Posted: September 21, 2012 - 12:25pm
Campbell edges Leilehua, 35-34, in OT
Campbell players celebrate following a point-after-touchdown against Leilehua in overtime. Sherwin Acidera | SL
'EWA BEACH-In a bizarre and dramatic fashion, Campbell squeezed past Leilehua, 35-34, in an overtime thriller before about 2,500 at the Sabers' homecoming and a statewide OC 16 television audience.
Justin Tago-Su'e hit a an open Amosa Amosa Jr. in the left corner of the end zone to tie the game at 34 and Tyler Subia's fifth PAT of the night won it for the Sabers, who snapped a two-game skid to pull into a tie for second with Waianae in the wild O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red West. The Sabers improved to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in division.
"It was just doing it for the seniors," said Campbell junior linebacker Canaan Saole, who had two interceptions, including one for a 50-yard TD. "It's their last homecoming. I love all of them. It was doing it for them."
The game-winner in OT came after the Mules had scored on a six-play drive that ended with former Saber Ikaika Piceno plunging into the end zone from one yard. But backup kicker Beti Alex, spelling the injured Brennon Jacinto, had his PAT sail wide left for the Mules, who dropped to 4-2 and 2-2.
In Hawai'i high school overtime, each team has a chance to score by starting its series at the defense's 20-yard line. It was Campbell's second OT this season; it beat 'Aiea, 7-0, on Aug. 25 at Campbell.
"Too many mistakes early," Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. "Their players came out to play on their homecoming night. They did a good job. We had an opportunity at the end and they just made one more play than we did."
The dramatic end was set up by a furious Mules' rally from a 28-6 early third-quarter deficit. Leilehua scored with one minute, 16 seconds left in regulation on a 25-yard pass play from Justin Jenks to Nick Rodriguez to pull to 28-26. Then came a bizarre series of events during the extra-point try, which saw two timeouts called by each team and four penalties total, three against the Sabers.
The Mules had to go for 2 to tie, but an incomplete pass was nullified when the Sabers were called for pass interference, giving Leilehua the ball at the 1. But a false start penalty on Leilehua backed it up to the 6. Another incomplete pass was nullified by a roughing the passer penalty, giving Leilehua yet another chance, this time at the 3. But a third penalty by Campbell, an unsportsmanlike conduct, moved the ball to the 1 again. Leilehua finally scored on a run by Keoni Piceno to tie the game at 28.
The ensuing kickoff bounced out of bounds and Campbell took over at its 35, but could only drive to the Leilehua 43 before punting and pinning Leilehua to its 10. The Mules took over with 15 seconds and Jenks was dropped for a one-yard loss as regulation time ended.
There were nine turnovers in the game, two successful onside kicks, albeit one appeared to be unintentional (fortuitous?) and 16 penalties for 123 yards against Campbell.
Even the game-tying TD in OT was sort of a broken play. On second-and-2, the southpaw Tago-Su'e rolled left and hit Amosa, who was back-pedaling as he caught the pass in the end zone.
"I was supposed to throw across to the right, but I saw the corner came down and that left (Amosa) wide open," Tago-Su'e said. "Everything seemed to be in slow motion. I tried to get the ball out as quickly as I could."
"I kept waving my hand, hoping he'd see me," Amosa Jr. said. "It seemed like the ball stayed up forever. I waited for it to drop."
To keep the quick-striking Mules offense on the sidelines as long as possible, the Sabers controlled the ball with the run. Campbell ran the ball 42 times for 211 yards, while throwing just 16 times for 120 yards. Running back Paul-Andrew Rhoden powered his way for a game-leading 108 yards on 17 carries, including a three-yard TD run for his team's first score. Tristan Pebria followed with 72 yards on nine carries, while Tago-Su'e added 34 more on 11 rushes.
But Tago-Su'e was intercepted three times, twice in a close first half in which the Sabers took a 14-6 lead into the break.
In playing catchup, Jenks passed for 293 yards on 30-of-49 passing. But he was intercepted three times. Backup Levi Castanares was intercepted once in two passing attempts.
The Sabers got a fortuitous carom on the second-half kickoff, when a dribbler went off a Leilehua player and Campbell recovered at their 47. Brannon Bantolina took a short pass from Tago-Su'e and broke about three tackles en route to a 51-yard scoring play to increase Campbell's lead to 21-6 with 9:51 in the third quarter.
Less than a minute later, Saole's interception return for a TD gave Campbell a seemingly commanding 28-6 lead with 9:09 in the third quarter.
On its ensuing series, Leilehua took over at its 46 and drove to the Sabers' 15. After a near interception by Saole on second-and goal, Jenks hit Keoni Piceno for a 15-yard TD pass and the connected with Ikaika Piceno on a pass for the 2-point conversion to cut the Mules' deficit in half.
A personal foul penalty on the TD against Campbell was enforced on the ensuing kickoff and the Mules successfully converted an onside kick at the Sabers' 34. Six plays later, Jenks hit tight end Andrew Sesepasara, who is primarily a defensive lineman, with a 10-yard TD pass. A run on a 2-point try failed, but Leilehua pulled to 28-20 with 6:40 left in the third quarter.
The Sabers then fumbled the ensuing kickoff at their own 30. After an apparent 13-yard TD pass from Jenks to Tristian Kamaka was nullified by a holding penalty, the scoring threat ended when LB Solomon Leaeno intercepted Jenks' pass at the Campbell 13.
The teams exchanged the ball on punts, a turnover and on downs before Leilehua took over from its 11 with 3:37 left in regulation. The Mules moved 89 yards on nine plays before Jenks' 25-yard TD pass to Rodriguez pulled them to within two followed by the bizarre 2-point conversion that tied the game.
September 21, 2012
Brannon Bantolina, 51 yard touchdown pass from Justin Tago-Su'e
Keoni Piceno, 15 yard touchdown pass from Justin Jenks.
> more video highlights
Campbell's Paul-Andrew Rhoden carries the ball against Leilehua. Sherwin Acidera | SL
Leilehua quarterback Justin Jenks lets a pass fly against Campbell. Sherwin Acidera | SL
Leilehua WR Nick Rodriguez looks for running room as Campbell's Tia Toese defends. Sherwin Acidera | SL