By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
Senior running back Kainoa Kipapa scored two touchdowns and 348-pound fullback David Fangupo rambled 46 yards for another score to lead Kealakehe to a 26-12 win over Waiakea on Saturday afternoon.
About 400 fans watched the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I football game at Wong Stadium.
The Waveriders, under head coach Sam Papalii, improved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the BIIF D-I standings. The host Warriors, under head coach Fred Lau, dropped to 2-5 and 1-3, respectively.
Waiakea played well and the game was tied at 6-6 at the intermission before the mammoth Kealakehe offensive line wore down the much-smaller Warriors and racked up 263 yards in the second half while scoring three times.
Waiakea scored first in the opening half when senior quarterback Kean Wong fired a 41-yard TD pass to senior receiver Dayton Kiko at 5:11 of the second quarter to make it 6-0. The extra-point kick failed due to bad snap and the Waveriders smothered the football.
Kealakehe then struck back with senior QB Jordan Cristobal tossing a 15-yard TD pass to senior Vincent Paogofie with 1:24 left in the intermission to knot the score at 6-all. The two-point conversion run failed.
The Waveriders finally took the lead for good midway through the third quarter. Fangupo, a 6-foot-2, 348-pound fullback/defensive tackle, grabbed a handoff from Cristobal and motored his way 46 yards to score the TD at the 8:52 mark. The two-point conversion run failed, leaving the score at 12-6.
Kealakehe then opened the fourth quarter with a punishing ground game that seemed to zap the Warriors’ strength to tackle. Kipapa, a quick 5-7, 180-pound senior, carried the ball five of the first six downs as the visitors picked up 61 yards while heading toward the goal line. Kipapa had 55 of those yards, including the final 12 on a straight up-the-middle TD run that stretched the Waveriders’ lead to 18-6 at the 10:20 mark. Kipapa added the two-point run as the lead rose to 20-6.
Waiakea tried to rally behind Wong, who had a big day passing with over 200 yards. But twice on Warrior drives in the final quarter, Wong was intercepted by Kealakehe cornerback Giuseppe Zapataoliva, thwarting those scoring attempts.
Kipapa then added his second TD run with 2:59 remaining in the hard-fought contest, sprinting 15 yards to paydirt to extend Kealakehe’s lead to 26-6. The two-point conversion run failed.
But the Warriors weren’t ready to pack it in. Wong, who fought a fierce Waverider rush all day, rifled a 50-yard TD pass to the fleet-footed Kiko, who beat two Kealakehe defenders deep in their territory and scored with 1:34 left. Wong’s two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the score at 26-12.
Waiakea then tried an onside kick, but the Waveriders recovered the ball and after three short running plays, they ran out the remaining time on the scoreboard.
Kealakehe, with Cristobal orchestrating the potent attack, racked up 486 yards in total offense. The Waveriders had 406 yards rushing and 80 passing for its massive total, including 263 yards on the ground in the second half. Waiakea finished with 89 yards rushing and 228 yards passing for 317 total yards.
Cristobal completed 7 of 10 passes for 80 yards and a TD to go along with an interception. Wong finished 14 for 20 passing for the 228 yards and two TDs. He also had three interceptions — two picked off by Zapataoliva and one by Paogofie. Waiakea’s Lono Leasure-Lucas intercepted Cristobal’s pass and also recovered a Waverider fumble.
Wong’s most dangerous receiver on the beautiful afternoon for football was Kiko, who caught only two passes — but both went for TDs, from 41 and 50 yards.
The Madson container-sized Fangupo led Kealakehe’s impressive running attack. He carried the ball and several Waiakea defenders 10 times for 146 yards and a TD. Kipapa had 14 carries, most in the second half, for 109 yards and two TDs. Cristobal added 76 yards on 13 attempts against Waiakea’s hustling defense.
In the junior-varsity contest, Kealakehe topped Waiakea 20-6.
At Wong Stadium
Kealakehe 6 0 6 14 — 26
Waiakea 6 0 0 6 — 12
WAI — Dayton Kiko 41 pass from Kean Wong 41 pass (PAT failed), 5:11
KEAL — Vincent Paogofie 15 pass from Jordan Cristobal (run failed), 1:24
KEAL — David Fangupo 46 run (run failed), 8:52
KEAL — Kainoa Kipapa 12 run (Kipapa run), 10:20
KEAL — Kipapa 15 run (run failed), 2:59
WAI — Wong 50 pass to Kiko (pass failed), 1:34