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BIIF football: Wildcats top Warriors, lock up home field in postseason

September 30, 2017 - 12:05am

KEAAU — Konawaena is coming home, at least one more time.

Behind a gutsy performance from Austin Ewing both running and passing the ball and a pair of kicks from Harry Hill, the Wildcats pulled off a 13-12 victory at Paiea Stadium on Friday night.

With the victory, Konawaena (6-2 overall, 6-0 BIIF D-II) locked up the top seed in Division II and will host the BIIF championship on either Oct. 20 or 21.

Ewing finished his night 12 of 23 for 121 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He added 83 yards on the ground, including a 45-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.Kaanoi Rivera-Kelekolio caught five balls for 54 yards.

It was a second consecutive loss for Kamehameha-Hawaii — albeit to top BIIF squads Hilo and Konawaena. The Warriors (6-3, 4-2 D-II) will have to travel to the west side for the rematch as the No. 2 seed in Division II. It’s the fourth consecutive year the two programs are meeting with a league title on the line.

Kamehameha couldn’t muster much on offense during the contest. Quarterback Kaimialoha Like was 13 of 20 for 102 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Warriors utilized a bunch of ball carriers, but none cracked the 50-yard mark.

In the end, it wasn’t a pretty game for either team, as they combined for 10 turnovers — seven of those coming in the second half.

However, it didn’t look like it would be a messy, defensive struggle early on.

Assisted by a few penalties and a nice gain on a designed QB run by Ewing, Konawaena got deep into Kamehameha territory. He finished off the drive with a pass to Tyler Libarios to break the scoreless tie at just about the midway mark of the first quarter.

The Warriors found some success on their next drive, picking up chunks of yardage and first downs at a time. That was until Konawaena defensive end Paka Cacoulidis decided he had enough. The senior bullied his way to a big sack on third down, and then blocked the punt on the next play.

The Wildcats flipped Cacoulidis’ antics into a 36-yard field goal from Harry Hill, which looked like it would have been good from 58 yards away — the record distance he hit from last weekend at Waiakea.

Giving up the early points did not phase the Kamehameha defense. The Warriors picked off Ewing on Konawaena’s next drive, returning it into Wildcat territory. It took just four plays for the Warriors to flip the turnover into points, with Israel Bowden falling into the end zone on a short pass from Like.

The Wildcats had an opportunity to push the lead to two scores after stealing a fumbled option pitch, but the Warriors’ defense rose up for a stuff at the 1-yard line, keeping the score at 10-6 with 3:42 left in the second quarter.

The momentum wouldn’t last long, as Jeriah Cacal picked off Like on the Warriors next drive and returned it inside Kamehameha’s 25-yard line. The offense stalled, but Hill added his second kick of the night after the turnover to make it 13-6 heading into the break.

Konawaena couldn’t find its rhythm after the half, and a bit of rain didn’t help the passing game. The first two Wildcat drives resulted in a Justin Kenoi interception and a fumble — both pretty deep in Konawaena territory.

The Warriors scored their second touchdown off a Wildcat turnover when Michael Jumalon strolled into the end zone on a 9-yard run, bringing Kamehameha to within a point at 13-12.

With the limited offensive output, Kamehameha opted to go for two after Jumalon’s run. Like dropped back and delivered a pass to an open receiver, but he was blasted out of bounds before he could get his feet down, keeping the Wildcats — very narrowly — in the lead.

The Wildcats had multiple opportunities to seal the game, but the turnover bug didn’t stop biting. After a fumble on a completed pass opened up the fourth quarter, the Wildcats had run just 14 offensive plays in the second half — three were turnovers and four went for no gain or negative yards.

After the turnover, the Warriors drove well within field goal range behind pounding Paniau Lindsey runs. However, they gave it back to Konawaena on a fumbled snap. That would become a theme, with the teams trading fumbles again in the fourth quarter.

After the flurry of turnovers, the game came down to a 4th and 11 with 1:30 left for Kamehameha. The game, appropriately, ended with a fumble and Konawaena was able to run out the remaining time.

First quarter

KONA — Austin Ewing 20-yard pass to Tyler Libarios (kick good)

KONA — Harry Hill 36-yard field goal

Second quarter

KSH — Kaimi Like 6-yard pass to Israel Bowden (kick failed)

KONA — Harry Hill 36-yard field goal

Third quarter

KSH — Michael Jumalon III 9-yard run (2-point failed)

Konawaena 10 3 0 0 — 13

KS-Hawaii 0 6 6 0 — 12

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