BIIF football: Kamehameha goes smash-mouth in win over Kohala

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kohala quarterback Kona Ledward throws the ball while he is tackled by Kamehameha defensive end Niau Paulos during a game in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kamehameha running back Michael Perry runs the ball in for a touchdown during a game against Kohala at home in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kohala running back Logan Neves catches a touchdown pass in the end zone during a game against Kamehameha in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kohala quarterback Kona Ledward runs the ball through Kamehameha defense during a game in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kamehameha running back Makaiokalani Snyder runs the ball through Kohala during a game at home in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kohala line backer Logan Neves nearly grabs an interception meant for Kamehameha wide receiver Zayden Hernandez during a game in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kamehameha quarterback Jadin Chaves is tackled while running the ball down the field during a game against Kohala at home in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kohala running back Legend Libron runs the ball down the field during a game against Kamehameha in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kamehameha running back Michael Perry looks for a route around Kohala during game at home in Keaau on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

KEAAU – In an efficient display of smash-mouth football, Kamehameha rolled over Kohala 21-7 in a BIIF Division II game Saturday at Paiea Stadium.

The Warriors (4-0) compiled 163 yards on the ground on 36 carries, an average of 4.5 yards per attempt. Junior quarterback Jadin Chaves went 0 for 3.

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“We run the ball,” Kamehameha coach Kealoha Wengler said. “That’s what we do. But we’re working on the passing.”

The Cowboys (1-4) had a roster of 23, but Wengler said he counted just 18.

In any case, a lot of the Cowboys went two ways and got worn down trying to stop Kamehameha’s run game.

Michael Perry, the junior starter, led the Warriors out of their single-back attack. He rushed for 45 yards on 15 carries. Makaiokalani Snyder added 51 yards on seven carries, Ezekiel-Aaron Gragas had 28 yards on four attempts, Spencer Yoshizumi went for 29 yards on six attempts, Xander Hoopai added 4 yards on two carries, and Chaves had 6 yards on two carries.

Smash-mouth football works if you don’t turn the ball over and play effective defense. There were no turnovers in the game, and the Warriors held the Cowboys to 40 rushing yards and 79 passing yards.

“I liked our gang tackling,” Wengler said.

Kohala (1-4) missed a chance to lock up a spot in the four-team playoffs. If Pahoa (1-3) beats Ka’u (0-3) on Saturday in Pahala then the Daggers clinch the No. 4 seed.

The Warriors visit Hawaii Prep (4-0) on Saturday in Waimea to determine the No. 1 seed and hosting rights throughout the playoffs.

On the opening series, Kamehameha started off in great field position near midfield. Three plays later, Snyder gashed through the teeth of Kohala’s defense for a 33-yard gain.

Two plays later, Perry scored on a 4-yard run. Elijah Dinkel kicked the point after (as well as the other two) for a 7-0 lead.

On Kohala’s ensuing possession, the Cowboys went for it on fourth-and-2 from their own 32. The Warriors smelled run and stuffed senior quarterback Kona Ledward-Mongkeya.

The Cowboys rushed for 40 yards on 22 carries. Ledward-Mongkeya led the way with 28 yards on 14 attempts. He completed 7 of 17 for 79 yards, including a 20-yard scoring strike to Logan Neves, who had three catches for 31 yards.

From that short field, the Warriors ran it eight straight times, capped by Hoopai’s 4-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead.

On Kohala’s next series, a 15-yard face mask penalty helped set up the Cowboys deep in Kamehameha’s territory. On second-and-11 from the 20, Ledward-Mongkeya scrambled to his right and found a wide open Neves for an easy TD. After Riley Preston kicked the PAT, the Warriors led 14-7 with 11:16 left in the second quarter.

It was a risky but calculated gamble by the Cowboys and first-year coach Jay Blanco to go for it on fourth down deep on their side of the field. If they make it, they seize momentum and give an emotional boost to their short-staffed roster. If they don’t, they defend a short field.

In any case, the scoreless third quarter was uneventful and moved quickly because of Kamehameha’s smash-mouth tactics.

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Bridging the third and fourth quarters, Gragas, a junior fullback, scored on a 7-yard run to cap a six-play, all-run drive that started at Kohala’s 31.

It was Kamehameha’s smash-mouth football at its finest and put the Warriors ahead 21-7 and left just 11:25 remaining in the game.

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