Sports, especially college football, is often on in my house anyway, but you can always tell when the Patriots, Alabama or some other high-profile team in another sport just ripped off a big play by the reaction of my harmlessly annoying neighbor.
When the team he’s rooting for does well he cheers with the classic “woo-hoo!” and a thunderous, rhythmic clap.
We hadn’t heard from him in a while, obviously, which made it all the more strange Wednesday when he lifted his shutdown-induced silence.
Could he have been watching a replay of a classic game on TV? A quick check of the listings showed a Clemson-North Carolina football game from last season that went down to the wire, a Texas A&M-UCLA tilt from 2017 that included a big comeback, and LeBron scoring 45 points to help the Cavaliers eliminate the Pacers in a Game 7 in 2018.
Yes, times are tough, sports fans, and in that same vein let’s continue looking back at some of the most memorable Big Island sporting events that yours truly has been privileged enough to cover during the past 10-plus years.
No one is expected to clap.
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011: Kamehameha-Hawaii Prep football
Kamehameha’s Dan Lyons remembers every detail of the climatic game-ending sequence, which can only mean one thing: He was the losing head coach.
Actually, on Tuesday he remembered himself as the “stupid head coach.”
Two BIIF Division II contenders met on a pleasant afternoon in Waimea, and the back-and-forth game that included seven lead changes lived up to its billing.
Lyons was in his first year as coach and would lead the Warriors through 2018 and said, “Anytime I played at HPA, something strange was going to happen.”
Kamehameha couldn’t protect the ball or quarterback Warner Shaw and the Warriors, for the most part, also couldn’t stop the run – Kawohi Schutte ran for 180 yards and a touchdown for HPA. Schutte was also on the finishing end of a nifty hook and lateral (Keanu Yamamoto and Zack Greenbaum started the play) that gained 67 yards, setting up Trent Edwards’ game-tying field at the end of the first half.
Schutte was just getting started in a game that HPA lineman Shane Brostek, a future Washington Husky, at the time called “the highlight of my BIIF career, definitely.”
The Warriors answered with big plays, including Shaw’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Kama Vincent, Kaenan Akau’ 97-yard kickoff return to tie the game again in third quarter, and a 46-yard connection between Shaw and Vincent that set up Shaw’s 2-yards score to give Kamehameha a 24-20 lead late in the third quarter
The Warriors were still protecting that lead when Ka Makani took over at the 3 late in the game after sacking Shaw and recovering a fumble. That’s when Kamehameha, led by Stetson Lindsey, finally stopped Schutte, twice, the 300-pound Brostek and Yamamoto on a goal line stand with fewer than two minutes to play that seemingly ended the game.
With Kamehameha taking over at around its 1-yard line and HPA down to one timeout, Lyons said he took the “stupid” pill.
“There have been about three or four times in my coaching career that for some reason I just felt I needed to take a timeout and I didn’t,” Lyons said. “It’s always something that extremely backfired.”
His assistants wanted Lyons to take a safety, but the Warriors would have been kicking into the wind, and he worried a good return would help set up the trustworthy Edwards for a game-winning kick. Lyons thought of taking a timeout to settle his team down after the emphatic goal line stand.
Instead, Lyons’ plan was to “run a QB sneak, they call their last timeout, and we run one more play and we’re done.” Though he added, “We were a spread team and not doing a lot (of snaps) under the center, so we hadn’t practiced it as much as we would have liked to.”
Can you see where we are going with this?
The snap was botched, and, Greenbaum said, “miracles happen.”
Schutte was the miracle man, falling on the bad snap in the end zone for a touchdown.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know what happened,” said Schutte, a senior who also played safety. “I came in on a blitz, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Kamehameha’s 15-game regular season winning streak was gone, and the 27-24 loss proved to be a damaging one as it kept the Warriors out of the HHSAA playoffs. The Warriors would lose at Konawaena 21-11 two weeks later, and the Wildcats went on to win the first of three consecutive BIIF Division II titles.
It wasn’t until 2014 that Lyons and Kamehameha would win the BIIF again, and the Warriors beat Nanakuli to register their first state triumph.
Funny thing is, that regular season loss at HPA sticks with Lyons moreso than that breakthrough win three years later.
“You tell me about winning a state playoff game for the first time in our history against Nanakuli, and I can’t tell you what the score was (42-20),” Lyons said. “I don’t remember that game at all, and that was maybe the most significant win we had.
“But I call tell you exactly what was going on in that game against HPA.”
He couldn’t appreciate it at the time, but the drama was fun to watch.