By JOE FERRARO
KAILUA-KONA — They answered each Farrington touchdown with one of their own Saturday, giving them a chance to get something they’ve wanted since starting spring training sessions in April: their first win in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships.
But in the end, the Kealakehe Waveriders couldn’t stop a Governors’ rushing attack Kealakehe coach Sam Papalii said was in “steamroll mode.’’
Tyler Taumua rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns, and Abraham Silva ran for 144 yards and two scores as Farrington defeated Kealakehe 34-25 Saturday in a Division I first-round game at Waverider Stadium.
Behind a line averaging 320 pounds per man, the Governors (10-2) gained 220 of their 309 rushing yards in the second half, averaging 10 yards per carry after halftime.
“We had to slow them down in the second half, and we couldn’t do it,’’ Papalii said.
The victory earned Farrington, the Oahu Interscholastic Association No. 3 seed, a spot in next Friday’s semifinals at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium, where the Governors will take on top seed Kahuku (10-0) at 7:30 p.m.
Taumua said he saw signs of fatigue in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Waveriders (10-2) in the third quarter.
“They had their hands on their hips, and they were breathing heavily,’’ Taumua said. “We needed to take advantage.’’
They did, scoring on their first three drives of the second half against a Kealakehe team that got within three two points of the Governors three times.
On the last of the Waveriders’ touchdown drives, Kealakehe took advantage of a roughing-the-punter penalty, and Waveriders senior running back Lennox Jones promptly scored a 40-yard touchdown run on one of Kealakehe’s patented misdirection plays.
However, Farrington stopped Jones on Kealakehe’s ensuing 2-point conversion run, leaving the Governors with a 27-25 advantage with 6:48 remaining.
Jones finished with 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
Farrington then put the game away with an 11-play, 74-yard drive Taumua capped by probing the middle of the line before bouncing to the outside for a 7-yard touchdown run.
After a Governors timeout, kicker Justin Tamashiro, who earlier missed an extra point and a 37-yard field goal with 7.4 seconds left in the first half, drilled the PAT to make it a two-possession game with 2:41 left.
Farrington’s Setefano Lavatai then put the icing on the cake by picking off Waveriders quarterback Jordan Cristobal on a third-and-15 play.
Cristobal finished 4-of-9 for 53 yards and two interceptions, and the Governors limited him to minus-4 yards on 14 carries.
However, the senior quarterback kept two scoring drives alive in bad situations.
On third-and-23, he scrambled to his left and found Vincent Paogofie for a 26-yard completion. Three plays later, Kainoa Kipapa punched in a 1-yard touchdown run that made it 14-12 with 8:54 left in the third quarter.
On the Waveriders’ next drive, Cristobal completed a 17-yard pass to Giuseppi Zapataoliva on a fourth-and-9 play.
“We had a strong season,’’ Kealakehe linebacker Kyler O’Halloran said. “We couldn’t execute when it mattered the most.
“But we left it all on the field. As long as you get give it your all, that’s all you can ask.’’
The Governors capitalized on a handful of Waverider miscues in the first half.
Trailing 6-0, Farrington turned took control of the game for good on Kealakehe’s second drive of the game, when Cristobal couldn’t handle a low punt snap.
Governors linebacker Syndreck Dsio dragged down Cristobal at the Waverider 31-yard line, and Farrington responded with a 10-play drive Taumua capped by probing through the left side of the line for a 2-yard touchdown run.
Farrington padded its lead when senior linebacker Aisea Tavae recovered a fumble by Kealakehe’s Kainoa Kipapa on the Waverider 28.
It took the Governors just six plays to cash in, with sophomore quarterback Montana Liana faking an inside handoff and pitching the ball to Taumua, who ran around the left edge for a 16-yard touchdown run and a 14-7 Farrington lead with 7:27 left in the first half.
The Waveriders accumulated eight penalties for 53 yards in the first half, and a handful of them hurt Kealakehe.
After Taumua’s first touchdown, the Waveriders committed back-to-back encroachment penalties, prompting Farrington to attempt a 2-point conversion run, and Taumua got into the end zone.
“We made mistakes, and you can’t hurt yourself against a good team,’’ Papalii said.
Farrington 8 6 7 13 — 34
Kealakehe 6 0 6 13 — 25
Keal — Lennox Jones 1 run (kick blocked), 8:31
Far — Tyler Taumua 2 run (Taumua run), 2:00
Far — Taumua 16 run (kick failed), 5:30
Keal — Kainoa Kipapa 1 run (run failed), 8:54
Far — Abraham Silva 16 run (Justin Tamashiro kick), 7:08
Keal — David Fangupo 1 run (Keoni Yates kick), 11:56
Far — Silva 5 run (kick failed), 10:27
Keal — Jones 40 run (run failed), 6:48
Far — Taumua 7 run (Tamashiro kick), 2:41