Posted: November 5, 2011 - 7:17am
'Goose egg' is golden for Red Raiders' prideful defense
Rashaan Falemalu and the Kahuku defense limited Farrington RB Tyler Taumua to just 24 yards on 13 carries. Greg Yamamoto | SL
And for most of those title runs, a staunch Red Raiders defense has been the cornerstone.
Last night's stunning 23-0 shutout of Farrington was no exception, and in fact may be the pinnacle of that tradition considering the vaunted rushing attack they stopped cold.
The Governors featured the state's leading rusher, junior tailback Tyler Taumua, as well as fellow running backs Tavale Masalosalo and Abraham Silva behind a monstrous offensive line that had paved the way for an average of 275.4 yards per game.
Farrington also has one of the state's premier receivers in senior Toma Barrett, and led the state in total offense with 380.8 ypg.
But last night, the Govs were held to 131 total yards -- including just 33 on the ground -- and most importantly, zero points.
"Some kids talked about putting up the goose egg, and we knew they could do it, but we didn't want to put pressure on them," said Kimo Haiola, Kahuku's defensive coordinator. "They wanted to do it."
It was an impressive performance from start to finish.
Farrington's first four possessions resulted in punts, with only two first downs to show for it. On the Governors' fifth series, they advanced to the Red Raiders' 31-yard line but fumbled a handoff and Kahuku defensive back Mason Kuali'i-Moe recovered.
Farrington's next and last possession of the half ended in a three-and-out, and the Red Raiders were able to cling to a 3-0 lead at the break.
The Govs' best drive of the night was their first of the second half, when they marched 38 yards in seven plays to the Kahuku 23. But on fourth-and-5, linebacker Rashaan Falemalu sacked quarterback Travis Tamapua and forced a fumble that was recovered by Benneton Fonua.
Bronson Beatty ended Farrington's next series with an interception, and after another three-and-out in the fourth quarter Beatty sealed the game with another pick.
"It was a great team effort, all 11 guys swarming to the ball," Red Raiders coach Reggie Torres said. "We were able to contain their running game, and when you play team defense, you can do that. With 11 guys, they each have their own responsibility, and when they all do their job, they become whole."
Taumua, who entered the night averaging 154.6 rushing yards per game, finished just 24 on 13 carries.
Kahuku also played tight man coverage on Barrett and limited him to 33 yards receiving on four catches.
"They wanted to play press (coverage), even though he burned them a couple times before," Haiola said of his cornerbacks. "So we said OK. We take what they can do and fit it into our scheme."
Senior defensive lineman Mark Sauvao said the plan worked almost to perfection.
"We took away the inside (run) and forced them to go outside, and our linebackers made all the plays," Sauvao said. "On pass plays, when our DBs give us good coverage, that lets us go up and make the sack. It's team defense -- it doesn't matter who gets to make the tackle, as long as the tackle gets made."
Governors coach Randall Okimoto said the Red Raiders' execution was just as important as the scheme.
"They just made the right tackles at the right time," Okimoto said. "Give them credit -- they made the most of their opportunities, and we didn't."
After missing the chance to play in last year's OIA championship game due to a last-minute discovery of an ineligible player, Kahuku was not about to let last night's opportunity slip away.
"This feels great, not just for us, but for the community and for the seniors last year," Sauvao said. "They came to talk to us before the game, and that gave us motivation and put us in the right mindset. This was for the Red Raiders, all the way around."