By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
WAIMEA – Hawaii Prep gave Bobby Lum every opportunity to bounce back, feeding him the ball 20 times in the first half alone.
From what was leftover, Koa Ellis still had ample time to shine.
Ellis threw four touchdown passes and Lum ran for 168 yards Saturday as Ka Makani methodically defeated Keaau 28-0 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation football game.
Coming off a last-second loss a week earlier against Konawaena in which it saw a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter slip away, HPA was balanced and workmanlike against the Cougars (0-5, 0-5 BIIF), scoring a touchdown in each quarter.
“It was great to get back on the field,” Ka Makani coach Jordan Hayslip said. “These players are self-motivated, but we talked about being resilient.”
No player did that better then Lum, who rebounded from a three-fumble performance against the Wildcats to surpass 100 yards for the third time in four games – he had 98 in the other.
“I definitely think he wanted to run hard and be the player that he is,” said Kellen Gillins, who was on the receiving end of a 17-yard touchdown pass as HPA took the opening drive in for score.
Ka Makani (5-2, 3-2 BIIF) churned out 228 yards on the ground. Lum had 127 yards by halftime and finished with 27 carries.
“He let that (Konawaena) game go,” Ellis said. “We circled up in practice Monday and the coaches brought us back.”
The junior quarterback finished 10 of 13 for 147 yards and led four scoring drives of at least 65 yards.
Lum ran 20 yards to start a 14-play, 80-yard march in the second quarter, which Ellis finished with a 6-yard scoring strike to Nicky Palleschi.
The 6-foot-4 Palleschi also made a diving 6-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
“I was seeing him today. I think we have our timing down,” Ellis said.
Ellis’ prettiest pass of the game was a high-arching 50-yard fade that Li‘i Purdy caught in stride as he was streaking down the right sideline.
Ellis says he’s been working on the fade since his Pop Warner days, and the play is quickly becoming a staple of Ka Makani’s offense.
“Usually a two- or three-step drop, and I throw it where I think (the receiver) is going to be.”
The loss to Konawaena kept Ka Makani from having a shot at the top seed in the Division II semifinals. But with a win Friday at Kamehameha , HPA can secure the No. 2 seed and a home playoff game against the Warriors.
“We have to work hard,” Ellis said.
Keaau played turnover free, but HPA held the Cougars to 56 yards of offense in the first half and 146 for the game.
Quarterback George Lucas-Tadeo was 7 of 17 for 62 yards and was sacked once.
“We try to gang-tackle and get to the ball,” Gillins, also a strong safety, said.
The Cougars’ 30 rushing attempts netted just 84 yards. Keaau was 1 of 5 on fourth-down tries and was hampered by seven first-half penalties.
“All we can do is make sure we’re improving,” coach Michael Nonies said. “We take what happened in the game and we go back and make sure it won’t happen again.
“Too many penalties, but we get caught in the excitement.”
Keaau 0 0 0 0 – 0
Hawaii Prep 7 7 7 7 – 28
HPA – Kellen Gillins 17 pass from Koa Ellis (Alex Brost kick), 8:09
HPA – Nicky Palleschi 6 pass from Ellis (Brost kick), 1:29
HPA – Palleschi 6 pass from Ellis (Brost kick), 3:59
HPA – Lii Purdy 50 pass from Ellis (Brost kick), 9:33