No. 3 Surfriders knock off No. 6 Tigers, 41-28
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Running back Nathan Leaver rushed for four touchdowns to lead Kailua over McKinley, 41-28, in an O'ahu Interscholastic Association football semifinal last night before 5,519 at Aloha Stadium.
The Surfriders (9-1), ranked third in The Advertiser Top 10, will meet eighth-ranked Castle (7-4) in Friday's championship, a rematch of last year's co-championship won by Kailua, 13-7. In a regular-season meeting, the Surfriders also prevailed, 20-0. Kailua is 1-5 in OIA championships, while Castle is 0-5.
The No. 6 Tigers (7-4) will play Farrington (6-5), which lost 13-9 to Castle in the other semifinal, for third place next Saturday at Roosevelt.
Leaver rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries and Bronson Kamaka added 93 yards on 13 rushes.
"Any running back can run behind our offensive line," said Leaver, out the first half of the season with an ankle injury. "They did a great job. I just did my job.
"The passing game opened things up because they have to think about our screens. That gives me room to run."
Added McKinley coach David Tanuvasa on Kailua's massive and effective offensive line: "They got a bunch of big boys and they're in great shape."
Kailua's defense came up with three turnovers two fumbles and an interception and seven sacks because of staunch coverage by the secondary.
"The key was trying to stop their receivers," Kailua coach Darren Johnson said. "If they can't get open, (quarterback Abel Werner) can't get them the ball."
Werner completed 15 of 22 passes for 203 yards with one interception by Sol Cuban.
The Surfriders took a 21-14 lead into the half largely because of a turnover and mis-tackles by the Tigers.
After taking the opening kickoff, running back Michael Vasconcellos fumbled on McKinley's first play from scrimmage, as Ikaika Naki recovered at the McKinley 26. Five plays later, Leaver scored on a 3-yard run, as Kailua took a 7-0 lead.
But McKinley came back on its ensuing possession, moving 70 yards in four plays with Vasconcellos scoring on a 9-yard run to tie the game at 7. On the previous three plays, Werner was 3 of 3 for 61 yards.
Kailua broke the tie early in the second quarter with Leaver scoring from four yards on a toss right to make it 14-7.
Again, McKinley tied the game on its next series, thanks to a failed onside kick attempt by Kailua that gave the Tigers possession at their 45. Ten plays later, Werner hit Iama Lanvao on a 7-yard TD pass to tie it at 14.
But the Surfriders didn't take long to respond. Wide receiver David Kaihenui broke four tackles en route to a 50-yard pass play from Ranson Kepa with 3:20 left in the half to put the defending co-champions ahead at the half.
The Surfriders snapped the alternating TD rhythm early in the second half, when Leaver scored his third TD on an 11-yard run to make it 28-14.
But McKinley cut its deficit to 7 again after a 23-yard TD pass from Werner to Isaiah Iaea with 11:03 left in the game.
Leaver scored from 46 yards and Kamaka added a 12-yard TD run for Kailua, while Vasconcellos scored on a 3-yard run for McKinley late in the fourth quarter.
MCKINLEY (7-4) 7 7 0 14 28
KAILUA (9-1) 7 14 7 13 41
- KailNathan Leaver 3 run (Michael Sakaba kick)
- McKMichael Vasconcellos 9 run (John Mai kick)
- KailLeaver 4 run (Sakaba kick)
- McKIama Lanvao 7 pass from Abel Werner (Mai kick)
- KailDavid Kaihenui 50 pass from Ranson Kepa (Sakaba kick)
- KailLeaver 11 run (Sakaba kick)
- McKIsaiah Iaea 23 pass from Werner (Mai kick)
- KailLeaver 46 run (kick failed)
- KailBronson Kamaka 12 run (Sakaba kick)
- McKVasconcellos 3 run (Mai kick)
RUSHINGMcKinley: Werner 13-23, Vasconcellos 13-74, Anapuni Coleman 2-(minus 2). Kailua: Kepa 8-44, Leaver 19-121, Kamaka 13-93, Kealii Kalahiki 1-17.
PASSINGMcKinley: Werner 15-22-1203, Coleman 3-8-041. Kailua: Kepa 8-21-2121, Kalahiki 0-1-00.
RECEIVINGMcKinley: Iama Lanvao 6-81, Joshua Bumanglag 1-19, Iakopo Taumua 2-16, Vasconcellos 4-27, Isaiah Iaea 5-101. Kailua: Leaver 1-0, Brad Ching 2-32, Kekoa Sua-Brown 2-15, Kalahiki 2-24, David Kaihenui 1-50.