Posted: November 3, 2011 - 11:45pm
Farrington, Kahuku ready for big showdown
Travis Tamapua and the Govs take on the Red Raiders in a rematch of OIA Red East powers. ScoringLive file photo
If a mere PAT is the difference between Farrington and Kahuku, ranked first and second, respectively, in the ScoringLive/OC16 Power Rankings, then this should be an epic game.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. and the game will be aired on OC16 and ESPN 1500 AM.
The Governors (10-0 handed the Red Raiders (9-1) their only blemish of the season in a 14-13 regular-season win on Oct. 1. That snapped Farrington's 12-game losing streak to Kahuku dating to 2003.
The Red Raiders have been a nemesis of the Governors over the years. Kahuku is 8-1 against Farrington in postseason, 0-2 in championship games. Their last meeting in 2008, Kahuku won, 22-19, in double overtime. Kahuku's last title was 2009; Farrington's in 1990.
Moreover, the Red Raiders have something to prove. Their season ended in turmoil a year ago, when they forfeited the championship game to Mililani, as well as two other playoff wins, for using an ineligible player. That denied Kahuku the opportunity to become the winningest championship team since 1970, when the league first started the title game. Waianae and Kahuku each have won the title 15 times since then.
The teams are similar.
Both have high-powered, yet elusive running backs. Farrington's Tyler Taumua and Kahuku's Aofaga Wily are like their teams: ranked first and second in Division I in rushing. Aofaga missed four games because of injuries, thus the 500 or so yards difference in their rushing totals. There's no finesse when it comes to running the ball with these teams, as both teams have linemen that pave paths to the end zone.
Farrington throws the ball a little better with QB Travis Tamapua, yet Kahuku reached this game because of a touchdown pass by Lasi Livai in last week's semifinal against Leilehua.
Their defenses are quick and athletic. Neither lets its opponents into the end zone often. Kahuku's defense hasn't given up more than two touchdowns in a game this season. In last week's semifinal win against Campbell, the Sabers were the first to score three offensive TDs against Farrington.
Both teams have secured Division I state tournament berths. The winner will get a first-round bye.
Campbell vs. Leilehua, 6 p.m. Saturday at Hugh Yoshida Stadium
In another rematch of the regular season, the No. 3 Mules (8-1-1) will host the No. 5 Sabers (8-2) for third place. Leilehua beat Campbell, 32-13, during the regular season in Wahiawa.
The winner gets the OIA's third and final Division I state berth, so a lot is at stake for teams coming off emotional close losses to the teams playing for the championship.
The Mules and Sabers ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in offensive yardage in Division I. Leilehua has a more prolific passing game with the veteran Kenan Sadanaga, who is second in D1 with 2,536 yards and first with 33 TDs. But he has been vulnerable to the interception having thrown nine in his last four games and 17 overall. Kahuku contained him in the pocket, making it hard for the 5-foot-7 left-hander to see through his blockers and on-rushing defensive players.
The Sabers' offense is a little more balanced between running and passing. Campbell has employed two QBs all season, though junior left-hander Justin Tago-Su'e has taken majority of the reps. Sophomore right-hander Isaac Hurd is a first-year varsity player, but the Sabers don't lose a step when he's in the game.
Both teams use finesse running, using an assortment of misdirection plays because of their smaller, but quicker runners. Neither has a rusher in the top 22 in D1.
Both teams have quick defenses that can create turnovers. Leilehua safety Russell Siavii has five interceptions in the playoffs. He returned an interception for a TD against Campbell earlier in the season. Sabers' safety Joshua Torres has six interceptions and cornerback Jyrelle Umali has three, returning one for a TD against Farrington. Romelo Wilson also has three picks for Campbell.
The Mules have an edge in the kicking game, as Tim Momiyama has six field goals and routinely starts opponents from their 20-yard line on kickoffs.
In JV championships at 2 p.m. Saturday, Farrington will travel to Waianae for the Red title, while Pearl City will host Waipahu for the White.