BIIF football: Wildcats ride defense to lopsided win over Keaau

KEALAKEKUA — By Konawaena’s sterling standards, Saturday night’s win was a bit sloppy, but it certainly got the job done in some wet weather.

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KEALAKEKUA — By Konawaena’s sterling standards, Saturday night’s win was a bit sloppy, but it certainly got the job done in some wet weather.

The Wildcats defense embraced the mud at Julian Yates field, forcing eight Keaau turnovers, pitching a shutout while scoring two defensive touchdowns and a safety in a 50-0 victory.

With Konawaena (2-2 overall, 2-0 BIIF) going up 50 points at half, it was a short night for most of the Wildcats starters — albeit the team does not have the depth for a full swap out on both sides of the ball.

Konawaena did not throw a pass in the second half, using a “Wildcat” offense in to run the clock out.

Konawaena sophomore defensive end Alex Muti embraced the sloppy conditions and was the star early. He had two sacks — one for a safety on a stray Keaau snap in the end zone — and an interception in the first quarter alone.

Cyrus Jumalon and Ethan Abe scored first half defensive touchdowns — Jumalon jumping on a loose ball in the end zone and Abe returning an interception 53 yards at the end of the first half.

In a half of play, Konawaena quarterback Austin Ewing completed 13 of 19 passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns while keeping a nearly spotless jersey — a good sign for his offensive line. Chauncey Mariani-Louis had the dirtiest jersey on the field early, playing the role of bad-weather workhorse. He had 13 carries for 54 yards and a 1-yard TD plunge.

While Keaau struggled to do the basics, Konawaena capitalized.

The Cougars had just 46 yards of offense in the first half and turned the ball over six times. Keaau had eight first half fumbles, four that were lost. Most of the miscues were a result of a bad center-QB exchange out of the shotgun in Keaau’s spread offense, with the ball getting caught in the mud. Keaau quarterback Caine Lunsford was 4 of 7 for 20 yards in his first half stint, but he was picked off twice before Iokepa Laa took over in the second half. Laa went 0-3 with two interceptions.

The Konawaena win represents a larger trend in the BIIF of Division I schools not being able to keep up with D-II. Outside out perennial D-I champion Hilo — which has handily won its two games against D-II foes — Division I squads are 0-6 against D-II teams this season.

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Konawaena continues a three-game homestand against Honokaa next week.

Keaau will look for a spark against Division I rival Kealakehe.

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