Posted: August 11, 2012 - 8:24pm
Iolani outlasts Konawaena, 43-40
It was Iolani's and Konawaena's first game of the prep football season, yet they played it like the state title was on the line.
Quarterback Reece Foy completed 15 of 23 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner with two minutes, 19 seconds left, to rally Iolani past Konawaena, 43-40, Saturday in the 49th annual Father Bray Classic at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.
This one was indeed a classic, perhaps a preview of the Division II state championship.
The Raiders had a 36-21 lead with 5:12 left in the third quarter after Jordan Genovia's 30-yard field goal. But the Wildcats scored three consecutive TDs, two on TD passes from Kahoalii Karratti to Dominic Morris, to take a 40-36 lead with 4:40 left. An interception by Mikey Rabara off backup Easton Tsubata helped set up the Wildcats' third score, a three-yard TD run by RB Bubba Ellis-Noa.
But Foy, who gave way to Tsubata on Iolani's two previous series, returned and marched the Raiders on a six-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 21-yard TD pass to Chase Kanekuni, who broke a tackle at the 5 and made a necessary and legitimate dive into the end zone to put the Raiders up.
Konawaena took over from its 30 after the ensuing kickoff, but its drive died at its 45 with 46 seconds left. Iolani ran one play to run out the clock.
It was a heart-breaker for the Wildcats, who had a number of two-way players and felt the fatigue as the game was stopped numerous times because of injuries. On one play, three Konawaena players were down. But they kept going at the Raiders.
"When we came in here, I said there's only one thing I want: When I finish the game, I want to make sure every player fights to the very end," Konawaena coach Cliff Walters said. "That's all we ask. This early in the season - we haven't even had a scrimmage, yet - we had a few boys left at home. But the guys that we had here tonight fought. We kept putting guys out there that were sophomores and freshmen, trying to get them to go. They fought all the way down the line. It came close."
"They're scrappy," Iolani coach Wendell Look said of the Wildcats. "They had guys going down left and right, but they kept getting up. You cannot knock them out. They took a lot of shots and kept getting up. You have to give them credit."
But Foy, a senior, displayed the kind of poise expected from a veteran. He connected with Kanekuni twice in Iolani's last scoring drive. The first was a 15-yarder on a second-and-14 and the 21-yard TD pass four plays later.
"Reece has been around, he knows how to make plays," Look said.
Kanekuni and Chad Hanaoka each had six receptions for 130 and 91 yards, respectively. Hanaoka had two TD catches and Yuuya Kato had one.
His counterpart, Karratti completed 12 of 24 passes for 216 yards and two TDs to Morris, who had six catches for 131 yards.
Iolani took the opening kickoff and scored quickly on a one-yard TD run by RB Kody Mento. Genovia missed the PAT to keep it 6-0.
The Wildcats scored on their first play from scrimmage on a 69-yard run by RB John Kamoku and Kenan Gasper's PAT put the Wildcats ahead, 7-6, with 9:06 left in the first quarter. The Raiders appeared to have misjudged Kamoku's speed as the defenders all had poor angles of pursuit on the play.
"Defensively, we didn't click," Look said. "But we'll get better."
Iolani regained the lead, 13-7, on Foy's 20-yard TD pass to Hanaoka. But the Wildcats took it back, 14-13, with 1:27 left in the first quarter on a one-yard TD run by Bubba Ellis-Noa.
Iolani took a 20-14 lead on Foy's one-yard TD run with 7:47 in the second quarter.
But Konawaena's Austin Denis blocked an Iolani punt and returned it 25 yards for a TD to pull the Wildcats ahead, 21-20 with 4:06 left in the half.
The Raiders snatched the lead back just before the half, 26-21, on Foy's 21-yard TD pass to Hanaoka.
Max Look's interception set up Foy's 23-yard TD pass to Kato to start the second half to open Iolani's lead to 33-21. Genovia's 30-yard field goal made it 36-21.
But the Wildcats scored three TDs in a row, one with 2:21 left in the third quarter, and two in the first eight minutes of the fourth, to take a 40-36 lead with 4:40 left.
Foy then engineered the Raiders' comeback.
Look replaced Foy with Tsubata with the 36-21 lead. Though it was still close to warrant leaving Foy in, Look said Tsubata deserved to take some snaps. Tsubata's only pass was intercepted and he lost 16 yards on two carries.
"Easton's had a great summer," Look said. "He did a great job and we had to give him some live work. It's tough coming in like that, but he'll be all right."
But credit Konawaena for putting the pressure on.
"We're pretty pleased with the way we looked," Walters said. "We'll just keep getting better from here."
August 11, 2012
'Iolani WR Chase Kakekuni lays out to make a reception against Konawaena. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Konawaena's Austin Denis returned this blocked punt 25 yards for a touchdown against 'Iolani. Greg Yamamoto | SL