By Kalani Takase
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAILUKU — It was all or nothing for Kamana Akagi last night.
Two weeks after suffering a concussion that put him in the hospital, the Leilehua senior receiver returned to the field — and his normal form — to lead the No. 3 Mules to a 48-12 win over Baldwin before a crowd of about 2,500 at War Memorial Stadium.
Akagi caught three of Andrew Manley's five touchdown passes to lift Leilehua (9-3) past the Bears (6-4) and into Friday's semifinal round of the High School Athletic Association/First Hawaiian Bank Division I Football State Championships. The Mules will play second-ranked Kamehameha at 7 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.
Leilehua, the O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up, racked up 425 yards of offense and 23 first downs while limiting Baldwin, the Maui Interscholastic League champion, to just 185 yards.
"We learned a lot after that loss to Kahuku," Mules' coach Nolan Tokuda said. "After that we said let's start from scratch, we have two weeks to prepare, let's go back to basics and enjoy this game, because for the seniors, this could have been their last game, so we wanted to practice like it would be our last game."
It was the Bears who got on the board first.
Baldwin moved the ball down to the Leilehua 17-yard line on its opening drive, but Mules' defensive lineman Zach Asuega Coffin tackled Aaron Ross for a four-yard loss on third down and the Bears' settled for a 38-yard Ceejay Santos field goal.
Manley and the Mules answered by orchestrating a 14-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 23-yard touchdown pass to Akagi.
Leilehua attempted — and converted — twice on fourth downs to extend the drive.
"He likes to go for it on fourth (down) a lot," Manley said of Tokuda. "We have a great time doing that and it shows that he believes in us and we were able to get the job done."
Tokuda said he trusted that his team would convert.
"We always say that it's not really a gamble because you trust your kids," he said. "When they say to me 'Coach, let's go for it,' I know they can go out there and execute it for us and I trust them to do it."
Leilehua capitalized on a Baldwin miscue as the ensuing kickoff return was fumbled and DaQuan Wyatt recovered for the Mules at the Bears' 32-yard line.
Manley found Akagi a 10-yard TD pass to the right back corner of the end zone five plays later to make it 14-3 with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
Santos made a 39-yard field goal on Baldwin's next drive to close it to within a possession, but Leilehua scored on three of its next four possessions to surge to a 34-6 halftime lead.
Akagi hauled in his third TD pass — a 3-yarder — from Manley to make it 21-6 midway through the second quarter. After Baldwin mishandled a punt attempt on its next drive, Leilehua got the ball inside the Bears' 5-yard line and Manley hooked up with Fred Padrones for a 4-yard TD pass. Timothy Momiyama's kick made it 28-6 with 6:11 until halftime.
Leilehua got another score just before the half when Manley hit Padrones for a 20-yard TD pass.
"Like I've said, if you don't put pressure on the quarterback — especially Andrew — he's going to pick you apart," Baldwin coach A.J. Roloos said. "You saw that tonight, he just sat back there and threw passes to everybody."
Manley, who finished 23-of-37 passing for 235 yards with no interceptions, said the key was getting ahead of the Bears and capitalizing on takeaways.
"That's what we always want to do, come out and start fast and get up on the other team," he said. "Our defense always picks us up and when they get us turnovers, we feel like we have to score and help them out."
Akagi, who said he was cleared to play on Monday, finished with seven catches for 81 yards.
"It was great. I missed the feeling of being out there," Akagi said. "Before the game, I had butterflies. I was so nervous, but once I got that first hit on me I felt good and ready to go."
Manley praised his favorite target.
"Kamana's a great guy," he said. "He came back from that injury and made some big plays. He did a great job for us today."
Akagi said he took some advice he recently received to heart.
"My dad told me that if I wasn't going to give 110 percent, then he didn't want me playing, because it increases the risk of me getting hurt on the field and I would be hurting my team," Akagi said.
Manley's backup, Jordan Kala'au threw a 16-yard TD pass and ran in a 1-yard score in the second half.
Baldwin scored its only touchdown on a 46-yard pass from Brock Shishido to Sheldon Leong, who finished with 148 yards on seven receptions. The Bears played without standout receiver Ro Wilson, who was held out due to disciplinary reasons, Roloos said.
LEILEHUA (9-3) 14 20 7 7 — 48
BALDWIN (6-4) 6 0 0 6 — 12
Bald — FG Ceejay Santos 38.
Lei — Kamana Akagi 23 pass from Andrew Manley (Timothy Momiyama kick).
Lei — Akagi 10 pass from Manley (Momiyama kick).
Bald — FG Santos 39.
Lei — Akagi 3 pass from Manley (Momiyama kick).
Lei — Fred Padrones 4 pass from Manley (Momiyama kick).
Lei — Padrones 20 pass from Manley (Momiyama kick).
Lei — Mikal Peyton 16 pass from Jordan Kala'au (Momiyama kick).
Bald — Sheldon Leong 46 pass from Brock Shishido (pass failed).
Lei — Kala'au 1 run (Momiyama kick).
RUSHING — Leilehua: Carlos Marshall 12-60, Manley 4-(minus 2), CJ Bailey 4-13, Kyle Cruise Gombio 1-1, Rey Ramos 2-5, Kala'au 2-11, Devin Fontanilla 2-3, Kenan Sadanaga 1-(minus 1), Stan Mersburgh 2-4, team 3-(minus 9). Baldwin: Aaron Ross 7-16, Leong 4-15, Shishido 6-(minus 8), Jonah Pagaduan 4-6, Pasoni Tasini 1-(minus 19), team 1-(minus 7).
PASSING — Leilehua: Manley 23-37-0—235, Kala'au 4-5-0—100, Sadanaga 1-1-0—2. Baldwin: Shishido 13-29-1—183, team 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING — Leilehua: Padrones 6-58, Akagi 7-81, Keanu Sapla 3-39, Bailey 3-40, Darrien Shealy 1-1, Marshall 1-9, Cruse Gombio 1-5, Austin Schmidt 1-2, Jeremiah Andrade 1-11, Elijah Barro 2-73, Peyton 1-16, Stockton Crowley 1-2. Baldwin: J.R. Vergel Dedios 6-35, Leong 7-148.