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BIIF football: Kamehameha bounces back with 35-13 win at Honokaa

October 7, 2017 - 12:05am

HONOKAA — The Warriors are back in the win column, but a feisty group of upset-hungry Dragons didn’t make it easy — at least for a half.

Coming off a pair of tough losses to respective division front-runners Hilo and Konawaena, the Warriors (7-3 overall, 5-2 BIIF D-II) bounced back behind a trio of Kaimialoha Like touchdown passes and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 35-13 victory against Honokaa.

Like finished the night 15 of 25 for 148 yards to go with his three scores and an interception.

Kilohana Hassenritter caught a pair of first half touchdowns from Like, while Israel Bowden racked up 94 total yards on 12 touches. Kalai Klash-Hoopii came alive in the second half, recording 89 yards on the ground and finding the end zone twice on bruising runs.

Kamehameha’s destiny was already sealed prior to the game. The Warriors will play Konawaena for the BIIF Championship on Oct. 20 in Kealakekua.

The season is over for the Dragons, who wrap up as the third place team in the BIIF’s Division II with a 2-5 record in league play.

Junior workhorse back Klayton Gascon racked up 91 yards on 15 carries for Honokaa, including a first half touchdown run. Senior wide receiver Gene Ansagay caught five balls for 101 yards.

The night started pretty close to perfect for the Warriors, picking up chunks of yardage at a time and getting everybody involved on their first drive. Like was a perfect 5-of-5 on the opening trek downfield, completing passes to four different receivers, including a 16-yard connection with Kilohana Hassenritter for the first points of the night.

Like went back to Hassenritter for the Warriors next score, a short slant that the sophomore turned into a touchdown after a sprint down the sideline, pushing the Warriors lead to 12-0.

After failing to get a first down until late in the first quarter, the Dragons came to life on a long drive behind the legs and arm of senior QB Ocean Guerpo-Beamer. He picked up a key fourth down around midfield running, and then found Ansagay on a 25-yard connection to get into the red zone. Gascon polished off the drive with a powerful 14-yard outside run, narrowing the margin to 12-7 before half.

Coming out of the break, a long punt return from Justin Kenoi after a Honokaa 3-and-out gave the Warriors a spark. However, a fumble, tackle for loss and then false start forced Kamehameha to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Kenoi, keeping it a one score game at 15-7.

The same mistakes that forced the field goal have been a theme for the Warriors this year, but Kamehameha found itself very much on the right side of the turnover battle, forcing four out of the Dragons in the second half.

The turnovers didn’t allow Honokaa to find its fire. The Dragons managed just 32 yards of offense in a quick third quarter, which ended with a Kenoi interception. Like notched his third touchdown strike of the night after the turnover, this one to Kainoa Cook.

Honokaa completed its first past of the second half early in the fourth quarter, but it turned into a fumble. Shortly after, Klash-Hoopii rumbled into the end zone on a rugby style maul to increase the margin.

On almost the same looking play late in the fourth quarter, Klash-Hoopii — and his escort of blockers — bullied into the end zone to stretch the lead to 35-7.

The senior Dragons who were playing in their final game did get a memorable moment late, watching senior linebacker/runningback Makai Kunishige-Aikau execute a TD plunge from 2 yards out with less than two minutes remaining.

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