Honoka'a is heads above to oust Kapa'a
by Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAIPAHU — Living in the moment, Sage Johnson is celebrating another big achievement for Honoka'a High School.
"I live in the moment, so right now it's state soccer," said Johnson when asked whether it was more exciting to play in this year's state football or state soccer tournaments.
Johnson and Jeremy Yagong both headed in goals in the first half yesterday off throw-ins from Dylan Shiraki to help third-seeded Honoka'a upset No. 2 and defending champion Kapa'a, 2-0, in yesterday's semifinals of the JN Automotive Group/Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Division II Boys Soccer State Championships at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Complex.
Honoka'a (12-2-3), the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion, will play in its first championship game against top-seeded Mid-Pacific (11-2-1) at 5 p.m. today at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium. The game will be televised lived statewide on OC-16 and will precede the Division I final.
As the starting quarterback, Johnson led Honoka'a to its first-ever state football tournament appearance in the fall and was named BIIF Offensive Player of the Year. Yesterday, Johnson scored in the second minute, capitalizing on the perfect connection with Shiraki.
"Dylan, we've been doing it all year," said Johnson, who scored twice in Thursday's quarterfinal win over McKinley and helped the football team win its first BIIF title since 1974. "He puts it in perfect, how I like it. It's like a set play pretty much. That's how we use it. He puts it in the perfect spot."
At 5-foot-3, Yagong headed in the Dragons' second goal in the 26th minute. Both throw-ins by Shiraki were from the left sideline.
After the win, the Dragons got high-fives from their two dozen fans, then were congratulated by fellow BIIF team Makua Lani, which came over after winning its consolation game.
"If they won, I'd want to congratulate them, too," Johnson said. "It's awesome they congratulated us. We played hard against each other."
The Dragons' young midfield helped control possession of the ball yesterday, and goalkeeper Maika'i Coehlo was there when the Warriors (9-4-1) did break through.
"I think our midfield is our strength," said Honoka'a coach Maurice Miranda. "If we posess it, we win it and we can start our attack in the midfield."
NO. 1 MID-PACIFIC 1, SEABURY HALL 0
Cody Sullivan scored in the second minute against the Spartans (7-1-6), helping the Owls return to their first championship game since winning the inaugural Division II title in 2008.
Perhaps the most emotionally-torn fan for tonight's championship game will be Marc Miranda. He coached Mid-Pacific to the 2008 title and was helping his father, Maurice, at Honoka'a earlier this season before he was hired as the University of Hawai'i-Hilo women's soccer coach.
"We're going to give him a heart attack on the sideline," said Mid-Pacific coach Jayson Abe, a former Owls assistant under Miranda. "I don't know who he's going to cheer for. Us being his old team, and Maurice being his dad and head coach at Honoka'a."
Kailua 3, Christian Liberty 2. Goal scorers—Kail: Cameron Lee, Trey Tam, Jesus Gallardo Jr. CL: Richard Moylan 2.
Makua Lani 4, McKinley 0: Goal scorers—ML: Jordan Heres 2, Brandt Mabuni, Dylan Hardie-Jordan.