HANAPEPE — Most say that bigger is better and the much bigger Kamehameha-Maui football team showed that size can eclipse speed and quickness, as the Warriors slayed the much quicker Kaua’i squad, 14-7 last night at Hanapepe Stadium.
The contest was billed as a defensive struggle and it was right on cue, with both defenses flexing their muscles throughout the windy evening.
Justyn Jumawan-Perreira came up with the biggest defensive play on the night, with an interception at Kamehameha-Maui’s goal line in the second quarter. The junior took Keahi Raikes’ pass and shifted through the Warrior defense for a 50 yard return.
Just two minutes later, Kaua’i’s Pono Matthews carved through Kamehameha-Maui’s defense for a nice 33 yard TD run. Frank Speetjens’ PAT made the score, 7-0. The short drive was made possible by two amazing catches by senior wideout Jett Jasper.
The Red Raiders took the 7-0 lead into the halftime locker room, but the Warriors made the right adjustments, especially on defense, which clamped down on Matthews and Jonathan Rellin.
Kamehameha-Maui also kicked it up a notch on offense by scoring two unanswered touchdowns. With just 16 seconds to go in the third quarter, Mokihana Silva took the snap nine yards to paydirt for the score. Kainalu Severson’s PAT tied the contest up at 7-7.
Then after a nice special teams return, the Warriors scored once again with just under 10 minutes to go in the game.
Raikes and Robert-John Kukahiko connected on a five yard TD, which gave the Warriors a 13-7 lead. Severson was good again on the PAT attempt for the 14-7 advantage. Kaua’i’s last drive was halted by Kamehameha-Maui, as they advanced to the division II state football semifinals against Radford. The loss ended the Red Raiders’ season with a record of 5-1-1. Kevin Haz, Jumawan-Perreira, Sean Thompson, Caylen Wada, and Jesse Slade led the Kaua’i defense.
Matthews and Rellin combined for 79 yards on the ground for Kaua’i. Raikes led Kamehameha-Maui’s offense with 13-18 passing for 132 yards.
In the other semifinal, Moanalua battles Iolani on O’ahu. Moanalua ousted Kamehameha-Hawai’i, 34-20 last night on the Big Island.
The state football championships are on Friday, December 2 at Aloha Stadium.
Last night also marked the first time a female official worked a playoff football game on Kaua’i. The OIA’s Debra Nahinu made the trip from O’ahu. In other state football playoff action last night, Waianae defeated Kealakehe, 21-14. Waianae moves on to face Kahuku in the division I semifinals. Punahou and ‘Aiea battle tonight to complete the other division I semifinal matchup.
Baldwin awaits the winner of that game.