Online Extra: Biggest number? Eight turnovers


By KEVIN JAKAHI

Tribune-Herald sports writer

Hawaii Prep running back Bobby Lum rumbled for 189 yards on 27 carries. But that productive rushing average of 7 yards per attempt wasn't the biggest number.

His quarterback, Koa Ellis, kept rolling out left and right and went 11 of 18 for 180 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. But his efficient 61 percent completion rate wasn't the biggest number.

The Ka Makani routed Waiakea 42-12 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation football game before a surprisingly small Friday night crowd of about 300, maybe 280 in Warrior blue T-shirts, at Wong Stadium

Justin Perry was 6 of 6 on PAT attempts, but his perfect kicking rate wasn't the biggest number, and neither was HPA's six touchdowns — four on the ground and two by air.

The biggest number was Waiakea's turnover total: an ugly eight, one interception and seven fumbles. It wasn't raining. And it didn't appear that HPA (4-1 overall, 2-1 BIIF) greased the ball with oil before the Warriors took possession.

If there's possibly a good thing with eight turnovers — something of a huge, huge stretch — it's that only two were converted into Ka Makani touchdowns. HPA had four turnovers, including only one that was turned into a Waiakea score: Pono Auwae's 2-yard run in the third quarter.

Ask any coach what's the key to winning a football game, and they'll emphasize winning the turnover battle 9 times out of 10 with the exception of someone proclaiming, "Not losing the turnover battle."

Turnovers not only give the other team a free scoring opportunity, and a golden gift if the giveaway is in the red zone, but it drains the defense, putting guys back on the field when they should be resting.

In fact on Lum's first five runs, he gained 3, 2, 2, 3 and 5 yards. Waiakea played fundamentally sound defense on him, showing discipline to prevent cutbacks, contain the perimeter, and clog the middle with brute force.

Then something happened. Either the Warriors (2-3, 1-2) lost focus or stamina or the Ka Makani offensive line, led by left tackle Keenan Greenbaum (6 feet 3 and 275 pounds), was just too much. Or maybe a combination of everything.

On his next four runs, Lum (5-8 and 210 pounds) plowed for 10, 7, 14 and 28 yards, the last one a touchdown in the second quarter that increased the lead to 14-0. The preceding touchdown was Kellen Gillins' 57-yard reception from Ellis in the first quarter.

Lum is not the biggest guy on the gridiron and not the fastest (Waiakea's 5-4 Pono Auwae has got wheels), but he's tough to take down. Time after time, he slowly picked up yards after contact — a sign of toughness on his part, and also maybe fatigue on the part of the hosts, with not squaring up on tackles.

Proof of Auwae's speed is his 71-yard kickoff return, after Ellis tossed a 30-yard scoring strike to Perry for a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. The Waiakea sophomore running back electrified the passive crowd with a return that landed near HPA's red zone, at the 29-yard line.

However that drive fizzled, not on a turnover, but on a fourth-and-3 run that was stopped cold.

On Lum's first TD run, the Warriors couldn't tackle him despite sending numbers on a run blitz. The biggest problem was they overpursued. A big gap was left open, and the HPA senior didn't need to batter-ram three or four defenders, only elude one.

Lum recorded his first 100-yard rushing performance, after getting 91 on 22 carries in the 34-21 win over Kealakehe last week, and just 62 yards against Hilo in an 18-10 home loss.

The only negative for HPA's offense, besides those four turnovers, was the line's five penalties for holding, including three in the first quarter. That's something that was a blue moon rarity when Bern Brostek was in charge of the O-line. His son Shane Brostek, a 2012 HPA graduate, is playing ball at Washington.

If there were any Konawaena scouts in the stands, maybe HPA would have been wise to save its tight-set, end-around plays by Gillins. Two runs in the fourth quarter set up the last touchdown. (The Ka Makani host the Wildcats on Saturday in an important showdown.)

He ran that same play twice, gaining 30 yards on one carry and 10 yards on another. Both times, the Warriors didn't contain the perimeter for runs designed to throw changeups at a defense. Both times, the Warriors swung and missed with a tackle at the point of counter-attack.

Gillins caught four balls for 84 yards and rushed five times for 50 yards. He's another gridiron speedster with good wheels. Fellow wide receiver Nicky Palleschi, who had two receptions for 31 yards, is another speed merchant.

Instead of letting Lum or Ellis attempt to score their third touchdown, the call went to Mike Nakahara, a senior fullback, who's used as blocker in the I-formation and a catch-and-run swing receiver.

Nakahara scored on a 13-yard run, and finished with 21 yards on three carries, the same 7 yard per carry average as Lum. Nakahara also had two catches for 16 yards; Lum had one reception for a negative yard.

Meanwhile, the Warriors still haven't solved their kicking woes. They missed a 33-yard field goal and two PAT attempts. All three kicks were low. All three snaps and holds were good.

Bryce Felipe made his second start at quarterback and went 9 of 22 for 93 yards and one interception. 

HPA brought numbers in the box and shackled Waiakea running back Devin Preston to just 39 yards on 13 carries in the first half. But like Lum, Preston is persistent. He doesn't go down easily.

In the second half, Preston rushed for 54 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown to cut the score to 28-6. He finished with 93 yards on 18 carries.

On Waiakea's next series, Auwae scored on a 2-yard run. That trimmed the cushion to 28-12, after the PAT attempt failed for the second time. He had 24 yards on 10 carries.

From there, the Warriors fumbled three more times, getting to their ugly eight — the biggest number in the game.

HPA 7 14 14 7 — 42

Waiakea 0 0 12 0 — 12

First quarter

HPA — Kellen Gillins 51 pass from Koa Ellis (Justin Perry kick), 4:57

Second quarter

HPA — Bobby Lum 28 run (Perry kick), 4:24

HPA — Perry 30 pass from Ellis (Perry kick), 2:30

Third quarter

HPA — Lum 5 run (Perry kick), 10:03

Wai — Devin Preston 35 run (kick failed), 7:33

Wai — Pono Auwae 2 run (kick failed), 4:42

HPA — Blake Hooser 5 run (Perry kick), 11:10

Fourth quarter

HPA — Mike Nakahara 13 run (Perry kick), 4:41

 

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