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BIIF football: Honokaa shuts out HPA 42-0

Updated: 
October 1, 2017 - 12:05am

WAIMEA — Hawaii Prep and Honokaa entered their — like a good neighbor — border battle with the same records: 2-4 overall and 1-4 in BIIF Division II. But there are not much similarities between them on the football field.

That was apparent after the Dragons imposed their will and pushed around HPA 42-0 on Saturday at Ka Makani field in a game with no playoff implications but a significant meaning nonetheless.

Both haven’t been title contenders for some time now. Konawaena and Kamehameha have filled those coveted roles. Under their respective coaches, Brad Uemoto and Dan Lyons, the Wildcats and Warriors just reload and follow a similar culture of discipline, blue-collar work ethic, and teamwork.

It’s not that Honokaa and HPA don’t follow the same blueprint. All coaches speak that same language in the preseason. But as the season wears on the state of the union changes for teams — some keep rising and some don’t.

Some schools are blessed with good numbers and talent, too. That combination can conquer a lot of woes, even a winless record.

Honokaa and HPA can compete and win championships. As evidence, they did it in the past. Both did it together in 2009; the Dragons took the Division I title and Ka Makani the D-II crown.

What’s the state of the union for HPA and Honokaa?

First-year coach Daniel Te’o-Nesheim’s Ka Makani are rebuilding. The roster sported just 27 players, including seven seniors. Second-year coach Noeau Lindsey’s Dragons are in better shape. They’ve got 42 players, including 20 seniors.

Since the start of statewide classification in 2004, Honokaa has never won the league’s Division II championship. But there’s always a first for everything.

And there’s no such thing as taking small steps for improvement in Lindsey’s mind.

“With the athletes we have, we should be contending for the championship,” he said. “But in our four losses, we didn’t execute and had turnovers. The turnovers killed us.

“We need to execute whether it’s a combo block from our O-line or our guys on defense who weren’t playing their assignments. Guys wanted to do their own thing. If someone bailed from a gap, then somebody else had to fill in that gap.”

Against HPA, the Dragons executed well in some aspects. In field production, three offensive players — quarterback Ocean Guerpo-Beamer, wideout Kilipaki Akau and running back Klayton Gascon —breathed fire all day long.

Guerpo-Beamer had a field day. The senior southpaw went 9 of 15 for 224 yards with four touchdowns and no picks. Akau torched HPA’s secondary for 178 yards on four catches, including TDs of 75 and 85 yards.

Gascon, a junior, rushed for 130 yards on 14 carries, and freshman Micah Hanohano added 59 yards on six attempts while sophomore Richard Reinbolt had 15 yards on two carries. Honokaa piled up 202 yards on 30 carries, a healthy 6.73-yard average.

The defense held HPA’s ground attack to 10 yards on 17 carries. That’s what happens when four quarterback sacks are surrendered, and there are numerous runs for negative yards. Umi Kealoha and Seth Beach went a combined 6 for 16 for 35 yards and one pick.

On the other hand, if yellow is your favorite color then it was paraded around the field a whole lot. There were 19 yellow flags, including 11 penalties on the Dragons. Execution is also about avoiding penalties, too.

The Dragons, who had two harmless turnovers, pretty much wrapped up the game in the second quarter with Guerpo-Beamer’s four scoring strikes, and Gascon ran over Ka Makani tacklers for 100 yards on just 10 carries in the first half from the offset I formation.

Honokaa didn’t think much of a struggling Ka Makani run defense and went for it on fourth-and-4 from its own 30 in the first quarter. Gascon was held to two yards, but HPA still couldn’t score.

Guerpo-Beamer fired two nice anticipation TD strikes to Akau, hitting him in stride. In the second quarter against no deep safety, Akau beat his defender on a seam route and scored. He did it again in the third quarter, only from the other side of the field.

Hanohano and Reinbolt were recently promoted from the junior varsity, and Lindsey liked their contributions. Hanohano is scatback at 5 feet 8 and 165 pounds while Reinbolt, who caught a seven-yard TD pass, is a fullback bruiser at 6 feet and 215 pounds.

“Micah has strong legs and keeps pumping his legs,” Lindsey said. “He ran behind a big offensive line, and that helped him. Our O-line did very well. Richard runs forward every time. He’s a big, strong kid.

“I’m proud of the boys. They’ve gotten better in practices and games. We have to find the good things that we are doing and ride those.”

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