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Bulldogs roll past Tigers, 69-20

Saturday, September 3, 2022 | By Nick Abramo

Kaimuki is trending upward.

The Bulldogs won their second straight OIA Division II game Friday night, rolling past McKinley 69-20 at Roosevelt’s Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.

For much of the night, it was the Ofa Vehikite show. The 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior running back sped for 209 yards on just nine carries and scored four touchdowns on runs of 73, 85 and 23 yards and a 68-yard pass from Iosefa Letuli.

“Ofa is a very hard worker in the weight room,” Bulldogs coach Reid Yoshikawa said. “Over the summer, he squatted 400 pounds and he ran a 4.5-ish at a combine. He’s a really good athlete.”

There were other big offensive plays for Kaimuki, including Avin Tanioka’s 72-yard TD run, that also exploited the Tigers’ inability to wrap up on their tackles.

Vehikite got things going quickly, with his 73-yard TD run coming on the first play from scrimmage for a 7-0 lead.

But, six minutes into the game, McKinley (0-4, 0-3 OIA D-II) immediately got it back for a 7-7 count on a long drive led by quarterback Afi Tofagau that he finished off with a TD pass to Tanner Hiromasa.

From there, the rest of the half belonged to to the Bulldogs (2-2, 2-1), who took a 49-7 edge at the break.

“I’m happy our kids are playing together,” Yoshikawa added. “They’re starting to form a family  and starting to trust each other.”

Added Vehikite: “I wouldn’t be scoring without the line, and first of all, I thank the man above for everything. And these boys are like a second family.”

Letuli, the Kaimuki quarterback who threw for 221 yards and three TDs, completed a nice fade to Jeremiah White in the left corner of the end zone for a 15-yard second-half TD.

In the late stages, McKinley found the end zone twice — on Makana Williams’ 18-yard run and Hiromasa’s second TD catch, this time on a 29-yard pass from Togafau.

“I’m just proud of the boys and how they played, even though we lost,” Hiromasa said. “I feel like we could have done better, but we persevered.”

Among the defensive standouts were White and Tanioka with interceptions for the Bulldogs, and Preston Note with a pick and Iosua Sefo with a fumble recovery for the Tigers. Offensively, Note also had a productive night with nine receptions for 106 yards.

McKinley coach Kale Ane, who won two state championships as the head man at Punahou, is in his second season trying to restore a winning tradition.

“We did some good things,” Ane said. “But it snowballs when you mistakes and it’s tough to come back from that. We’re fighting to teach them how to deal with adversity and how to get up when things are going tough.”

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