Leilehua beats St. Francis
Saturday night’s high-intensity finish between Leilehua and St. Francis, the first meeting between the schools, left fans of both teams wanting more.
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ST. FRANCIS 9
What a way to kick off a series.
Saturday night’s high-intensity finish between Leilehua and St. Francis, the first meeting between the schools, left fans of both teams wanting more. St. Francis was scoreless for three quarters but staged a fourth-quarter rally and had the ball looking for the end zone from the Mules’ 10-yard line with the seconds ticking away.
On fourth-and-3, St. Francis quarterback Jonah Aina-Chaves shaded right and hit Scott McLeod in stride at around the 2. It looked like McLeod was poised to score the game winner, but there was contact right as he prepared to cross the goal line and the ball squirted free. The Mules fell on it in the end zone for the touchback with five seconds left to finally earn the right to exhale at their Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
“That was a heck of a game,” said Leilehua coach Mark Kurisu, who made his debut as full head coach after guiding the Mules on an interim basis back in 2011.
There was some debate as to whether McLeod crossed the plane before he lost the ball.
“It was the right call,” Kurisu said. “The one ref on that side who makes every call (there) called it right. I respect a referee who makes a call and continues to make the same call and isn’t afraid to step up.”
St. Francis coach Kip Akana wasn’t so sure.
“Well, we had instant replay, maybe we would’ve had … maybe the call goes our way, maybe it doesn’t,” Akana said. “The referees are paid to do their job. We have a lot of faith in the referees. They made the calls that they did, and we’re OK with it.
Watch Paul Honda’s video of the first game played at Skippa Diaz Stadium between Farrington and Kamehameha here.
“Hard to tell (last play). Of course, if you ask us, he crossed (the plane). From our angle, hard to see. I’m not gonna argue about the call. That was the call that was made on the field and again we respect the referees. They got a tough job.”
The Mules had themselves to blame for it getting to that point. They enjoyed a 13-0 lead with five minutes left in the third on Kona Andres’ beautifully lobbed ball to Jeremy Ramos from 19 yards out.
Earlier, senior Jaeden Chow had a 90-yard scoop-and-score touchdown on a self-inflicted Saints fumble.
“I stepped on the ball, actually,” said Chow, who feigned an anguished sound. “I picked it up and I just ran. I never wanted to look back.”
But the Saints kept marching in.