Kamehameha’s defense passes muster in shutout

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Pahoa quarterback Donivan Lynch looks for a teammate to pass to Friday night.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kamehameha defensive back Kana’i Eckart runs an interception 23 yards into the end zone Friday night during the Warriors' 42-0 win against Pahoa.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kamehameha running back Kaiao Kuamoo runs for a touchdown Friday night during the Warriors' 42-0 win against Pahoa.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kamehameha defensive back Kekainalu Fuerte runs back an interception for a touchdown Friday night during the Warriors' 42-0 win against Pahoa.

KEAAU – The ball only hung in the air for about a second before falling into the arms of Kana’i Eckart, but the interception was a long time coming for the Kamehameha senior defensive back.

Besides having to wait out a pandemic, offenses just don’t throw much against Warriors, including their own in practice, so Pahoa’s inclination to pass – and the Daggers passed a lot – was a welcome sight.

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“I appreciate all of it, because things are starting to get back to normal,” Eckart said Friday night after his team’s 42-0 victory. “Being able to experience the sport, being able to work with the team. Having that camaraderie, having that sportsmanship.”

During a lopsided first quarter, senior Spencer Yoshizumi fired off the left edge on a punt block so fast … that he was offside. On the next play, Yoshizumi timed it right and gobbled up the punt. The Warriors took over at Pahoa’s 20, and Yoshizumi told head coach Kealoha Wengler he wouldn’t be able to sleep if he didn’t touch the ball.

“I just had to get it,” Yoshizumi said. “I had to get at least one in (the end zone).”

His team did so early and often.

Freshman Kaiao Kuamoo ran for two early touchdowns, and Kekainalu Fuerte’s 43-yard interception return was the Warriors’ fifth score of the first quarter and set up a running clock via the BIIF’s mercy rule. Eckart added another pick-six in the second quarter, and Kamehameha waived off the final 58 seconds of the half rather than try for another score after a unsportsmanlike penalty set it up at the Daggers’ 15.

Though a competitive game was not in the works at Paiea Stadium, the spirit of competition was in the air, Wengler said, and it wasn’t to be taken lightly.

“They are just so happy to have another team to play against,” he said. “Coming off last year, this is what they need. It keeps them busy, keeps their grades up. Behaviors are better. It’s a win-win-win all the way around.”

Kamehameha (2-1, 2-0 BIIF D-II) didn’t allow an offensive touchdown for the second consecutive game, yielding only one first down to the Daggers (1-2) and their work-in-progress passing game.

Pahoa sophomore quarterback Donivan Lynch put the ball in the air 28 times and completed five passes, he was victimized by drops, with four interceptions.

“We have a bunch of dogs, and they want to play,” said Yoshizumi, a linebacker. “They’ll do anything to get to the ball. They fly.”

On the first play from scrimmage, Lynch completed a pass over the middle, but the ball was jarred loose from his receiver by linebacker Blaze Figueroa, and Eckart jumped on the fumble.

Kamehameha took over at the 39, and thus began a short but sweet debut for Kuamoo. He broke left and scored from 30 yards out on his second carry, and he went 60 down the left sideline for a touchdown the next time he was given the ball.

Kuamoo was destined for the junior varsity, but, Wengler said, the JV team has no one to play.

“The blocking opened everything up for him,” the first-year coach said. “We wanted to give our younger guys a chance to play in this game, and he really proved he can compete at this level.”

Michael Perry scooted 54 yards for a touchdown for Kamehameha, which continued to rely heavily on the run as it implements the double wing.

The defense is operating with more complexities under coordinator Lyndon Turner, who has worked with Kamehameha’s seniors dating back to their freshman year, and beyond.

“We just have to come out and ball and play as hard as you can, leave it all out of the field,” Yoshizumi said.

Javan Feary and freshman Nixis Yamauchi also had interceptions, with Yamauchi’s pick drawing a nice reaction from his teammates. Kamehameha’s secondary is used to defending the run.

Last week in the Warriors’ 13-8 win, Honokaa attempted just two passes, both broken up by Eckart. Ka’u will bring a run-heavy offense to Paiea Stadium on Thursday.

“That was good the see,” Eckart said of the ball in the air. “Even in practice, we mainly try to help out our offense with their running game, so we don’t get a lot of passing in practice. Seeing how our defense handled all of the passing was good.”

Pahoa 0 0 0 0– 0

Kamehameha 35 7 0 0–42

First quarter

KSH – Kaiao Kuamoo 30 run (Elijah Dinkel kick)

KSH – Kuamoo 30 run (Dinkel kick)

KSH – Perry 54 run (Dinkel kick)

KSH – Spencer Yoshizumi 3 run (Lucas Kay-Wong kick)

KSH – Kekainalu Fuerte 43 interception return (Kay-Wong kick)

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Second quarter

KSH – Kana’i Eckart 23 interception return (Dinkel kick)