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BIIF football playoffs: Batacan makes believers in Kamehameha’s rout of Honokaa

October 26, 2014 - 1:29am

KEAAU — Even the smallest lions have the same size heart as the rest of the kings of the jungle, and so it is for Kamehameha junior Kaeo Batacan.

The 5-foot-5, 140-pound speedster running back doesn’t look all that imposing up close. The only thing bigger than his stature is his megawatt smile.

But get a football in his hands and give him the slightest hole, and Batacan becomes a tenacious weapon with his speed, field savvy and arsenal of cutback moves.

In the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II semifinals against Honokaa on Friday night at Paiea Stadium, Batacan had one of those golden games he’ll remember forever.

He rushed for 130 yards on just seven carries, and scored two touchdowns to spark the Warriors over the Dragons 48-7 and into the BIIF championship against a familiar foe.

“My vision and my line were good,” Batacan said. “They made blocks, gave me big holes and I’d hit the hole hard to get to the secondary.”

Kamehameha (6-2) will host three-time defending champion Konawaena (7-2) at 7 p.m. either Friday or Saturday for the BIIF crown. It’s the third time in four years the two rivals will square off for the title.

In the first quarter, Batacan had touchdown runs of 11 and 70 yards, the latter a nice piece of teamwork, especially from his offensive line and convoy of downfield blocking receivers.

First, Batacan got solid interior blocking, especially from lineman Pono Davis who pulled to open a hole, then bounced outside where receiver Alapaki Iaea’s blue wall provided a clear lane down the sideline.

After that first-quarter score, it was 14-0 and pretty much smooth sailing from there for the Warriors, who last won the BIIF crown in 2010 against HPA .

Kamehameha racked up 447 yards of offense, including 262 on the ground.

During the early part of the season, Batacan was in the running back rotation, and got carries here and there. Then his consistent production earned him the starter’s role.

“He’s got great vision and he’s really learning to follow his blockers,” Kamehameha coach Dan Lyons said. “We’ve got a number of great running backs (senior Chase Peneku and junior Noah Ah Chong), but he’s the leader of the stable.

“Kaeo’s got a great attitude, work ethic and he’s always got a smile on his face.”

Kamehameha quarterback Micah Kanehailua was his usual effective self. He was 13 of 23 for 185 yards with two touchdowns and a harmless interception.

The senior also showed off his wheels on a few read-option runs. He had three carries for 38 yards and TD runs of 11 and 4 yards on bootlegs.

Kanehailua spread the ball around, feeding six receivers. Grant Shiroma led the way with two catches for 62 yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Warriors held the Dragons to just 146 yards. Kamehameha’s defense racked up six sacks with Davis recording a pair.

Iaea and David Kalili had picks. Warriors senior defensive lineman Kamakalea Akiona got into the scoring act with a fumble recovery in the end zone in the third quarter.

After coming out in a three-set backfield to open the game, the Dragons changed to the spread, much like Kamehameha’s offense, but had problems in pass protection — a major reason for the six sacks.

“Pono also got a lot of pressure and made tackles,” Lyons said. “Bubba (Akiona) did excellent. I liked his energy and effort. He did really good.”

The Warriors piled up 297 yards of offense in the first half, and held the Dragons to just 34 yards, including negative 64 yards on the ground.

Honokaa 0 0 7 0 — 7

Kamehameha 14 14 13 7 — 48

First quarter

KSH — Kaeo Batacan 11 run (Preston Kalai kick), 8:22

KSH — Batacan 70 run (Kalai kick), 3:30

Second quarter

KSH — Micah Kanehailua 11 run (Kalai kick), 2:21

KSH — Bayley Manliguis 45 pass from Kanehailua (Kalai kick), :14

Third quarter

KSH — Grant Shiroma 47 pass from Kanehailua (Kalai kick), 11:36

KSH — Kamakalea Akiona fumble recovery end zone (kick failed), 9:44

Hon — Paul Purdy 74 pass from Nainoa Falk (Preston Branco kick), 6:01

Fourth quarter

KSH — Kanehailua 4 run (Kalai kick), 10:54

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