BIIF football: Wildcats beat Waveriders 42-13, enter postseason undefeated

  • Wildcat QB Keoki Alani threw four touchdown passes Friday night in a 43-12 victory over Kealakehe at Waverider Stadium. (Tom Linder/West Hawaii Today)

  • Konawaena’s Kamaehu Makanui caught two of the Wildcats’ four touchdown passes through the air Friday night at Waverider Stadium. (Tom Linder/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA – In a cross-town battle on the gridiron, Kealakehe was ready to take the momentum with them into halftime.

Down by six points, the Waveriders were inside the Konawaena red zone and threatening to take the lead as the two teams went into the break. The Wildcats were having none of it. Konawaena firmly took hold of the momentum with just seconds to go before halftime. First, their defense stifled Kealakehe’s drive, forcing a turnover on downs. The Wildcat offense took over with a perfectly executed hook-and-ladder that saw Kawelu Kaiawe get into scoring position, followed by a 13-yard scoring strike from Keoki Alani to Kamaehu Makanui as the second quarter expired to turn a potential deficit into a two-score advantage.

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“That was huge,” said Konawaena head coach Brad Uemoto after a 42-13 win. “We put in a couple special plays this week, not really intending to use any, just to have them at our disposal. I felt like it was the right time to run the jailbreak screen hook and ladder.”

With a 25-13 advantage to begin the third quarter, the Wildcat defense finished the job, holding Kealakehe scoreless the rest of the way. AJ Blanco effectively sealed the win with a pick-six early in the fourth to make it a 35-13 game.

“That was a tone-setter late in the game,” said Konawaena’s defensive linemen Maui Ellis-Noa.

For good measure, Alani found Blanco for the final score of the game with five minutes left to play: one of four touchdown passes thrown by the Konawaena sophomore. Makanui was on the receiving end of two touchdown passes, while Blanco and Landon Daquel-Shimabakuro each caught one.

Though he didn’t snag any touchdown passes, wideout Ro’o Satta-Ellis was Alani’s favorite target when the Wildcats needed to move the chains; Satta-Ellis caught seven third or fourth-down passes that went for first downs throughout the night.

Kealakehe made things interesting early, striking first with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Sheynen Nahale to Hunter Acia in the first. Down a point in the second, Shawn Ichishita jumped in front of an Alani pass and outraced everyone for a 60+ yard pick-six. From there, however, the Waveriders were shut out by a stingy Wildcat defense.

With the win, Konawaena (4-0) clinched the top seed in the BIIF playoffs. They’ll face No. 4 seed Keaau Friday night at Julian Yates Field; kickoff time is set for 6 p.m.

Kealakehe (2-2) will be the No. 3 seed in the postseason. They’ll travel to Keaau to square off against No. 2 seed Hilo; kickoff time is yet to be determined.

“It’s big; we love playing at home,” said Uemoto of earning the top seed. “It’s a tough place to play, a good environment. Hopefully fans will be able to come in and support us.”

Konawaena 0 25 3 14 – 42

Kealakehe 6 7 0 0 – 13

First quarter

Kealakehe – Nahale 50-yard pass to Acia (2-point attempt failed)

Second quarter

Konawaena – Kaiawe 4-yard run (Satta-Ellis kick good)

Kealakehe – Ichishita interception return (Cummings kick good)

Konawaena – Alani 22-yard pass to Daquel-Shimabukuro (kick blocked)

Konawaena – Alani 20-yard pass to Makanui (kick missed)

Konawaena – Alani 13-yard pass to Makanui (2-point attempt failed)

Third quarter

Konawaena – Satta-Ellis 33-yard field goal

Fourth quarter

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Konawaena – Blanco interception return (Satta-Ellis kick good)

Konawaena – Alani 11-yard pass to Blanco (Satta-Ellis kick good)