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Roosevelt holds off KS-Hawai’i, 19-14

By Wes Nakama

In an exciting defensive struggle interspersed with several big plays, Roosevelt held off visiting Kamehameha-Hawai’i, 19-14, Friday night in First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division II Football State Championships opening round action at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.

Sophomore quarterback Ioane Kamana’o connected with Jahsiah Souza-Armstead on a 78-yard pass play with 3:10 remaining for the go-ahead touchdown as the Rough Riders improved to 9-3 and advanced to the Nov. 18 semifinal vs. Waimea (2-5) at Hanapepe Ballpark.

Kamehameha-Hawai’i, which had taken the lead just 72 seconds prior on Xander Ho’opai’s 4-yard TD run, ends its season at 11-2.

“Our team, we play as a family,” Kamana’o said. “We don’t want the seniors to end the season badly, so we push to be the best that we can for them, and to help the team.”

Photo: ScoringLive/Michael Lasquero

Roosevelt literally wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, with Nainoa Aguiar taking the opening kickoff, finding a seam up the middle and then darting upfield and racing to the end zone for an 89-yard touchdown. Journey DePeralta’s extra point put the Rough Riders up, 7-0, just 15 seconds in.

DePeralta later nailed a 31-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 1:59 left in the first quarter.

That lead held until four minutes into the second half, when Ho’opai ran it in from two yards out to cap an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive, and Lucas Kay-Wong’s PAT closed it to 10-7.

DePeralta’s 34-yard field goal put the Rough Riders ahead, 13-7, with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, but the momentum shifted quickly and dramatically late in the fourth, when an errant Roosevelt punt snap gave the Warriors first-and-goal at the 4, setting up Ho’opai’s scoring run one play later.

“It did swing the momentum, we were hoping for something like that,” said KS-Hawai’i coach Kealoha Wengler. 

Photo: ScoringLive/Michael Lasquero

But just as quickly, the momentum swung back when Kamana’o connected with Souza-Armstead for the go-ahead score.

“That route was just a simple ‘go’ ball,” Kamana’o said. “It was a busted play because I had to step up in the pocket, but the safety didn’t realize that I had my boy Jahsiah on the go ball, he flew over to the other side. I hit him, and he took it down the field. It was great, I would say it put our morale up to the level we needed to finish out the game.”

On the ensuing possession, the Warriors faced fourth-and-7 from their own 34, and completed a six-yard pass that was spotted just short of the first-down marker.

“That was tough, we hoped we would get a better spot, but they (the officials) had a better view of it,” Wengler said. “Give credit to Roosevelt, they played a fantastic game. This was great competition.”

Rough Riders coach Kui Kaho’oilihala said Kamehameha-Hawai’i presented a big, physical challenge, and Waimea is expected to present another one.

“They’re a tough team, well disciplined, great coaches,” Kaho’oilihala said. “And they’ve been there (to the championship game), right? So hopefully we can go there and play well.”


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