Still in control
A Kealakehe ground game that continued to rip off yardage in chunks and a defense that made timely plays was just enough to offset Hilo quarterback Drew Kell’s prolific passing performance.
Senior Lennox Jones ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, leading a running attack that piled up 434 yards as the Waveriders defeated the Vikings 43-29 Saturday at Waverider Stadium.
Senior fullback David Fangupo ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, while Kealakehe quarterback Jordan Cristobal, bottled up for much of the night, finished with 112 yards — 55 came on a touchdown run that put the game away with 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining — on 18 carries.
Just before Cristobal’s touchdown run, Kell had thrown an 84-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Donovan Kelley on a go route down the right sideline, bringing the Vikings (1-1 Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I, 2-2 overall) within 36-29.
However, Cristobal followed with his touchdown run, and senior Kyler O’Halloran picked off Kell’s next pass on Hilo’s next drive, sealing the game for the Waveriders (2-0, 4-1).
Kell finished the game 22-of-33 for 405 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Hilo also turned the ball over on downs, and the second of its two fumbles helped keep Kealakehe in control of a game the Waveriders never trailed.
The Vikings got within 22-15 with 3 minutes left in the first quarter when a snap sailed over punter Fangupo’s head and into the end zone for a safety.
However, a bad exchange between Kell and Kelley on a pitch led to a fumble senior linebacker Keoni Schweitzer scooped up and returned 36 yards to the Hilo 7-yard line.
Then Jones, who later limped off the field and did not return after a fourth-quarter carry, dropped a handoff from Cristobal but still scored on a 7-yard touchdown run for a 29-15 Kealakehe lead.
On the Waveriders’ next drive, Jones churned out 28- and 23-yard runs, with the second being the last of his three touchdowns.
Junior Keoni Yates, the team’s starting kicker and safety, also did not return after suffering an injury late in the second quarter. Yates rushed for 41 yards and a touchdown on four carries.
On the ground, Kealakehe did lose three fumbles — Vikings junior linebacker Isi Holani recovered all of them — and Cristobal, who finished 3-of-5 for 19 yards, threw one interception.
The turnovers and Kell’s passing allowed Hilo to stay in the game early.
The junior picked the Waveriders’ pass defense apart during a 16-play, 80-yard drive that ate up almost 6 minutes in the second quarter, completing 6 of 9 passes for 76 yards before scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run.
But Vikings kicker Chris Torrison missed the extra point because of a bad snap, leaving the Waveriders in front at 14-13.
Earlier in the game, Kealakehe, which had a first-and-goal at the Viking 7, botched a snap that Holani recovered.
Hilo capitalized four plays later, when Kelley ran under a beautifully thrown pass from Kell on a go route down the left sideline, catching the ball at midfield before sprinting into the end zone untouched.
Kelley had nine receptions for 228 yards, while Makalii Kahumoku-Jose caught five passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Hilo 7 6 2 14 — 29
Kealakehe 7 15 7 14 — 43
Keal — Lennox Jones 40 run (Keoni Yates kick), 5:12
Hilo — Donovan Kelley 79 pass from Drew Kell (Chris Torrison kick), 2:01
Keal — Yates 21 run (Yates kick), 8:55
Hilo — Kell 4 run (kick failed), 2:57
Keal — David Fangupo 2 run (Fangupo run), 44.1
Hilo — Safety, punt snap into the end zone, 3:00
Keal — Jones 7 run (Jones kick), 1:38
Keal — Jones 23 run (Jones kick), 6:45
Hilo — Makalii Kahumoku-Jose 6 pass from Kell (Kell run), 4:59
Hilo — Kelley 84 pass from Kell (run failed), 1:49
Keal — Jordan Cristobal 55 run (Fangupo kick), 1:34
Follow Joe Ferraro on Twitter (@jf_hawaiisports)