high-energy Preston on most plays. If the Warriors can be successful passing the ball, it could make Preston even more difficult to stop with a balanced attack.
Preston, a 5-10 1/2, 185-pounder, finished the evening with 131 yards on 21 carries.
Hilo finished with 179 yards rushing and 39 passing for 218 total yards. Waiakea had 139 yards rushing and 70 passing for 244 total yards.
But it was more of the Vikings’ effectiveness on offense in building a 21-0 halftime lead and a stingy defense that played a vital role in the lopsided victory. The Warriors were also hurt by their turnovers — five overall — and the visitors recovered three of their own fumbles.
Hilo played without some key players due to academic issues and was flagged for one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and two personal fouls. If the Vikings hope to challenge perennial Division I powerhouse Kealakehe this season for the league title, they’ll have to clean up some things and stay more disciplined to reach their potential.
In junior-varsity action, Hilo topped Waiakea 13-0.