King Kekaulike gets over Kamehameha, 23-13


Photo by Faith Owan

Chase Newton with possession of the ball in the football game against King Kekaulike High School on Friday, Sept. 5 at Kana’iaupuni Stadium. King Kekaulike won 23-13.

In a packed Kana’iaupuni Stadium, the two upcountry rivals battled it out, and Nā Ali’i came out on top, winning 23-13.

“It was the first win of the year; the kids fought hard. It was good,” said Kyle Sanches, head coach for King Kekaulike.

Kamehameha Maui and King Kekaulike were equally matched going into the game, both teams were winless in the first round of the Maui Interscholastic League varsity football season.

Kamehamehaʻs quarterback Chase Newton and King Kekaulikeʻs Kawika Akahi are both good leaders who will scramble with the ball as much they will pass it off, and in many ways the offense and defense are also comparable.

Head Coach Cody Nakamura said that he would have to watch the tape to figure out what went wrong and what to do about it, but running back Matthew “Ikaika” Brown-Chong Kee sees one thing that can be improved. “We need to hustle,” he said.

The first half belonged to the Warriors. Their first possession lasted nearly half the first quarter of the game.

In a series of short pass plays and runs by Brown-Chong Kee, freshman quarterback Kainoakeola Sanchez moved the ball 80 yards to the King Kekaulike 19-yard line before getting into a fourth down kicking situation. On the kick by Kealaula Keliikoa, King Kekaulike returned to their own 42-yard line.

On their first possession, Nā Ali’i were only able to move 24 yards, so they kicked, and the Warriors took over on their own 1-yard line.

In their next possession, the Warriors were able to move the ball forward with a combination of carries by Brown-Chong Kee and a keep by senior Chase Newton. Then, a short pass to Chong Kee, who took the ball for 78 yards and a Warrior touchdown.

Brown-Chong Kee racked up more than 150 yards for the game between receiving and running.

Nā Ali’i blocked the extra point attempt, and the score was 6-0, Warriors, with 3:13 left in the first quarter.

“It felt pretty good. I didn’t know that [it] was going to happen,” Brown-Chong Kee said.

Between the first and second quarters, King Kekaulike moved the ball 75 yards in a series of five first downs, but a penalty pulled them back to the Warriors’ 34-yard line. King Kekaulike’s Akahi tried a field goal kick, which was long enough but veered to the left, and resulted in no score.

After moving the ball only 18 yards on Kamehameha’s next possession, the Warriors kicked, and King Kekaulikeʻs Corry Brown caught the ball and ran back 80 yards for a touchdown. The Warriors blocked their point after the kick, and the score was tied 6-6.

On the Warriors’ next possession, they moved the ball 87 yards by rotating Sanchez and Newton in and out, and running a mix-up of running and pass plays until the Warriors scored when Sanchez threw a 10-yard pass to Keanini in the end zone. The score was 13-6 with 1:41 left in the first half. The teams went to halftime with the Warriors in the lead.

This game was Sanchezʻs first outing as a Warrior quarterback.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” he said.  “You’ve got to focus a lot and be a leader more often.”

Within the first minute and a half of the third quarter, King Kekaulike scored when quarterback Kawika Akahi ran 56 yards for a touchdown. This brought King Kekaulike’s into a 13-13 tie.

In the next three possessions, the two teams went fumble for fumble. First, it was Kamehameha’s Sanchez, then King Kekaulike’s Laakea Day, then Kemehameha’s Newton. On the third fumble, King Kekaulike picked the ball up and ran in for the touchdown.The extra point was good for them, breaking the tie with a score of 20-13, with Nā Ali’i in the lead.

The end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth was like a comedy of errors. Both teams held each other to very little progress until King Kekaulike made it into the red zone. They fumbled, and Cabanas recovered. In less then two minutes, the ball was turned over four times. First there was the fumble Cabanas recovered. Then Newton fumbled, and King Kekaulike recovered. Then King Kekaulike threw into the end zone, and Cabanas intercepted. Then Sanchez threw a pass that was intercepted by King Kekaulike.

That put King Kekaulike in good field position. Led by some hard tackles by juniors Chyalis Min and Micahel Kahula, the Warriors held King Kekaulike back, and they ended up kicking a field goal. Min, Kahula, and senior Brennon Aloy were all instrumental in important tackles throughout the game. The score at this point was 23-13, King Kekulike.

Sanchez came back in and threw a flurry of short passes that moved the ball through four downs. But Kamehameha was on the King Kekaulike 19-yard line in a 4th down situation and decided to fake a kick by Cabanas. The snap was low, and in the time it took to gain control, Nā Ali’i were already swarming toward Cabanas, and the Warriors turned the ball over with 2:15 left in the game.

After holding King Kekaulike by pushing them back with a series of false starts called against Nā Ali’i and on the strength of Aloy’s tackles, King Kekaulike kicked to turn the ball over. The ball hit one of the Warriors, became fair game, and King Kekaulike fell on it,  regaining possession.

King Kekaulike took two knees and walked off the field with 14 seconds on the clock.

The final score was 23 for King Kekaulike and 13 for Kamehameha, bringing Nā Ali’i to 1-1 and the Warriors to 0-3 so far this season.