A productive understudy for much of the season, Farrington running back Challen Faamatau delivered when the spotlight turned his way.
With Ranan Mamiya, the Governors’ leading rusher, sidelined in the second half on Friday, Faamatau helped keep Farrington on track in a 22-6 victory over Maui in the first round of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I football championships at Aloha Stadium.
Mamiya ran for 159 yards, raising his season total to 1,205, and a touchdown before leaving the game with a knee injury on Farrington’s second possession of the third quarter. Faamatau picked up 80 of his 141 yards after that point and the Governors advanced to the Division I state tournament semifinals for the third straight year.
“Ranan is a great running back, it’s such an honor to be his backup,” said Faamatau, who now has 730 yards and 10 touchdowns. “I told him, ‘I got your back, you taught me how to be a great running back and I’m gonna be a leader on the field.’ ”
Mamiya said the early diagnosis was a slightly torn MCL in his right knee and he hopes to be available when the Governors (9-2) face second-seeded Mililani (11-0) in the first game of next Saturday’s semifinal doubleheader at Aloha Stadium.
In its first state tournament appearance since 2000, Maui (7-3) took a 6-0 lead with 2:04 left in the first quarter when Daniel Kelly Jr. broke through the middle of the line for a 17-yard touchdown run.
The advantage lasted all of 21 seconds.
Farrington blocked the point-after and on the Governors’ next play from scrimmage Mamiya found running room down the right side and raced to the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown run. Kekoa Sasaoka’s kick gave Farrington a lead it would protect the rest of the way.
“They’re a good physical team and they wore us out a little bit at the end, but a lot of it was our assignments too,” Maui coach David Bui said. “First half I thought we played a very good game — we limited our mistakes, turnovers, penalties, and played good assignment football. Some guys went down. We had some inexperienced guys in there in the second half and we were missing a while lot of assignments in the second half and they were running through some holes.
“We felt like this was a game we could win. We weren’t just happy to be here, we wanted to extend our season another week. In the bigger picture, it’s a good steppingstone for our program, it gives our younger boys some experience in this atmosphere and we hope we can build on that for next year.”