PAHALA – Kamehameha quarterback Koby Tabuyo-Kahele was well on his way to a flawless first half when his well-placed ball to a wide-open Izayah Chartrand-Penera was dropped in the end zone.
“I should have had that one,” Chartrand-Penera said. “I just couldn’t hang on.”
That’s OK, there was also one he shouldn’t have had – it was spectacular that he was able to hang on.
Tabuyo-Kahele accounted for six touchdowns Saturday, including a pass that Chartrand-Penera plucked out of the air with one hand, and the Warriors beat Ka’u 48-0 at Pahala Ball Park in a BIIF Division II opener that served as the Trojans first 11-man game in seven seasons.
Tabuyo-Kahele threw for 225 yards and four touchdowns, two to Michael Perry, and he might have connected on all 20 of his throws if not for two drops.
“It was a good day,” Tabuyo-Kahele said. “When catches are dropped, we just get back and get them again.
“We usually (hand off) the ball a lot, but we want to be able to push the ball more efficiently and mix it up a little.”
Austin Wilson ran for 108 yards and a long touchdown and Makoa Aurello personally welcomed Ka’u back to 11-man in the first half when he nailed the dynamic Izaiah Pilanca-Emmsley in the backfield for a 5-yard loss.
The Trojans’ transition from eight-man, where they won four B IIF titles in five seasons, got off to a rocky start. Tabuyo-Kahele quickly marched the Warriors (2-2, 1-0) to touchdowns on their first five drives, and they swarmed on defense to stuff Ka’u’s power run game.
Running quarterback keepers with a few handoffs sprinkled in, the Trojans never attempted a pass.
“We had plenty of guys with jitters,” Ka’u coach DuWayne Ke said.
Pilanca-Emmsley, the 2018 national 8-man rushing leader at 293.3 yards per game, according to MaxPreps.com, worked hard but found tough sledding, carrying the ball 28 times for 86 yards, with a long gain of 14. The junior had a 98-yard kickoff return for a score negated by a penalty early in the game.
“It was a good experience coming back (to 11-man), but now we have to work a little bit harder,” Ke said. “The first game is out of the way, maybe the jitters are and and we can move forward.”
Aurello’s acrobatic reception in the end zone gave Kamehameha a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. That stood as the catch of the day until the second quarter, when Tabuyo-Kahele audibled from the Ka’u 3 and sent Chartrand-Penera to the back of the end zone and unleashed his most errant throw of the day.
With a snatch of the hand, Chartrand-Penera turned it into a highlight-reel play.
“The ball was kind of high and outside and I had to use everything I got to try and get the ball down,” Chartrand-Penera said.
Perry, a freshman who played quarterback in the Warriors’ first two games out of necessity, was Tabuyo-Kahele’s favorite target, hauling in seven catches for 108 yards, scoring the first two touchdowns.
“That first touchdown pass, that set the tone,” Tabuyo-Kahele said. “A good start set the momentum for the whole game.”
Kamehameha vowed in the preseason not to take this game lightly, and the Warriors clearly didn’t.
“We didn’t have any film on Ka’u, so we didn’t expect anything,” Tabuyo-Kahele. “We just came out and worked on (run-pass-options), deep passes, runs and all our stuff.”
The Trojans had no way to adequately prepare for the multifaceted passing attack of the defending BIIF D-II champion. BIIF eight-man morphed into a run-heavy league, and passes were thrown sparingly the past three seasons.
“Their zone coverage was a little different, and there were a lot of holes in it,” Chartrand-Penera said. “We were able to capitalize on most of them.”
Loea Kaupu was the Trojans’ second-busiest ball-carrier, running 13 times for 34 yards.
The first week of the regular season has exposed a gap between the Division II holdovers and the teams transitioning back to 11-man, all three of whom have large quantities of freshman filling their roster.
Saturday’s blowout came two days after Pahoa lost 51-14 to Hawaii Prep in their 11-man return. Kohala makes its return next week at HPA.
Ke said it’s too early to make sweeping conclusions.
“Don’t count us out,” he said. “We are building team. Right now we might be getting some rough roads, but four years from now we’re not going to be getting rough roads.
KS-Hawaii 20 14 6 8– 48
Ka’u 0 0 0 0– 0
KSH: Michael Perry 15 pass from Koby Tabuyo-Kahele (kick blocked)
KSH: Perry 32 pass from Tabuyo-Kahele (Elijah Dinkel kick)
KSH: Makoa Aurello 31 pass from Tabuyo-Kahele (Dinkel kick)
KSH: Austin Wilson 50 run (Dinkel kick)
KSH: Izayah Chartrand-Penera 3 pass from Tabuyo-Kahele
KSH: Tabuyo-Kahele 16 run (kick failed)
KSH: Tabuyo-Kahele 1 run (Isaiah Villanueva pass from Perry)