Posted: August 24, 2012 - 3:08pm
Defense, special teams carry Kaiser over Pearl City, 17-7
The Cougars' defense came up big, holding the Chargers to just 36 yards rushing and 195 yards of offense. Greg Yamamoto | SL
HAWAI'I KAI-Special teams and defense carried Kaiser over Pearl City, 17-7, Friday night in an O'ahu Interscholasitc Association White Conference game at Kaiser Stadium.
The game featured first-year coaches - Kaiser's Rich Miano and Pearl City's David Hallums - who returned to their respective alma maters. Both also starred at the University of Hawai'i (Miano in football and Hallums in basketball).
"I was telling my coaches, winning is so tough," Miano said. "it's exhausting in terms of the preparation leading up to today. And this was like Monday Night Football, starting at 8 o'clock, we gotta watch the JV as a program. It's so satisfying, to see the kids' smiles on their faces. To see these kids finally get a victory. I told them, 'I'm going to coach you guys a lot harder. We're going to make you guys better. We're going to learn from our mistakes and we're going to continue this good feeling because you guys deserved it.'"
It was Kaiser's second win on the field in three seasons. The Cougars were winless in 2010, but was credited a forfeit win from Kahuku after the season. They won two games last year, but one was non-league forfeit win against a Nanakuli team that did not have enough players to suit up. Kaiser's only on field win last year was against Roosevelt.
Kai Gonda's electrifying 83-yard punt return in the first quarter jumped started the Cougars (1-2 overalal, 1-1 White) and defensive lineman Fitou Fisiiahi's had two sacks, including one that forced a fumble that was cashed in with a 27-yard field goal by Clayton Sai.
Meanwhile, it was a tough outing for the Chargers (0-3, 0-2). They turned over the ball three times, twice on interceptions.
"We kept shooting ourselves in the foot," Hallums said.
Pearl City squandered a golden opportunity to cut its deficit before the half. After losing the ball on an interception by Vidijay Kannys, Jaleck Barnette intercepted a Makana Lyman pass to the Kaiser 30. But on first down, Fisiiahi broke through Pearl City's offensive line and forced a fumble by QB Brock Teixeira that was returned by another player to the Pearl City 25 with 7:22 left in the half. The Cougars, who converted a fourth-and-10 from the 25 to keep their drive alive, settled for Sai's 27-yard field goal to put Kaiser ahead, 17-0, with 5:07 left in the half.
The Chargers did not respond until 1:33 left in the third quarter. And that came after they were pinned at their 8 after a 12-yard loss by Briscoe after a 55-yard punt by Christian Clapp. On third-and-10, Briscoe took a short pass from Teixeira and raced past Kaiser defenders for a 92-yard TD. But Pearl City never got past its 35 during its final four series of the game.
The game got off to a late start because of a slow-moving JV game. The teams exchanged punts during the first five offensive series in the game. But it was the fifth one that Gonda returned for a TD that broke the ice. What made it more impressive was that he bobbled the ball during the catch. It was enough to throw off Pearl City's breakdown, leaving Gonda to use his breakaway speed en route to the end zone.
"I dropped it, actually," Gonda said. "I picked it up, got a block and it was open. They probably got thrown off when I dropped it."
The Cougars added to their lead early in the second quarter. Lyman was 4 of 5 for 75 yards on the five-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 45-yard TD pass to wideout Christian Clapp, who had four catches for 63 yards on the night. That gave the Cougars a 14-0 lead with 9:25 left in the half.
It wasn't until Fisiiahi's forced fumble/sack that Kaiser got back on the board again.
"It's all about my (defensive line) coach Matt (Faga, former UH defensive linema)," said the 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior. "It's all about technique. He always talks about our hips. Our hips are going to take us to the play. He's right because I got the force fumble and the sack. I just want to thank him a lot because it it wasn't for (him teaching me) the technique, it wouldn't be like that."
Lyman was 23 of 41 for 232 yards with one interception. Gonda had 49 yards rushing and 29 more from four receptions.
Pearl City QB Teixeira was 14 of 39 for 159 yards with Briscoe getting the bulk of yardage with 129 from a team-leading six catches.
August 24, 2012
Kaiser QB Makana Lyman lets a pass attempt fly against Pearl City. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Kaiser's Kai Gonda accelerates downfield en route to an 83-yard punt return for a score against Pearl City. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Pearl City RB Brock Teixeira carries the ball against Kaiser. Greg Yamamoto | SL