KEAAU – You have to start somewhere.
For Kamehameha’s football team Saturday, it’s worth noting the short-handed bunch and freshman quarterback Michael Perry, miraculously perhaps, were still standing after absorbing a 47-10 loss to Iolani in a wet non-league opener at Paiea Stadium.
In some regards, the Warriors were ready to flush this one out of their system, though first-year coach Shaun Perry wanted his team to take note of the opponent.
“They didn’t quit, that was a good team that we just went up against,” Perry said. “You get them early, that’s where we want to be. When you look across the field, we want to be that perennial state contender. I think the guys took some steps in this game to become that.”
Senior Raiders quarterback Jonah Chong accounted for four scores, including two long touchdown passes, as Kamehameha’s pass defense broke down twice in the first half.
The Warriors’ pass protection broke down for much of the game, and Michael Perry – flushed into action until Koby Tabuyo-Kahele gains more practice time to become eligible – did well just to become a moving target at times.
“So young,” Shaun Perry said of his son, “holding on to the ball way too long. Trying his best and needing guys to get open. He handled it.”
Kamehameha dressed only 29 players and lost one of them in the first half to an ejection.
Iolani, an ILH team that reached the HHSAA Division I semifinals last season, registered 12 sacks and forced six turnovers.
“I learned that we have a lot to work on as a unit,” senior center Luke Kaniho said. “The main thing was really just how were comprehended everything that was going on throughout the game. We as a team need to lift each other up and be there for our brothers. Be our brother’s keeper.”
Looking for an early front-runner for BIIF Division II Defensive Player of the Year?
Look no further than Wilde Germano. The senior middle linebacker was all over the field, recovering two fumbles.
“Games like this are an eye-opener for us,” Germano said. “It opens our eyes on what we need to work on.
“But it’s not just the young guys,” he said, “it’s not just the O-line, I don’t want to hear that, it’s everybody.”
After an inadvertent whistle on Iolani’s first offensive play from scrimmage wiped away a big loss, Chong hit Carter Kamana down the left sideline for an 84-yard touchdown.
Chong threw seven consecutive incompletions before the Warriors were beat deep again as Wailoa Manuel got behind the secondary for a 61-yard TD strike to put Iolani ahead 23-3 late in the second quarter.
“We knew where our weaknesses were,” Shaun Perry said, “and they found it early. But they couldn’t get back to it afterward.”
The return of all-BIIF cornerback Izayah Chartrand-Penera, who also needs to get more practices under his belt until he is eligible to return, will help shore up the secondary.
“You’ve seen the numbers,” Germano said. “You’ve seen how thin we are.”
Held in check early, Iolani’s running game got going in the second half, amassing 110 yards.
Brody Logan Bantolina ripped off a 31-yard run on the opening drive of the second half, setting up Chong’s third touchdown pass. On Iolani’s ensuing drive, after Jayden Murata recovered a fumble at the Kamehameha 38, Cole Ichikawa ran 34 yards to the 1. Two plays later, Bantolina plowed into the end zone to make it 37-3.
Samuel Faumuina took over at quarterback on the next series and led the Raiders on a crisp 61-yard scoring march, capping it off with touchdown pass to Brock Hedani.
The Warriors played giveaway in the second half and lost five fumbles. They scored midway through the third quarter after Isaiah Villanueva set Kamehameha up with good field position. Austin Wilson had a 14-yard run and Perry – who looked comfortable in connecting on seam routes with Wilson and Makoa Aurello – ran 8 yards to the 1, where Apu Alfiche punched it in.
Germano would have liked to have a touchdown. He grabbed a fumble midair in the second half and took it 50-plus yards before Faumuina, who had a good angle, caught him on the sideline.
“I’m not making excuses, but I caught a cramp at the 30,” Germano said. “I was going to try to cut back in, but my legs weren’t cooperating.”
Iolani 7 16 24 0 – 47
KSH 0 3 7 0 – 10
Iolani – Carter Kamana 84 pass from Jonah Chong (Wailoa Manuel kick)
Iolani – FG Manuel 35
Iolani – Chong 12 run (Manuel kick)
KSH – FG Taylor Eckart 22
Iolani – Manuel 61 pass from Chong (pass failed)
Iolani – Cole Ichikawa 10 pass from Chong (Manuel kick)
Iolani – Brody Logan Bantolina 1 run (Mason Mizuta kick)
KSH – Apu Alfiche 1 run (Eckart kick)
Iolani – Brock Hedani 26 pass from Samuel Faumuina (Mizuta kick)
Iolani – FG Manuel 36
Rushing – Iolani: Bantolina 8-48, Hedani 10-40, Ichikawa 2-37, Chong 6-37, Faumuina 1-(minus 6), TEAM 1-(minus 2). Kamehameha: Austin Wilson 5-49, Apu Alfiche 15-24, Isaiah Villanueva 2-15, Michael Perry 20-7.
Passing – Iolani: Chong 5-13-0-178, Faumuina 3-7-0-55. Kamehameha: Perry 13-30-2-122, Makoa Aurello 0-1-0-0
Receiving – Iolani: Manuel 2-89, Hedani 2-21, Kamana 1-84, Rexton Suzuki 1-15, Ryan Sunada 1-14, Ichikawa 1-10. Kamehameha: Aurello 5-51, Zeke Gravas 3-16, Alfiche 2-14, Austin Wilson 1-21, Keaton McCallum 1-16, Isaiah Villanueva 1-4