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HHSAA football: Kanehailua leads Kamehameha to historic win over Nanakuli

November 9, 2014 - 12:05am

KEAAU — The Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II champion Kamehameha Warriors have talked about taking steps towards their goals all season, and Saturday night the Warriors took a giant leap into the history books, knocking off OIA champion and formerly undefeated Nanakuli 42-20 in the opening round of the HHSAA Division II tournament at Paiea Stadium.

The win is just the third for the BIIF at the state tournament, and a first-ever for Kamehameha. The Big Island now has an overall record of 3-29 at states, with the other two wins belonging to HPA (2004, ’09).

“This win is just another step, but a historic step,” Kamehameha head coach Dan Lyons said. “It validates all the preparation and hard work everyone put in leading up to this. We weren’t perfect today by any means, but it is a great win.”

Kamehameha will play top seed Lahainaluna in a 6 p.m. game Saturday at War Memorial Stadium on Maui.

Senior quarterback Micah Kanehailua finished his final home game for the Warriors 13 of 30 for 190 yards and three touchdowns — two to Bayley Manliguis. He also added 18 yards and a score on the ground. His only blemish was a harmless interception late in the first half that came on a tipped pass.

“This feels amazing,” Kanehailua said. “It’s crazy how hard we had to work to get to this point, and it feels that much better to know we are making history.”

For Kamehameha (8-2), it has not been a flawless season. The Warriors suffered a crushing overtime loss to Hilo early in the year, and then were handed a shocking upset against HPA. But the team learned from those defeats and have now reeled off five straight wins.

“We needed those loses so we could get back on track and get in the right mindset so we knew that we had what it takes to make history for ourselves, our team, our school and our league,” Kanehailua said.

The 42 points put up by Kamehameha is the most against Nanakuli this season, but Kanehailua was quick to credit his stingy defense for holding the high-powered Hawks’ offense to just 20 points.

“These past few weeks, the defense has stepped up big time for us,” Kanehailua said. “They made stops when they needed to, forced turnovers and just put out an incredible performance.”

Wayne Amps Nurial Dacalio led Kamehameha with six tackles, while two-way lineman Pono Davis disrupted the Golden Hawks backfield, recording four tackles and a sack. Preston Kalai and Grant Shiroma each had first quarter interceptions.

“(Nanakuli’s) offense does a lot of stuff we do, so our defense got a chance to see what that offense would look like in practice,” Lyons said.

While the Hawks hung around until the fourth quarter, the Warriors only trailed early.

Nanakuli forced a punt and then swiftly drove the ball down the field on its first possession, concluding with a 2-yard scamper from Makaila Haina-Horswill into the end zone.

Less than two minutes later, Kanehailua scored on a 5-yard read option keeper. An extra point from Shiroma put the Warriors up 7-6.

“I didn’t think we took advantage of a lot of things we could had on our first series,” Lyons said. “But what I was really happy with was that we came right back after they scored. It just rolled from there.”

Kanehailua’s great running ability has only been demonstrated on occasion, and steadily increased as the season progressed. Lyons said it’s by design.

“In the beginning, we did not want him to run. It was a give or pass option on those reads,” Lyons said, citing injury concerns. “But then as the season progressed we let him run a little, but told him not to do the Johnny Manziel thing. Just run, get down, or get out of bounds.”

Kanehailua ran just eight times against the Golden Hawks, but the threat he showed on the Warriors’ first scoring drive kept the defense honest, opening holes for the backs. Kaeo Batacan had two touchdowns, and combined with Chase Peneku for 147 yards on the ground.

The Warriors added to their first-quarter lead with a 33-yard strike from Kanehailua to Manliguis, set up by Kalai’s interception. But Nanakuli remained in striking distance after Haina-Horswill turned the corner and ran 44 yards down the sideline.

Haina-Horswill only managed to get to the corner a few times against the Warriors, but took advantage when he did. He also rushed for an 83-yard score, and the speedy senior racked up 149 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

The teams combined for 48 first-half points, but some heavy rain cooled off the offensive fireworks. Easy completions turned into drops, bad snaps became commonplace and neither offense could get on track.

“We got into a part of the game where we could not run the ball,” said Lyons. “We are a spread offense that has to run the ball. If we don’t run the ball, we get stymied, especially in weather like we had today.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Kamehameha put the game away in the fourth with two touchdown strikes from Kanehailua within a 67 seconds span — one each to Manliguis and Shiroma.

Nanakuli quarterback Kale Kanehailua — Micah’s cousin — completed 11 of 31 passes for 115 yards with two interceptions.

“We were head to head in stats and they had an undefeated season coming into this game,” said Micah Kanehailua. “That is hard to do that and I commend him and all the guys on the Nanakuli side for doing that. They played a great game tonight, but it’s just how it goes.”

Nanakuli 13 7 0 0 — 20

Kamehameha 21 7 0 14 — 42

First quarter

Nan — Makaila Haina-Horswil 2 run (kick failed)

KSH — Micah Kanehailua 5 run (Grant Shiroma kick)

KSH — Bayley Manliguis 33 pass from Kanehailua (Shiroma kick)

Nan — Haina-Horswil 44 run (Clifford Cunningham kick)

KSH — Kaeo Bacatan 15 run (Preston Kalai kick)

Second quarter

KSH — Bacatan 9 run (Kalai kick)

Nan — Haina-Horswil 83 run (Cunningham kick)

Fourth quarter

KSH — Shiroma 41 pass from Kanehailua (Kalai kick)

KSH — Manliguis 15 pass from Kanehailua (Kalai kick)

Kapaa 30, Pearl City 22

Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion Kapaa (7-0) rallied for 16 unanswered third quarter points, downing OIA runner-up Pearl City (8-3) Friday in a HHSAA tournament first-round game at Vidinha Stadium on Kauai.

Kapaa advances to take on seven-time Division II champion Iolani at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 15.

The Warriors threw the ball just eight times for 30 yards, but the running game picked up the slack. Kapaa’s ground attack picked up 204 yards, half of those coming from senior back Shaine Davis, who also had two scores.

Pearl City quarterback Jordan Taamu put on an impressive performance, passing for 256 yards and rushing for 78, but it would not be enough to keep the Chargers’ season alive.

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