JV football loses to Nā Ali’i in closest of clashes

JV+football+loses+to+N%C4%81+Ali%27i+in+closest+of+clashes

Photo by Mehana Lee

Sophomore Kiyozo Vaituulala charges King Kekaulike's Kawaika Homalon in the junior varsity football game at KKHS on Oct. 28. In an exhausting display of one-upmanship, Na Ali'i defeated the Warriors 27-26 on a play in the last two minutes of the game.

By Mehana Lee, news writer

Was this football or a gridiron seesaw? Kamehameha Schools Maui junior varsity football fought until the very end in a game marked by back and forth scoring at King Kekaulike’s homecoming, Oct. 28.

The stadium was full of energy and cheering fans as equally determined teams matched each other touchdown for touchdown until Nā Ali’i took the victory, 27-26 in the last 60 seconds of the fourth quarter.

The first quarter of the game was tight with the score remaining 0-0, and both the Warriors and Nā Ali’i stranded midfield. It was a slow start for
both teams.

In the second quarter, all that changed when running back Colton Cabanas ran in a touchdown. Those points were followed by an unsuccessful PAT, but the Warriors were up 6-0.

Not long after the Warrior touchdown, Nā Ali’i’s Brandon Haupu received a long pass and ran in a touchdown. Quinn Kihune blocked Nā Ali’i’s
PAT, and the score was tied, 6-6.

King Kekaulike’s kickoff after was an unsuccessful onsides kick. It was picked up on the 50-yard line by the Warriors’ Elisha Kaio-Keawe.

With only three minutes left in the second quarter, Warriors moved the ball to the 9-yard line with a series of long passes to, first, sophomore Kamahoe Caliva and then, freshman Keawe Rindlisbacher. Quarterback Chase Newton finished up the drive by running in a touchdown.

The Warriors’ conversion attempt was no good.

KS spectators were somewhat relieved that the teams would be hitting the locker rooms soon with the JV Warriors in the lead, 12-6, but ke Ali’i La’akea Gonsalves scored a touchdown on a long pass with only 2o seconds left in the first half of the game, their PAT was good, and the second quarter ended with King Kekaulike in the lead, 13-12.

The third quarter started off with a long run by sophomore Quinn Kihune, which put Newton in position for a touchdown on the next play. The
Warriors’ converted successfully, sending KSM into the lead again, 20-13.

The Warrior defense held up for the next eight minutes, but then, with 1:20 left in the third quarter, Nā Ali’i fought back and scored a touchdown.
Their extra point attempt was blocked, and the quarter ended with Warriors holding onto a slim lead, 20-19.

Repeating an earlier successful strategy, Newton threw two completed long passes. This time, both went to Rindlisbacher, who caught the second one in the end zone scoring a touchdown, but Nā Ali’i shut down their conversion attempt. Warriors still led with a score of 26-19.

With only 2:38 left in the game, Nā Ali’i fumbled on their own 25-yard line, Kamehameha Maui recovered, and Warrior fans once again felt that victory was imminent, but the game began to disintegrate when KSM fumbled on their own 12-yard line, Nā Ali’i quickly recovered, and scored with only 1:21 on the clock.

The stadium held its breath while they waited to see if King Kekaulike would try to tie the game or go for the win, and Nā Ali’i fans erupted in cheers when their team converted successfully, took the lead 27-26, and left only 54 seconds for the Warriors to make a move.

Under crucial pressure with little room for error, the Warriors took to the air. The last play, a hail Mary pass to Rindlisbacher was intercepted by Nā Ali’i’s Haupu, who held onto it until time ran out, and Nā Ali’i took home the win.

It was a night of seesaw ups and downs as, first, the Warriors scored, then Nā Ali’i, then the Warriors and so on for eight total touchdowns evenly split between the two teams.

“Overall, we played well. I had a few mistakes here and there, but we did good. I think that our last turnover was what threw us off, but we continued to fight through it,” said Warrior quarterback Chase Newton.