Two-way star Chester Sua rushed for two touchdowns and pulled in a late interception as Kaimuki advanced in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division II State Football Tournament with a 14-9 victory over Kamehameha-Hawaii at Keaau, Hawaii.
The ninth-ranked Bulldogs (11-1) play Lahainaluna on Friday at War Memorial Stadium. The Lunas had a first-round bye.
"Kamehameha did awesome," Kaimuki coach Clint Onigama said. "They came to play. We see why they are so good. They are big and physical."
Kaimuki’s victory wasn’t sealed until the game’s final play, an incomplete pass on fourth down that landed 11 yards shy of the Bulldogs’ end zone.
"Our defense won it for us tonight," Onigama said. "We both had our opportunities. We caught some lucky breaks."
Kamehameha-Hawaii finished its season 11-2, the loss snapping an 11-game winning streak.
The Warriors put a scare into the Bulldogs after falling behind 14-3 with 5:21 to play following a 4-yard TD run by Sua, his second of the game and 17th of the season.
Junior quarterback Warner Shaw immediately connected with senior receiver Tavon Pegues for a 66-yard score with 5:10 to play, cutting the lead to 14-9. The 2-point conversion pass was incomplete.
Kaimuki was forced to punt on its next possession, allowing the Warriors their first chance at regaining the lead. Shaw, however, was intercepted by Sua on the Kaimuki 22 with 1:40 to play.
Kaimuki was again forced to punt, the Warriors taking over at midfield with 54 seconds left. The game ended with three straight incomplete passes.
"Our kids never quit; you have to love that," said Warriors coach Dave Baldwin. "That’s the character of the team. It was not decided until the last play."
The Bulldogs took a 7-3 lead into halftime on the strength of Sua’s 3-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter.
Kamehameha took the early lead on a 31-yard field goal by Daniel Grant-Johnson midway through the first quarter.
The rain-plagued game featured a malfunctioning scoreboard and clock and seven turnovers, five by the Bulldogs.
Sua finished with 117 yards on 22 carries, upping his TD total to 21 for the season. He also fumbled twice, the first on his first carry.
"The conditions didn’t make it easy," Onigama said. "The quarterbacks had a hard time gripping the ball. No excuses. Kamehameha did awesome."
"We have some film on the Lunas," Onigama said of Friday’s opponent. "They look to have good team speed. Hopefully our kids took something away from this trip, and they’ll be ready to compete."
Added Baldwin: "All the luck and best wishes for Kaimuki. We’ll be rooting for them."
Kaimuki is 3-3 all time in state tournament games, 2-2 in the Division II tournament. It was their second win over Kamehameha-Hawaii after beating them in 2007.
The Warriors have lost in all four of their trips to the state tournament.
KSH–DJ Grant Johnson FG 31
Kaim–Chester Sua 3 run (Keoki Kaiahua kick)
Kaim–Sua 5 run (Kaiahua kick)
KS-H–Tavon Pegues 66 pass from Warner Shaw (pass failed)
RUSHING–Kaimuki: Sua 22-117, Nahoa Spencer 4-13, Kaulana Moefu 1-7, Manu Moala 4-6, Tre Paderes 1-3, Siaosi Hala’api’api 2-0. Kamehameha-Hawai’i: Kealii Na’auau 6-11, Shaun Kagawa 6-11, Tavon Pegues 1-11, Everett McKee 2-10, Aukai Akau 1-1, Keoni Thompson 3-0, Colby Cabatu 1-0, Reyn Clarke 1-(minus-2), Shaw 4-(minus-8), team 1-(minus-13).
PASSING–Kaimuki: Spencer 9-14-1-89, Dallas Reis 0-1-0-0. Kamehameha-Hawaii: Thompson 6-18-1-20, Shaw 7-15-1-126.
RECEIVING–Kaimuki: Mason Kualii-Moe 4-50, Justice Sarcedo-Deloney 2-12, Nick Motellang 1-19, Kevin Tofiga 1-11, Hala’api’api 1-(minus-3). Kamehameha-Hawaii: Akau 5-29, Pegues 4-99, McKee 1-10, Kagawa 1-6, Na’auau 1-2, Clarke 1-0.