KEAAU – Those who were uninitiated might have thought they were watching an eight-man football game early on Thursday night.
It was a vintage performance for Ka’u’s Izaiah Pilanca-Emmsley, who ran free like usual against Pahoa.
The junior found the end zone four times, scoring three different ways and also throwing a touchdown pass for the Trojans, who mixed in enough of their developing aerial attack in a 52-8 victory at the Keaau High to show they don’t plan on going away in the BIIF Division II race.
“Run, pass, see what the boys have to offer today,” coach DuWayne Ke said of the game plan. “They all did their jobs.”
Best of all, “I played everybody, 40-something,” he said, adding 20 were freshman.
Pilanca-Emmsley ran seven times for 157 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown run, as Ka’u (2-2) nearly reached 300 yards one the ground. There was a mix in play selection to appease a fan of any genre – except maybe Ke, who wished the game hadn’t gotten so out of hand.
“I’ve been on the other end,” he said.
With the Trojans ahead 45-8 in the fourth quarter, Pilanca-Emmsley was supposed to be a decoy on pass play that was designed to go to either of two freshmen.
However, add Ke to the list of people who can’t stop Pilanca-Emmsley, who burst open and caught a touchdown pass from Keliikoa Nalu-Reyes.
“I was yelling,” Ke said. “I didn’t want to make any more scores. Stop already at 40-something.
“I wanted everybody else to score.”
Eventually, he pulled Pilanca-Emmsley’s helmet, but not before the 2018 BIIF offensive and defensive player of the year in eight-man took off on his best run of the night, weaving his way for a 65-yard interception return for touchdown. Keenan Toriano also had a pick-six for a Trojans defense held the Daggers (0-4) to just 167 total yards.
Nalu-Reyes rumbled for 92 yards and a score, Loea Kaupu ran for a touchdown for the second consecutive week and Ka’u’s biggest pass play of the night was a 65-yard touchdown toss from Pilanca-Emmsley to Kainalu Satkofsky.
The Trojans only completed two passes but made both count.
Pahoa’s touchdown came from a likely source: David Martinez ran for 43 yards late in the third quarter and was responsible for more than half of his team’s offense, finishing with 85 on the ground.
The Daggers passing attack continues to be work-in-progress without a big-play component to match Ka’u. Quarterback Jaydan Broad-Melander was 6 of 19 for 28 yards and was intercepted five times, two by Toriano.