Warriors fall to Rams

HONOLULU — The Kauai Interscholastic Federation will have to wait yet another year for its chance at the state football championship trophy as top-ranked Kapaa High School fell to the Radford High School Rams on Friday night, 30-16, at Aloha Stadium.

This was the Rams’ first football championship while in Division II.

Radford’s Quintin Iriarte finished the game 12-for-21 and 195 yards with one interception. Kapaa’s Kurt Napoleon finished 1-for-5 for 10 yards, while Teili Fonua finished 7-for-17 with 76 yards and one interception. Radford’s total offense dominated, coming up with 251 yards to Kapaa’s 39.

Radford’s Thomas Reid led the receiving team with three catches for 102 yards. Kapaa’s Justin DeForge finished with four catches and 47 yards.

Radford’s defense came up big with five sacks resulting in a total loss of 41 yards and recovered two fumbles with a gain of 26 yards. Kapaa’s defense came up with three fumble recoveries and one sack.

The Warriors entered the championship game unbeaten (9-1, 6-0 KIF, 1-1 HHSAA) and having not given up a single point since August of this season.

The drizzle from rain and the wet field conditions appeared to affect both teams as the Rams and Warriors had rocky starts. Radford failed to get past their own 10-yard line, and couldn’t get the punt past the 30.

Kapaa’s first possession wasn’t much better. Despite good field position, they suffered a fumble which pushed them back (although they recovered), and their fourth-down punt resulted in a two-yard loss.

It wasn’t till the tail-end of the quarter that Kapaa gained momentum. Kapaa’s defense recovered a Radford fumble, and from then on, plowed to the red zone. Kapaa got big gains from junior Leighton Moniz and senior DeForge. DeForge got the Warriors to the 1-yard line. With 1:05 left in the quarter, Napoleon handed it off to running back Kekoa Kaluahine-Cacal, who ran it in for the 1-yard touchdown.

Another fumble recovery by Kapaa’s defense gave them good field position again. Kapaa again got within striking distance, but ended the quarter on the Radford 35-yard line. The Warriors then started the second quarter with a 45-yard field goal from Clifton Oliver.

Kapaa’s 10-0 lead didn’t last long. On their next possession, Radford’s Iriarte threw to Thomas Reid, who came up with a 78-yard catch and run for the touchdown. With the Roman Gennero kick, Radford became the first team to score on Kapaa. 

Kapaa linebacker Jonathan Bilyeu, who was having a good first half with an interception, recovered a fumble for an 8-yard TD. That put the Warriors up 16-7. 

But on third down, with six seconds left in the half, Radford opted to go for the TD instead of the field goal. That proved to be a good idea for the Rams as Iriarte hit Ace Faumui for the 8-yard TD. Gennero’s extra point put Radford within two going into halftime. 

Radford, who also entered the championship undefeated (24-0 Oahu Interscholastic Association, 1-1 HHSAA), came out of the break with pressure. Kapaa couldn’t get a hold of Gennero’s kickoff and Radford picked it up with good field position. That resulted in a Gennero field goal, giving Radford its first lead of the night at 17-16. The Rams dominated the third quarter holding possession for the majority of the time 

The start of the fourth quarter seemed promising enough for the Warriors, but on their punt attempt, Napoleon was unable to get the kick off because of pressure from Radford’s Jordan Walker. Dillon Sunday recovered that fumble and returned it for a 26-yard touchdown. Radford now led 23-16. 

Plays later, Radford’s Jonah Soakai came up with an interception. That led to the Radford’s Faumui’s 55-yard TD, padding their lead even more to 30-16. 

Kapaa turned to Teili Fonua to get the team down the field. They were able to move up the chains halfway down the field, but the Warriors still came up short. 

Friday night was the Warriors’s first appearance in a football championship. They reached the semifinals in 2011, but lost, 17-13, to the eventual champions of Iolani School. Then just last year, in what was like a rematch, Kapaa played Iolani, losing 29-24. 

Na Alii of King Kekaulike of the Maui Interscholastic League, who defeated Kauai High School in a 33-20 decision in 2006, were the first. That year was the first championship ever to be played by two Neighbor Island teams. Since then, Kauai has reached the title game two more times. 

This was Radford’s third appearance in a Division II state championship final. Both previous trips also resulted in losses to Iolani. During the Oahu Prep Bowl days, Radford reached the final twice: in 1976, losing to Kamehameha Schools–Kapalama, 46-6; and in 1981, beating Saint Louis, 14-2.

1st quarter

01:15 KAPAA Kekoa Kaluahine-Cacal 1-yard run, Clifton Oliver PAT good, 7-0 KAP

2nd quarter

11:54 KAPAA Clifton Oliver 45-yard field goal, 10-0 KAP

11:12 RADFORD Thomas Reid 78-yard reception from Quintin Iriarte, Roman Gennero PAT good, 10-7 KAP

06:56 KAPAA Jonathan Bilyeu fumble recovery returned 8 yards, PAT blocked, 16-7 KAP

00:01 RADFORD Ace Faumui 8-yard reception from Quintin Iriarte, Roman Gennero PAT good, 16-14 KAP

3rd quarter

10:14 RADFORD Roman Gennero 30-yard field goal, 17-16 RAD

4th quarter

09:21 RADFORD Dillon Sunday fumble recovery returned 26 yard, PAT blocked, 23-16 RAD

08:49 RADFORD Ace Faumui 45-yard run, Roman Gennero PAT good, 30-16 RAD

Kapaa

Passing: Teili Fonua, 7-17, 76 yards, 1 interception

Rushing: Justin DeForge, 9 carries, 21 yards

Receiving: Justin DeForge, 4 receptions, 47 yards

Defense: Jonathan Bilyeu, 5 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception

Radford

Passing: Quintin Iriarte, 12-21, 195 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception

Rushing: Ace Faumui, 20 carries, 60 yards, 1 touchdown

Receiving: Thomas Reid, 3 receptions, 102 yards, 1 touchdown

Defense: Jake Walker, 6 tackles, 2 sacks

Statistics by ScoringLive

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