Warriors eliminated

HONOLULU — The Warriors had the final possession and were moving the chains, but just ran out of time to pull off an upset.

Kapaa High School’s varsity football team was beaten by No. 2 Iolani 29-24 in the semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank Football Championships — Division II tournament Saturday at the Kozuki Stadium in Honolulu.

“Of course, we’re disappointed. We worked so hard all season. We really felt that we were going to win this whole thing,” said Kapaa head coach Philip Rapozo. “We played a hell of a team today. They capitalized. Their offense clicked. We did well, too. It was a good, hard-fought battle.”

Senior place kicker Noah LaMadrid booted a 29-yard field goal to give the Warriors (7-2 overall, 6-0 KIF) a 24-23 lead with just over 5 minutes left on the game clock.

But Iolani (7-3 overall, ILH D2 champions) took back the lead with a 25-yard catch from junior Keoni-Kordell Makekau from senior quarterback Austin Jim On.

“The coaches call him (Makekau) ‘The Money Maker.’ I had an opportunity to get him the ball. All I did was dump it down, and he made magic happen,” Jim On said of the game-winning play. “It just feels great to break through that semifinal game from last year.”

“They were good, man. I’m just glad we came away with a victory,” added Jim On, who finished the game 19-35 for 220 yards passing, with two touchdowns and one interception.

Iolani head coach Wendell Look said his team’s ability to respond after Kapaa made big plays was the deciding factor.

“We just made one more play than them. This game could have gone either way,” Look said. “Kapaa is very deserving of a win also. We were fortunate.”

“Coming out of the half, they hit us with a big play,” the Raiders coach added. “We came back, put a drive together and scored. That was big.”

Kapaa was without its senior starting quarterback Rudy Agoot for most of the final period with a concussion. He was not well enough to take questions after the game.

Agoot finished the game 4-10 with 50 yards passing and one interception.

“It’s an unfortunate thing when your leader goes down in a big game like this. But that’s part of football,” Rapozo said.

With Agoot out, sophomore back-up Kurt Napoleon stepped in. He hit some shorts routes to the outside on the final drive until time ran out.

Napoleon was 11-18 for 91 yards passing.

“I was a little nervous, but I knew that I just had to try to step up. I couldn’t pull it off, but I thought we had a good game today,” Napoleon said. “We just got to stay focused next year and come back harder.”

Senior running back Shain Davis rushed for 126 yard and three touchdowns out of 16 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run in the first play from scrimmage to open the third quarter.

“This is heartbreaking, but knowing that we went out there and gave it our all, that’s keeping us up,” Davis said. “We gave it our all. Just Iolani came out the better team. Someone always has to lose.”

After the game, the Warriors were greeted by cheers from supporters who made the trip to Oahu.

Though his team’s run at states is over, Rapozo said it’s been a great season. He hopes to build on it for next year.

“They’re just an awesome bunch of young men, and they act like it. That’s what we’re going to miss,” he said. “This program is on its way. … I’m proud today.”

“Hats off to Iolani — great team,” he added. “Coach Wendell is an awesome coach, great coaching staff. We lost to a good team today.”

Iolani will play in the championship game on Friday at Aloha Stadium. The Raiders will face the winner of the semifinal matchup between Lahainaluna and Kamehameha Schools – Hawaii. Results of that game was not available by press time.

“That’s the goal that they set for themselves this year. They want to get back to the championship game,” Look said about his team and the upcoming title match. “They worked hard and sacrificed all summer … and here they are. They’ve gotten themselves there. Now there’s one more step they need to take.”

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or NCelario@thegardenisland.com.

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