'Iolani snares ILH title, state slot
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Given a new life to defend its Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II football championship, 'Iolani cashed in last night with a 33-19 victory over Damien at Kaiser Stadium for its third straight league crown.
The Raiders (5-5-1 overall, 3-4-1 ILH) will play O'ahu Interscholastic Association White Conference runner-up Kaimuki (6-3-1 overall) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the first round of the DII state tournament at Radford's John Velasco Stadium. 'Iolani won last year's Division II state title and finished second to Campbell in 2004.
"We got lucky and had a second opportunity, so we had to take advantage of it," said Raiders senior quarterback Ryan Dung, who rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries and also completed seven passes for 131 yards last night. "We're a young team, but we knew we're still the ILH and state DII champs until someone takes it away from us."
'Iolani got its second opportunity when Damien was upset by Pac-Five last week, which led to a tie for first place in the regular-season standings and forced last night's winner-take-all playoff.
The Raiders started strong, taking a 16-0 lead and answering every Monarchs challenge the rest of the way.
'Iolani capitalized on a first-quarter interception by Peter Takara and converted it into a 6-0 lead on Justin Yamamoto's 2-yard touchdown run set up by a 40-yard pass from Dung to Aaron Fong. The extra-point attempt failed after a bad snap, but the Raiders made it 13-0 with 2:29 remaining in the quarter on Dung's 83-yard TD sprint on an option keeper around right end.
"I saw the (defensive) end crash down, so I just kept it and ran as fast as I could," Dung said.
Kody Adams' 35-yard field goal made it 16-0 with 6:39 left in the half.
Damien closed to 16-6 at 1:48 before intermission on Kama Bailey's 3-yard touchdown run, but 'Iolani pushed the lead back to 19-6 on a 37-yard field goal by Adams early in the third quarter.
The Monarchs cut it to 19-13 midway through the period on a 10-yard TD run by Bailey, but again the Raiders responded, this time with Dung's 19-yard touchdown run.
Ironically, Dung was considered to be the less mobile of 'Iolani's two quarterbacks, with sophomore Kela Marciel known more for his speed and agility.
"We knew about Kela, but I didn't expect Dung to run that well," Damien coach Dean Nakagawa said. "He played a hell of a game."
Dung's third rushing TD, a 1-yard quarterback sneak, helped the Raiders go up 33-13 with 10:14 remaining, and the Monarchs could not respond until Bailey's 1-yard touchdown plunge with 1:52 left. 'Iolani recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
The Raiders graduated all but one offensive starter from last year's championship team and lost most of its defense, as well. But 'Iolani coach Wendell Look knew his team had a chance to repeat.
"We told them, 'Last year was last year, and this is your year,' " Look said. "We told them they have the talent, they just need to believe in themselves."
'IOLANI (5-5-1, 3-4-1) 6 10 10 0 — 33
DAMIEN (3-7-1, 2-5-1) 0 6 7 6 — 19
'Iol — Justin Yamamoto 2 run (run failed)
'Iol — Ryan Dung 83 run (Kody Adams kick)
'Iol — FG Kody Adams 35
Dam — Kama Bailey 3 run (run failed)
'Iol — FG Adams 37
Dam — Bailey 10 run (Christian Vasconcellos kick)
'Iol — Dung 19 run (Adams kick)
'Iol — Dung 1 run (Adams kick)
Dam — Bailey 1 run (kick failed)
RUSHING — 'Iol: Yamamoto 21-113, Dung 11-122, Kela Marciel 2-(minus-22). Dam: Bailey 28-154, George Martin 9-24, Matthew Mayfield-Bibbs 3-7, Anthony Tuitele 1-12, Rhema Sabate 1-12, Rein Ota 1-0.
PASSING — 'Iol: Dung 7-14-0—131, Marciel 1-2-0—22. Dam: Martin 6-23-1—103.
RECEIVING — 'Iol: Aaron Fong 3-110, Yamamoto 1-5, Jordan Nakamura 2-33, Marciel 1-0, Ronnie Hirokawa 1-5. Dam: Kenneth Rossi Jr. 2-23, J.J. Kaina 1-17, Bailey 2-60, Vasconcellos 1-3.
Reach Wes Nakama at firstname.lastname@example.org.