With a multitude of smashmouth drives and a defense that racked up six sacks, the visiting Farrington Governors rolled to a 35-16 win over Leilehua on Friday night at soggy Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
It was the head coaching debut of Daniel Sanchez, the longtime assistant who was promoted in the offseason after the retirement of Farrington classmate Randall Okimoto.
“I enjoyed that we came out with the win. It was a struggle at times, but the main thing is a lot of the things we didn’t do well, we can fix. We’re disappointed with the lack of discipline, but we can improve on that,” Sanchez said, referring to 175 penalty yards.
Sapati Laloulu scored two touchdowns, one on a 32-yard catch and the other on a 1-yard burst, for the Open Division Governors. The Govs trusted some of their wide receivers — sophomores Raymond Miller and TJ Paleafei, with carries out of the running back position in the second half, and that provided extra juice.
“We had to settle down and play Farrington football. We cleaned that up in the second half. We went to a committee (in the backfield),” Sanchez said.
Farrington’s pass rush befuddled the Mules. They racked up four sacks before halftime, including two by defensive end Justus Rogers-Makainai.
The visitors struck early, getting a 77-yard touchdown on a short pass from freshman Rjay Tagataese to Raymond Millare, who blazed past defenders down the left sideline for a 7-0 Govs lead with 11:13 left in the first quarter.
The Govs had their struggles, as well, against a persistent Mules defense. Their next three series were kneecapped by sacks or turnovers. That included a blown opportunity when Laloulu returned an interception 18 yards to the Leilehua 27 but the Governors came up empty.
The Mules nearly gifted a score to the Govs with three 15-yard penalties during a Farrington drive midway through the second quarter. Sacks by Jashawn Wakefield, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound sophomore, and senior Jaeden Chow ended the threat.
Moments later, a shotgun snap bounced past Mules quarterback Max Nichols and was scooped up at the 24-yard line by Govs defensive end Cameron Faletufuga, who raced to paydirt for a 14-0 lead with 2:13 to go in the second quarter.
Nichols then turned to the veteran pass catcher, Jeremy Evans, in a two-minute drill. He found the 6-4 senior for two hauls of 16 yards each before connecting with him in the right corner of the end zone against double coverage for a 25-yard strike with 23 seconds left in the first half. The PAT snap hit the ground, but the Mules were within 14-6.
SATURDAY GAMES: NONLEAGUE
>> ‘Iolani vs. Kalani at Kaiser Stadium, 6 p.m.
>> Konawaena at Kahuku, 6 p.m.
>> Hilo at Campbell, 6 p.m.
>> Roosevelt at Nanakuli, 6:30 p.m.
>> Kailua at Mililani, 6:30 p.m.
>> St. Francis at Radford, 6:30 p.m.
>> Lahainaluna vs. Kapaa, at Vidinha Stadium, 7 p.m.
>> Pearl City at Kealakehe, 7:30 p.m.
After Akoni Tom-Makue’s 25-yard field goal cut the lead to 14-9, Farrington came up clutch. On fourth-and-7, Tagataese calmly spiraled a swing pass to Laloulu, who sliced through defenders near the right sideline for a 32-yard TD.
Nichols then came up big with a scramble for a 39-yard TD run down the left sideline. That brought Leilehua within 21-16 with 3:40 remaining in the third stanza.
The Govs then went almost exclusively to the ground attack, marching 80 yards in 11 plays. TJ Paleafei, making his debut in the game, carried three times, capping the drive with a 1-yard plunge over the goal line, and the Govs led 28-16 with 11:52 remaining.