Going into Saturday night’s game at Carleton E. Weimer Field, No. 5 Kahuku was looking up at No. 4 Campbell in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10. But the Red Raiders made certain they’ll be looking down at the Sabers on Monday when the new rankings come out. They played their familiar brand of hard-nosed, no-frills running football in a 35-7 rout.
A suffocating defense and an overpowering offensive line got the deed done. And the numbers tell the tale. Campbell netted 7 yards rushing. On the other side, Kahuku runners plowed for 440 yards, including 261 by junior Zealand Matagi and 88 by Lalio Kaluna.
“It was a great win,” a smiling Red Raiders coach Sterling Carvalho said afterward. “It was no secret. The game plan was very simple. Campbell has great athletes playing two ways. We just had to make them play one way, which was defense.”
Matagi got things rolling in the first quarter for the Red Raiders (3-1, 2-1 OIA Open), scoring on a 22-yard sweep right for a 7-0 lead. That touchdown was made possible by Frisco Aveau’s interception.
Running behind the bulls up front and fullback Jack Tito, Kahuku struck again midway through the second quarter with a 13-play drive. This time, Kaluna bulled into the end zone from 2 yards out.
“(Fullback) Jack Tito, No. 34, I gotta give it up for him,” Matagi said. “He’s my man.”
Matagi was sure to credit his O-linemen, too, including Marcus Lombard and Siosaia Nisa.
“The win was good, but we have so much more to work on,” Matagi added. “And we’re going to need to do more and work more with Timpview coming up (Friday in Provo, Utah).”
Late in the second quarter, Matagi scored his second of three TDs with an 80-yard burst that started with a big hole off right tackle. He bounced to the outside, where he found a one-on-one matchup and ran through his defender with a burst of speed and was off to the races for the six points and a 21-0 halftime bulge.
The Red Raiders’ biggest mistake of the night, a fumble on the kickoff return to start the second half, allowed Campbell to get within 14 at 21-7 on Blaine Hipa’s 20-yard TD pass to Titus Mokiao-Atimalala in the left corner of the end zone.
But Matagi was back at it again, this time taking two tacklers up the middle with him for the first 10 yards before they fell off during a 70-yard TD run.
The Red Raiders began to put some ribbon on the victory package with a goal-line stand late in the third. The Sabers (1-3, 1-2) couldn’t punch it in from the 1 on four tries, thanks in part to two big hits by the Red Raiders’ Kenai Liua.
After that, Tito had some end zone fun, getting the call for a 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to virtually wrap it up.
“We knew what they (the Red Raiders) were going to do and they did well and they played better than us tonight,” Campbell coach Darren Johnson said. “We gotta go back and get better if we want to come back and meet them again and play the brand of football we’re capable of.”