Fast start propels No. 15 Iolani past Aiea


Fri, Aug 16, 2019 @ Aiea [ 6:00 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
AIEA (1-5-0) 0 3 0 710
IOL (5-1-0) 21 7 3 031
Pass: K. Castillo (AIEA) 176 yd 0 TD
Rush: B. Bantolina (IOL) 80 yd 1 TD
Rec: D. Soberano (AIEA) 85 yd 0 TD

AIEA — Iolani capitalized on short-handed Aiea by jumping out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead Friday night en route to a 31-10 road victory.

The Raiders bounced back from last week's heart-wrenching loss at Moanalua to improve to 2-1 overall. Na Alii fell to 1-2.

Sheydan Molina blocked a punt on Aiea's opening possession, with Micah Camat recovering on Na Alii 18-yard line, setting up Brady Logan Bantolina's 4-yard touchdown run just three plays later. Cole Ichikawa later returned a punt 40 yards for a TD to help put Iolani up, 14-0, and the Raiders made it 21-0 late in the first quarter after quarterback Jonah Chong picked up a fumbled snap and lunged into the end zone on fourth-and-goal.

"Take nothing away from Iolani, but we're a slow-starting team," Aiea coach Wendell Say said. "We cannot get behind against a good team like Iolani, they're fundamentally sound and don't make many mistakes."

Na Alii finally got rolling with a 10-play, 80-yard drive culminating in Tyla Reese Mane's 28-yard field goal two minutes into the second quarter, but the Raiders increased the lead to 28-3 later in the quarter after Sam Faumuina connected with Ichikawa on a 40-yard touchdown pass.

Ichikawa, a speedy and shifty 5-foot-5, 145-pound senior, amassed 146 all-purpose yards in the first half, including 90 on punt and kick returns.

"I think there was a lot of fire in us, coming off the (21-20) loss against Moanalua, and I think we just used the energy and put it in the right direction," said Ichikawa, who finished with four catches for 82 yards. "We wanted to take a step forward."

Iolani coach Wendell Look said Ichikawa's game-breaking ability is a good complement to fellow senior receiver Carter Kamana, who is regarded as an NCAA Division I prospect.

"We always wanted Cole to be one of our playmakers," Look said. "With him on the inside and Carter on the outside, they complement each other."

The Raiders added a 31-yard field goal by Wailoa Manuel to make it 31-3 with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter, and Na Alii closed it to 31-10 after backup quarterback Jordan Cezar found Javon Miller on a well-executed screen pass with Miller scoring from 15 yards out. Cezar had moved to quarterback from receiver just one play earlier, after starter Kayson Castillo went down with a leg injury. Castillo did not return to the game.

Aiea also was missing at least one starter on offense and defense due to disciplinary action, according to coach Wendell Say.

"Everybody has to follow the rules, those are things they need to learn," Say said. "We have to take care of the little things."

Despite the victory, Look said his team also has a lot to work on, especially in the turnover department. The Raiders fumbled three times — losing two — and were intercepted once.

"We definitely got to take better care of the ball," Look said. "We're not playing consistent — we show flashes of brilliance, but other times we need to play smarter. We need to know situations, like down-and-distance."

Iolani used its two quarterbacks almost equally, with Chong — a senior returning starter — playing the first and third quarters, and junior Faumuina taking snaps in scond and fourth. Faumuina finished 8 of 13 for 123 yards and one touchdown, without an interception.

"He was a pleasant surprise," Look said. "He came in and stepped up tonight."




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