By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
Tristin Spikes rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns and Donavan Kelley added two long TD runs as Division I top-seed Hilo held off No. 4 Keaau 41-26 on Friday night.
About 600 fans watched the Big Island Interscholastic Federation D-I football semifinal game at Wong Stadium.
Hilo (9-1 overall, 8-0 BIIF) will host tonight’s Kealakehe/Waiakea winner in the BIIF championship game Nov. 2 at Wong Stadium. The second-seeded Waveriders (3-5, 3-4) host the third-seeded Warriors (2-7, 2-5) at 7:20 p.m. today in this weekend’s other semifinal.
The Vikings, under coach David Baldwin, dominated the first half with the ultra-quick Spikes and clever Kelley terrorizing the hustling Cougars (1-7, 1-7). Spikes, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior running back, ran for 214 yards and two TDs in the half and Kelley, a 5-7, 170-pound junior quarterback, scored on runs of 55 and 43 yards as the hosts led 34-6 at the intermission.
But the hustling Cougars fought back in the physical second half, led by senior QB George-Lucas-Tadeo and senior receiver Usti Koga, who combined on a pair of TD passes in the fourth quarter to slice the final Hilo cushion to 41-26. The productive duo finished the at times rainy evening with three TDs — on hook-ups of 36, 13 and 12 yards, respectively.
The Cougars’ other touchdown came on a Lucas-Tadeo 39-yard pass to Jared Makaweo-Quihano in the third quarter.
Overall, Lucas-Tadeo completed 14 of 31 passes for 320 yards and four TDs, and he threw two interceptions — one nabbed by Hilo’s Kui Mortensen, the other by Makana Josue-Ma’a. But after being held to only 89 yards passing in the opening half, Lucas-Tadeo hit on 10 of 18 passes for 231 yards and three TDs in the second half to spark the Cougars.
For the night, Spikes finished with 228 yards in 12 carries and TD runs of 10, 25 and 83 yards.
“We wanted to execute tonight, and I want to thank my line for opening the holes for me to run,” Spikes said. “I just want to stay humble. This was Senior Night and we’re excited about playing for the BIIF championship.”
Kelley also took advantage of Hilo’s big block, rushing for 101 yards on three carries and scoring twice.
The Vikings piled up 361 yards on the ground in the first half and finished with 389 yards rushing. Hilo also had only one pass completion in four attempts, a 19-yard pass from backup QB Sione Atuehako to Kelley in the second quarter. The hosts had 408 total yards for the game.
Atuekaho also scored on a nifty 34-yard run run in the second quarter to give the Vikings their 34-6 lead heading into the intermission.
Keaau had 31 yards rushing and 320 passing for 351 total yards.
But the emotional Hilo-Keaau game was a tale of two halves and included a third-quarter scrum between the teams in which two players were ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct. It followed an interception by Hilo’s Mortensen deep in Viking terrority and a hard Keaau tackle.
Players from both teams then came onto the field and a handful of players got into a shoving match before the game officials and coaches restored order. Up until that point, the Vikings had dominated and held a 34-14 advantage.
“It was chaos and confusion,” Baldwin said. “Our offensive guys saw Kui get the interception and ran on the field as part of the change in possession. I couldn’t really see what was going on after the play, but when I saw the Keaau players come off the bench, I had to go out there to try to help calm things down.”
Once the teams were ushered back to their sidelines and two parents who came onto the field were turned away by Hilo High personnel, the game officials reviewed the play and then ejected a player from each team. But the stoppage of play seemed to affect the Vikings much more than the Cougars, who outplayed the hosts most of the half behind the consistent passing of Lucas-Tadeo and a fired-up defense.
Keaau limited the Vikings to only 28 yards rushing and 19 passing in the second half. Hilo also lost three fumbles in that wild, wet third quarter.
“Despite the weather, we were able to establish our game plan and ran the ball well in the first half,” Baldwin said. “But after the incident, we changed our game plan. We wanted to get the win and make sure no one got injured. It was an emotional game and there was a lot of confusion in the third quarter.”
The BIIF will review game tape of the third-quarter incident to determine if any Hilo players left the bench during the that time, which could lead to a suspension. But Baldwin is confident the only players that left his sideline were members of his offensive unit which came onto the field after the interception.
“It was difficult to clearly see what all was going on,” the Hilo coach said. “It took awhile to settle down and from there, the game took on a different perspective. But I’m confident the BIIF will see that our kids on offense were just taking the field as part of the change of possession.”
No one was injured during the shoving incident between the teams.
“The referees did their best,” Baldwin said. “These are high school kids and emotions were running high. But it’s good that everything settled down pretty quickly and we moved on from there.”
In the junior-varsity game, Hilo rolled to a 45-14 win over the Cougars.
Keaau 6 0 6 14 — 26
Hilo 21 13 0 7 — 41
HILO — Donavan Kelley 55 run (Rayce Takayesu kick), 11:40
KEAAU — George Lucas-Tadeo 36 pass to Usti Koga (kick failed), 7:10
HILO — Tristin Spikes 83 run (Takayesu kick), 5:20
HILO — Kelley 43 run (Takayesu kick), 1:33
HILO — Spikes 25 run (Takayesu kick), 8:53
HILO — Sione Atuekaho 34 run (kick failed), 6:50
KEAAU — Lucas-Tadeo 18 pass to Jared Makaweo-Quihano (run failed), 8:31
HILO — Spikes 10 run (Takayesu kick), 11:29
KEAAU — Luas-Tadeo 13 pass to Koga (run failed), 3:59
KEAAU — Lucas-Tadeo 12 pass to Koga (Richard Hataori-Kanakaole run), :35