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Pop Warner: Leeward Steelers get thrilling double-OT win

Updated: 
November 10, 2017 - 12:05am

KAILUA-KONA — The saying “defense wins championships” couldn’t have rang more true than in the Big Island Pop Warner Pee Wee Championship between the Leeward Steelers and Hamakua Cougars, held last weekend at Keaau High School.

After battling to a scoreless tie for four quarters, it took double-overtime for the Steelers to finally break the scoring drought, finding the end zone on a read option run from Zedekiah Anahu-Ambrosio to win 6-0.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game because Hamakua is a well-rounded and disciplined team,” Leeward Steelers coach Hezekiah Anahu-Ambrosio said. “They were bigger and stronger than us but our speed and intelligence played a factor in the double OT win.”

Appropriately, it was a turnover that gave the Steelers a chance to win in the second overtime. Danyon Ascino-Kalahiki came on a blitz and caused a fumble, recovered by Keanu Cerezo inside the Steelers 10-yard line. The Steelers looked like they would squander the opportunity, but on fourth down Zedekiah Anahu-Ambrosio broke a 12-yard run to get a new set of downs. A few plays later, Anahu-Ambrosio busted into the end zone to seal the victory.

The coach said it was a full team effort, ignited by some hard running from Anahu-Ambrosio, Kainoa Kamehaiku, Keawe Navas-Loa and Shaden Ako, as well as Cerezo and Alika Rigaud for setting the tone up front on the offensive line.

“I give the credit to dedication of our coaches and leadership from our organization,” Hezekiah Anahu-Ambrosio said “I am very proud of the kids hard work and sacrifice they showed throughout this whole season.”

The win earned the Steelers — who have won three consecutive Big Isle titles — a right to play for the Hawaii Pee Wee Regional Championship against the Kaneohe Knights of Oahu. The game will be played on Saturday at noon at Old Kona Airport Park. On the line is a trip to Florida for the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

There will be three other games that day, including a championship game between the Leeward Steelers JV 8’s and Kau, the 11 JV championship game between the Keaukaha Warriors and the Kohala Chargers, and a JV 11 third and fourth place game between Panaewa Aliis and Waiakea Nakoas. The action starts at 8 a.m.

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