KEAAU — When underdog Kamehameha forced a three-and-out on Roosevelt’s first series of the game, that was a clear signal that the Warriors could match up physically with the Rough Riders.
However, Roosevelt capitalized on Kamehameha’s mountain of mistakes in a 31-7 HHSAA Division II first-round game on Saturday at Pai’ea Stadium, dropping the Warriors to 1-7 in state play.
The OIA runner-up Rough Riders (10-2) didn’t play smash-mouth football and run over or produce an aerial show against the Warriors (10-4), the BIIF champion, who didn’t surrender an inch so easily.
Instead, Roosevelt made Kamehameha pay through the nose for every miscue, every blocked punt, and every turnover.
The visitors, who were loudly supported by their legion of fans in red shirts, scored their first touchdown from a blocked punt and a field goal from an interception. In the second quarter, the Rough Riders scored twice off of turnovers.
“I’m happy that we made it this far, but I’m disappointed that we came up short,” Kamehameha coach Shaun Perry said. “The fact of the matter is we made mistakes, and they took advantage of it. That’s the sign of a good team.”
On the game’s first series, quarterback Sky Ogata dropped back to pass and was immediately pressured by Kamehameha junior rush end Delson Dacalio. On third-and-2 from the 46, Jayson Berdon, another junior, controlled his gap and got a one-yard tackle for loss.
Roosevelt had a balanced attack: 30 passing attempts and 31 rushing attempts and couldn’t blow out Kamehameha because of difficulty moving the ball through the air or on the ground.
Ogata was 14 of 31 for 140 yards with four interceptions and was sacked five times. Dacalio got three sacks, Wilde Germano and Kanaka Kuamoo-Quihano had one each. The trio kept breathing down on Ogata’s neck with relentless pressure.
The Rough Riders, who advance to face top-seeded Lahainaluna, rushed for 139 yards on 30 carries, a measly 3.0 yard average and got 61 yards on a run from Mitchel Camacho late in the fourth quarter. The defense put up a pretty solid blue wall of resistance, winning more than its share of battles in the trenches.
Defensively, Roosevelt sold out on the run, playing a cover 3 with a single high safety and dropping an extra defender in the box. Also, the Rough Riders are fundamentally sound tacklers. They didn’t give up yards after the catch or after contact on running plays.
The Warriors longest pass was 28 yards and longest run was 15 yards. Izayah Chartrand-Penera is Kamehameha’s best deep threat. But the Rough Riders had guys just as fast to cover him. He had three catches for 41 yards.
Roosevelt’s alignment (being in the right spot with no blown coverages or gap mistakes) and execution (making plays) earned high grades. The defense produced six sacks and stuffed Kamehameha’s running game, which forced a lot of second-and-long and third-and-long downs.
The Warriors rushed for just 93 yards on 34 attempts, a 0.2 yard average. Apu Alfiche had 39 yards on 10 carries, and Micah Mahiai added 33 on 13 attempts.
Roosevelt compiled six sacks. Keneke Gusman, a stout 5-foot-9, 195-pound senior linebacker, had three sacks, and Kaeo Akana, a rangy 6-4, 190-sophomore lineman, had two sacks. Kalua Nahale had a sack.
Every time the Kamehameha quarterbacks dropped back to pass, the Rough Riders fired off the ball and made life miserable. Kobey Tabuyo-Kahale went 7 of 15 for 60 yards and one interception, and Michael Perry was 7 of 15 for 40 yards and one touchdown, a 19-yard scoring strike to Chartrand-Penera in the fourth quarter.
Roosevelt grabbed the game’s momentum in the second quarter by the throat. First, Shepherd Kekahuna scored on a 39-yard fumble return.
Kamehameha fumbled on its next possession, and Roosevelt recovered on the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Kekahuna scored on a two-yard run for a 24-0 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Kekahuna, a 5-10, 195-pound linebacker/slotback, scored his third touchdown on a 1-yard run, set up by Camacho’s 61-yard run.
Kamehameha really couldn’t get its rushing or aerial attack going but still produced 10 first downs, one fewer than Roosevelt. The Warriors were just 5 of 17 on third downs; the Rough Riders went 4 of 12.
That stat that sticks out most is points off turnovers: 24 for the Rough Riders, whose second score, a 29-yard field goal by Isaac Segawa was set up by an interception. The first score, from a blocked punt, was Ogata’s 15-yard scoring strike to Chase Akana.
Chartand-Penera and Joshua Luiz each had two interceptions.
It was Chartrand-Penera’s last game on the gridiron, and the senior, one of 14, leaves with no regrets.
“We had a peak,” he said. “We reached our full potential.”
The Warriors lose key starters in Alfiche, Chartrand-Penera, a receiver and corner, receivers Austin Wilson and Makoa Aurello, defenders Germano, Kuamoo-Quihano, and Jake Toci but return promising players like Perry, the freshman QB, Tabuyo-Kahale, Berdon, and Dacalio.
“This game was like a turning point,” Perry said. “The seniors gave us all the knowledge and the dynamic of the leadership roles. We have to fulfill that next season. The younger players will have to step up. I think we’ll be fine. We played a good game.”
Roosevelt 10 14 0 7 — 31
Kamehameha 0 0 0 7 — 7
Roosevelt — Chase Akana 15 pass from Sky Ogata (Paul Ho kick)
Roosevelt — FG 29 Isaac Segawa
Roosevelt — Shepheard Kekahuna 39 fumble return (Ho kick)
Roosevelt — Kekahuna 2 run (Ho kick)
KSH — Izayah Chartrand-Penera 19 pass from Michael Perry (Elijah Dinkel kick)
Roosevelt — Kekahuna 1 run (Ho kick)