Maui High Rallies to Beat Kamehameha Maui
By Rodney S. Yap
Snapping the football from center to quarterback is not a perfect exercise. And the few miss snaps Thursday at War Memorial Stadium proved to be game-changers as Maui High rallied behind a pair of second-quarter touchdowns en route to a 48-11 victory over Kamehameha Maui.
The rare Thursday night contest kicked off the 2014 Maui Interscholastic League regular season before a crowd of about 1,200.
Maui High two-way performer Soane Vaohea made his impact felt on both sides of the ball, scoring the Sabers’ first touchdown on a 12-yard run and than intercepting a Kamehameha Maui pass on the next play and returning it 19 yards to the Warriors’ 5-yard line – setting up Tyson Takabayshi’s off-tackle touchdown and the game’s go-ahead score.
The 14-point explosion came in a span of 16 seconds, erasing the Warriors’ hard-fought 5-0 advantage and flipped the momentum of the game in favor of the Sabers at halftime, 14-5.
Kamehameha Maui quarterback Chase Newton threw the interception to Vaohea deep in his team’s own territory after scrambling to pick up the football that sailed over his head from center. Once Newton regained possession he threw the ball across the field, into traffic near the sidelines, as he was trying to avoid a swarm of Saber defenders led by end Atunaisa Vainikolo.
Prior to Vaohea’s touchdown, which capped an 88-yard scoring drive and took 5 minutes, 34 seconds off the game clock, the Sabers paid a hefty price for a stellar goal-line stand at the other end of the field. That’s because the team’s most versatile player and active tackler, Alexander Vainikolo, was whistled for back-to-back personal fouls on fourth down.
Not only did Alexander Vainikolo get ejected from the game as a result of the infractions, but by league rules he has to sit out the team’s next game, against Baldwin next week, Friday, Aug. 29.
The first personal foul came after a miss snap on fourth down, or what looked to be pre-snap movement of the ball by Kamehameha Maui’s center. But instead of walking off the 5-yard penalty, officials ruled Vainikolo, who was playing the nose guard position, baited the Warrior center with a simulated snap count.
After a brief explanation by officials, a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty moved the ball half the distance to the goal and gave KS-Maui another fourth-down, this time at the 1-yard line. Again Vainikolo got great penetration and the Sabers’ defense foiled the Warriors, but activity after the whistle by both teams drew another unsportsmanlike penalty on Vainikolo.
The poor field position led to a safety and gave Kamehameha Maui a 5-0 lead. Zachery Romero’s 27-yard field goal with 2:23 to play in the first quarter put the Warriors on the scoreboard first.
Maui High (2-0) added two third-quarter touchdowns on a 1-yard run by Onosai Emelio and a 20-yard scamper by Vaohea that extended the lead to 30-5.
Vaohea capped his three-touchdown night with a 42-yard interception with 47 seconds left in the game.
Maui High running back Daniel Kelley added two fourth-quarter touchdowns on runs of 13 and 2 yards, respectively. Kelley finished with a game-high 150 yards rushing and Emelio added a touchdown and 111 yards.
Newton passed for 225 yards, hitting receiver Joshua Hiwatashi 13 times for 198 yards.
SABERS 48, WARRIORS 11
Thursday’s Scoring Summary
At War Memorial Stadium
Kamehameha Maui (0-1)….3…..2…..0…..6–11
Maui High (2-0)………………0…14…16…18–48
KM–Zachery Romero 27 FG, 2:32.
KM–Safety, Onosai Emelio tackled in end zone, 7:47.
MH–Soane Vaohea 12 run (kick failed), 2:13.
MH–Tyson Takabayashi 5 run (Emelio run), 1:52.
MH–Emelio 1 run (Takabayashi run), 4:18.
MH–Vaohea 20 run (Takabayashi run), 0:00.
KM–Keoni Keanini 5 pass from Chase Newton (pass failed), 9:24.
MH–Daniel Kelley 13 run (pass failed), 7:15.
MH–Kelley 2 run (run failed), 1:03.
MH–Vaohea 42 interception return (kick blocked), 0:47
* All individual statistics by Rob Collias of The Maui News.