Posted: October 11, 2012 - 2:18pm
Kaiser Gon(e)-da wild to beat Kalani, 52-12, to secure top seed
HAWAII'I KAI-It was Kalani's homecoming, but it was Kai Gonda doing a lot of the celebrating.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior running back rushed for a season-high 177 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Cougars over the Falcons, 52-12, Thursday night at Kaiser Stadium. It was 52-6 at the half and the mercy rule running clock was used in the second half.
An announced crowd of 3,000 saw Kaiser clinch the top seed for the four-team O'ahu Interscholastic Association White tournament. The Cougars improved to 7-2 overall and 7-1 in the White; it was their seventh consecutive win after a 21-20 loss to Kalaheo.
The Falcons (4-5 overall, 4-4) were eliminated from postseason and were denied a winning season for the 40th consecutive season.
Kalaheo (4-3), Nanakuli (4-3) and Pearl City (5-3) are contending for the final two berths. Radford (6-1) has secured the second seed.
"I think we played as well as we could offensively," Kaiser coach Rich Miano said. "That's a good football team. It's great to end the season this way."
Gonda made his presence know early, scoring on a 80-yard run up the middle on the first play from scrimmage and just 12 seconds into the game.
He had 172 yards at the half. He also scored on runs of 3, 26 and 32 yards. That doesn't include a 78-yard TD run that was nullified by a holding penalty three yards past the line of scrimmage.
"I just hope people around the state don't think he's this because he's in the White," Miano said. "People must realize what a special talent he is. The University of Hawai'i, Mountain West (teams), WAC schools, whatever else you have. He's a special football player. He's a good person, a good student and a good football player. He's a once in a decade kind of player.'
Hawai'i assistant Tony Tuioti was at the game. Gonda said no school has made any offers yet.
"It felt good," Gonda said of his first TD. "The blockers just all did their job. The hole just opened up. That's all you can ask."
Quarterback Makana Lyman passed for a season-high 284 yards on 14-of-21 passing with one interception. He had TD passes of 68 yards to Christian Clapp, who led with five catches for 129 yards, and 22 yards to Destin Moss.
LB Leimana Chong-Gum pulled a heist, stealing the ball from Gavin Kim after zero-yard reception and returned the fumble 48 yards for a score
The Falcons had their moments. Gavin Kim had a six-yard TD catch and returned a kickoff 90 yards for another TD.
Kalani defensive end Shiloh Laboy had four tackles for losses, including a sack.
The only lowlight for Kaiser was the ejection of junior LB Caleb Cantrell late in the game Pending appeal, he is ineligible for the Cougars first-round playoff game. But don't expect the Cougars to challenge it.
"It's something we talked about at halftime," Miano said. "We don't retaliate. If it's a personal foul, I'm throwing you out whether the refs see it or not."
October 11, 2012
Kai Gonda, 80 yard touchdown run.
Leimana Chong-Gum, 48 yard fumble return for touchdown.
> more video highlights
Jeshua Bitanga and the Cougars' defense held the Falcons to just 138 yards of total offense in the contest. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Kaiser's Makana Lyman lets a pass attempt fly against Kalani. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Kaiser WR Christian Clapp had a game-high 129 yards receiving against Kalani. Timothy Ing | SL
Kalani RB Genta Hammani looks for running room against Kaiser. Greg Yamamoto | SL