POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 21, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 01:34 a.m. HST, Nov 21, 2010
The lone obstacle to an 'Iolani four-peat is right around the corner.
The Raiders stymied Kauai's wishbone attack for a 14-0 victory yesterday at sultry Eddie Hamada Field and advanced to the final of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division II State Football Championships.
'Iolani (8-3), winner of three state titles in a row — and four in the past five seasons — will face Kaimuki on Friday at Aloha Stadium. Kaimuki, just one block away on Date Street, features one of the state's top running backs, Chester Sua, and is coached by former 'Iolani quarterback and intermediate coach Clint Onigama.
In fact, four members of Kaimuki's coaching staff played at 'Iolani under Wendell Look.
"It's going to be interesting going up not only against him, but all four guys with 'Iolani ties," Look said. "Clint has adjusted his offense to his personnel. Chester Sua is unbelievable. I'd give him the ball 35, 40 times, too, if I had a guy like that."
UNSTOPPABLE'Iolani has not lost a state tournament game since falling to King Kekaulike in 2006. The Raiders' current state-tournament-winning streak is at seven:
» 2010: 'Iolani 14, Kauai 0
» 2009: 'Iolani 24, Kauai 17*
» 2009: 'Iolani 21, Aiea 7
» 2008: 'Iolani 35, Radford 20*
» 2008: 'Iolani 24, Campbell 6
» 2007: 'Iolani 28, Lahainaluna 21*
» 2007: 'Iolani 35, Kauai 21
* — state championship game
"To play a physical, tough team like Kauai that can bang like that, that's a challenge for us and I thought our kids did well," Look said.
However, with just one completion for 4 yards until the final few minutes, the visitors didn't take advantage of 'Iolani's coverage. 'Iolani, which dropped "Red" from its Raiders nickname many years ago, left one safety deep most of the afternoon. Keahi Hogan lined up alone while his teammates crowded the box against Kauai's no-wide-receiver, double-tight-end look.
"It was a great effort defensively again. They've been carrying us all season," Look said. "Offensively, we executed well in the first half, then we tried to let the defense do its thing, get some field position. It was slower than we're used to, but it was effective."
It was a tough ending to a season of overachievement for Kauai (8-2), which switched from its traditional run-and-shoot attack to the wishbone at midseason. That rejuvenated the offense and put several skilled running backs to work.
Injuries played a role, however, in Kauai's struggle. Though they rushed for 178 yards on 44 carries, including 80 yards on 23 attempts by Darren Acoba, two backs were out. One was Jake Leake, who suffered a shoulder injury in a win over Kalaheo last week. Another was Kele Hanohano, a 210-pound senior.
" 'Iolani's beatable, but they don't beat themselves," Kauai coach Derek Borrero said. "They're a good, very disciplined team. That's Wendell Look."
'Iolani's defense permitted only two runs of more than 10 yards.
The Raiders were efficient offensively. Reece Foy completed 10 of his 11 passes before halftime and finished 14-for-19 for 112 yards with one pick.
Operating out of the wishbone, the visitors found few openings through 'Iolani's five-man front. Kauai's first-half possessions ended this way: punt, punt, fumble, punt and end of half.
Meanwhile, the Raiders drove 75 yards in 15 plays in their second series. Jordan Lee's 7-yard bolt on the left side gave 'Iolani a 7-0 lead with 1:10 to go in the opening quarter.
Kauai's best first-half drive ended when 'Iolani cornerback Reid Saito forced a fumble by running back Travis Koga. Linebacker Cody Petro-Sakuma's 35-yard return with the bouncing ball set up the next score.
"He's definitely improved over the course of the season," defensive coordinator Delbert Tengan said of Saito. "He's played a lot more physical. He's come of age on the perimeter. We always knew he could cover. He's a complete package."
Foy found Kevin Barayuga wide open on the left side for a 25-yard touchdown, and the Raiders led 14-0 with 8:44 left in the first half.
Kauai got no further than the 'Iolani 37-yard line in the first half and no deeper than the 'Iolani 35 in the second half.
IOL--Jordan Lee 7 run (Lee kick)
IOL--Kevin Barayuga 25 pass from Reece Foy (Lee kick)
RUSHING--Kauai: Travis Koga 9-22, Darren Acoba 24-98, Shea Shimabukuro 4-20, Arjay Honorato 5-32, Keoki Pantorilla 2-6. 'Iol: Foy 4-11, Ammon Baldomero 17-73, Lee 5-20.
PASSING--Kauai: Shimabukuro 1-4-0-4, Trey Aguano 2-2-0-33. 'Iol: Foy 13-17-1-107.
RECEIVING--Kauai: Acoba 2-8, Shimabukuro 1-29. 'Iol: Barayuga 6-67, Trevyn Tulonghari 2-21, Josiah Sukumaran 1-8, Lee 1-(minus-1), Kasey Takahashi 1-13, Sheldon Gallarde 1-3, Dane Arakawa 1-(minus-4).