Roosevelt advances in Division II football state tournament with rout of Kamehameha-Hawaii
A year after a 12-win season ended in a 38-point blowout at Lahainaluna, Roosevelt will see just how far it has come since.
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KEAAU, Hawaii >> A year after a 12-win season ended in a 38-point blowout at Lahainaluna, Roosevelt will see just how far it has come since.
The Rough Riders took care of host Kamehameha-Hawaii 31-7 on Saturday night in the first round of the Division II bracket of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships, setting up a rematch with the three-time defending state champion Lunas on Saturday at Sue D. Cooley Stadium in Lahaina.
The Rough Riders (10-2) held their eighth different opponent this season to seven points or fewer to earn the school’s second win in the state tournament.
“This year we’ve come too long a way to go up there and lose again,” said senior linebacker Keneke Gusman, who had 51⁄2 tackles for loss and three sacks against the Warriors. “I will say this: We will do our best to prepare and study and do whatever we can to beat Lahainaluna.”
Roosevelt had three weeks off after losing on a last-second field goal to Kaimuki in the OIA championship game, forcing the Rough Riders to make the trip to the Big Island to play in the opening round.
With lightning flashing in the distance — not close enough to warrant a stoppage in play — the Rough Riders lowered the boom on defense, holding KS-Hawaii (10-4) to 108 total yards, including 8 yards rushing on 34 attempts.
“Again, our defensive guys kept us in the game,” Roosevelt coach Kui Kahooilihala said.
Roosevelt had nine tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in the first half to build a 24-0 lead at intermission.
Rough Riders senior Shepherd Kekahuna, who last year was watching the state tournament after St. Francis was forced to forfeit its season for the use of an ineligible player, scored twice in the second quarter and finished with three TDs in the game.
He picked up a fumbled snap and scooted 39 yards for a touchdown with less than four minutes left before the break and scored on a 2-yard run 66 seconds later after Kaleo Akana’s strip-sack that was recovered by Kekai Kaimikaua and return to the KS-Hawaii 5-yard line.
“We were all hungry to play (this) game today,” Kekahuna said.
Roosevelt scored 17 of its first 24 points off turnovers with the other TD coming after Kalua Nahale’s blocked punt gave Roosevelt the ball at the KS-Hawaii 15-yard line.
Kekahuna was stuffed twice for no gain before quarterback Sky Ogata found Chase Akana on third down for a 15-yard TD to open the scoring.
Ogata had a potential 72-yard TD go off the hands of an open receiver but was otherwise shut down by the Warriors. He finished with a season-low 140 passing yards, completing 14 of 31 attempts with four interceptions.
“Our offense — we had some hiccups, man,” Kahooilihala said. “You’ve got to finish the game. We’ve got to do a better job because Lahainaluna, man, they are an awesome team.”
Kekahuna added a 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter for the final margin after KS-Hawaii scored on a 6-yard TD pass from freshman Michael Perry to Izayah Chartrand-Penera, who made an impact on both sides of the ball.
Chartrand-Penera and Joshua Luiz had two picks apiece and Delson Marshal Kahahane Nurial Dacalio had three sacks to lead the Warriors, who dropped to 1-7 all-time in the Division II state tournament.
Kekahuna led all players with 13 tackles.