Damien, Iolani battle to 34-34 tie
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
It didn't have as much fire power of last year's memorable game, but it was just as thrilling.
Running back Kama Bailey's 12-yard touchdown run with 56 seconds left and quarterback George Martin rolled right to run in the 2-point conversion to help Damien rally to tie No. 7 Iolani, 34-34, last night in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu season opener at Aloha Stadium.
The back-and-forth affair was much like last year's game, when Iolani held off Damien, 57-49. But this one had fans on their feet to the last incomplete pass as time expired.
It was a well-played game that really no one deserved to lose.
"They gave a great effort. You can't ask for anything more," Iolani coach Wendell Look said. "I'm not unhappy with their effort. They played pretty well."
"I'm very proud of the way these guys battled all the way to the end," Damien coach Dean Nakagawa said.
Iolani tried to increase its 34-28 lead with 3:01 left when Kody Adams missed a 23-yard field goal try, his third miss of the night that was truly uncharactertistic of the usually accurate place-kicker. The Monarchs started from their 20 and later faced fourth-and-2 from the Iolani 29 with 1:26 left. Martin hit Kenneth Rossi Jr. on a 17-yard pass for a first down to the Iolani 12. Bailey raced to the right side for the 12-yard TD run with 56 seconds left. Martin then rolled right for a designed pass play, but got some blocks up front and muscled his way against an Iolani defender for the 2-point conversion that tied the game.
"My teammates made a good effort and good blocks," Martin said of his decision to run.
Iolani took the ensuing kickoff to its 31 and eventually faced third-and-15 from Damien's 49. Iolani quarterback Ryan Dung's pass to Reid Furukawa was intercepted by Bronson Ahakuelo with six seconds left at the Damien 33. Martin's Hail Mary pass was incomplete as time ran out.
The game was like deja vu.
Bailey rushed for 301 yards on 34 carries and three touchdowns, including an electrifying 76-yarder.
Overshadowed was Iolani running back Justin Yamamoto's 132 yards on 18 carries, including two TDs, one of 39 yards.
Iolani's Dung, backup to all-state pick Kiran Kepo'o last year, passed for 254 yards and had TD passes of 82 yards to Ronnie Hirokawa and 40 to Lionel Fujioka in the fourth quarter.
"I was having flashbacks of last year," Look said of Bailey's performance in reference to Kealoha Pilares' 50-rush day for 300 yards and four rushing TDs and another on a kickoff return.
The scorefest began with Dung's 82-yard TD pass. Each team scored on their ensuing series with Iolani leading 20-13 at the half.
Damien wasted little time to tie the game at 20 in the third quarter. On its first play from scimmage, Bailey scooted 76 yards with Wayland Sakamoto's PAT tying the game.
Iolani regained the lead on a three-yard end-around by Reid Furukawa to make it 27-20. But Damien responded on its next series with a one-yard sneak by Martin with 3:41 left in the third quarter. The Monarchs' fake PAT try failed, putting them one point behind.
IOLANI (2-1-1, 0-0-1) 6 14 7 7—34
DAMIEN (1-2-1, 0-0-1) 0 13 13 8—34
Iol—Ronnie Hirokawa 82 pass from Ryan Dung (kick failed)
Dam—George Martin 1 run (kick blocked)
Iol—Justin Yamamoto 39 run (kick failed)
Dam—Kama Bailey 20 run (Wayland Sakamoto kick)
IOL—YAMAMOTO 4 RUN (AARON FONG PASS FROM DUNG)
Dam—Bailey 76 run (Sakamoto kick)
IOL—REID FURUKAWA 3 RUN (KODY ADAMS KICK)
Dam—Martin 1 run (pass failed)
Iol—Lionel Fujioka 40 pass from Dung (Adams kick)
Dam—Bailey 12 run (Martin run)
RUSHING—Iolani: Dung 3-13, Yamamoto 18-132, Furukawa 5-6, Kela Marciel 1-(minus 2). Damien: Martin 4-12, Bailey 34-301, Chris Cross 1-1, Kaimana Balanon 6-14, Rein Ota 2-50, Haku Correa 1-4, Team 1-(minus 6).
PASSING—Iolani: Dung 15-23-1—254. Damien: Martin8-16-0—74.
RECEIVING—Iolani: Furukawa 5-49, Fujioka 4-55, Hirokawa 2-102, Fong 2-11, Yamamoto 1-(minus 3), Jordan Nakamura 1-30. Damien: Kawika Anders 1-3, J.J. Kaina 3-34, Ota 2-10, Bailey 1-10, Kenneth Rossi Jr. 1-17.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com.