POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 3, 2012
Narrow wins in the OIA Red quarterfinals and semis made No. 1 Kahuku look beatable this late in the season.
That label was erased in one 12-minute span in which defensive back Kawehena Johnson said, "it felt like nobody could stop us."
The Red Raiders forced five turnovers in the opening quarter and lived up to their ranking as the top team in the state with a 50-13 victory over Mililani on Friday night at Aloha Stadium to capture their eighth OIA Red championship in 10 years.
Kahuku (10-0) handed Mililani its worst loss since a 40-2 defeat to the Red Raiders in 2000.
Kahuku was two years removed from the 2010 OIA Red title game that never happened after Kahuku had to forfeit the game due to player eligibility issues.
FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Running back Aofaga Wily, who called the situation "tragic," was one of many then-sophomores who are now seniors on the team.
He scored one of Kahuku's four first-quarter touchdowns and finished with 19 carries for 159 yards and two scores, inching him closer to the magical mark of 4,000 career rushing yards.
"That was two years ago and this was a new game," said Wily, who recorded his 20th 100-yard rushing game and now has 3,876 yards on the ground in 30 total games. "It all worked out."
Johnson, who also played on that 2010 team, played like a man possessed in the first half.
He forced a fumble on the Trojans' second play from scrimmage and returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown.
It was his fourth interception returned for a score this season, matching his four touchdown receptions to give him eight total for the season.
"Some people thought let's get it back for those people that didn't play (in 2010)," Johnson said. "We had to make a statement for the whole state to know that those two games are behind us and now we've got to pick it up even more."
Even those who weren't on the team two years ago played as if the game was just as important to them as it was to the seniors.
Junior Lamone Williams dominated on both sides of the ball, recording one of Kahuku's three interceptions of Mililani quarterback Jarin Morikawa.
He also caught two touchdown passes, including a 6-yard pass from Wily, who took a handoff from Viliami Livai and immediately jumped up and tossed the ball over the Mililani defense to a wide-open Williams for Kahuku's first score.
"It felt better than all the rushing touchdowns I've had," said Wily, who has 43 career rushing touchdowns. "Coaches always tease me about it because I have a bad arm as you can see on that one, but lucky I had a good receiver."
Although Kahuku owns a 21-13 win over Punahou in the season opener back in mid-August, the Buffanblu's dominant run through the ILH made many believe Punahou is the favorite to win the state championship next month.
All Kahuku has to do is point to last year's 30-24 win in the state title game as a reminder of who has owned the series in recent memory.
"We've never had a perfect game yet," Wily said.
But a perfect quarter?
"Yeah, a perfect quarter."