By Micah Lewter
WAIMEA — On a rare windless day in Waimea, Ka Makani still showed up in full force.
Hawaii Prep took control early and scored often while claiming a 52-6 victory over Kohala in Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II football on Saturday.
“We just want to improve every week,” HPA coach Jordan Hayslip said. “Whether we play or practice, we just want to improve what we do.”
Mission accomplished Saturday.
Junior running back Bobby Lum ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns — while playing only part of the first half — and Ka Makani (2-0 in BIIF Division II, 2-2 overall) scored the first 43 points before coasting to the victory.
Lum gained his yards on 11 carries, and he scored on touchdown runs of 4 and 40 yards.
“I thought Bobby and Blake Hooser both had some good runs today,” Hayslip said.
Hooser carried twice for 25 yards, but he did his damage in the return game. He fielded Kohala’s opening punt and returned it 71 yards for the game’s first score. A failed two-point try left the score at 6-0, but Ka Makani was rolling anyway.
In all, Hawaii Prep managed 316 yards on the ground, led by Lum’s 138 and Kellen Gillins’ 94 yards. Gillins gained his yards in only two carries, the final one a 35-yard touchdown.
As dominant as the HPA ground game was, the defense was equally as strong. HPA limited the Cowboys (0-2, 0-2) to 10 yards on 24 carries.
Senior running back Dakota Tolentino led Kohala with 27 yards on 11 carries, primarily running tough runs between the tackles.
Freshman quarterback Kainalu Emeliano-Solomon went 8-for-20 for 68 yards with two touchdowns, but he also threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to junior Ricky Ching on the first half’s final play.
“We had some good things today,” Kohala coach Reggie Tolentino said. “We had some good runs and some good passes.
“Our defense did good, too. We made some stops and got a fumble.”
Kohala played its first game of the year. The Cowboys took a forfeit a week ago against Kamehameha-Hawaii because several players were ineligible because they did not meet the 15-practice minimum requirement.
So, Tolentino treated Saturday’s game as a season-opener.
“We really have to get our depth up,” Tolentino said. “We need to get more players.”
The Cowboys’ roster for Saturday’s game listed 30 players, but the Cowboys appeared to dress out far fewer than that number.
And the depth difference showed on Saturday. Ten different players carried the ball for Hawaii Prep, and four runners scored. Michael Nakahara scored the final touchdown, a 1-yard plunge on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, and starting quarterback Lii Purdy scored on a 3-yard scramble in the second.
Backup quarterback Koa Ellis added a 13-yard touchdown pass to Nicolas Palleschi in the second quarter, a pretty pass into the corner of the end zone. The duo earlier connected on a two-point conversion pass.
Ellis completed both of his passes for 23 yards. Purdy went 0-for-3.
The road gets tougher for both schools. Hawaii Prep travels to play Kamehameha-Hawaii on Friday, and Kohala will host Konawaena on Saturday.
Kohala 0 6 0 0 — 6
Hawaii Prep 14 29 9 0 — 52
HPA — Blake Hooser 71 punt return (run failed), 9:53
HPA — Bobby Lum 4 run (Kellen Gillins run), 7:48
HPA — Lii Purdy 3 run (Koa Ellis pass to Nicolas Palleschi), 10:53
HPA — Lum 40 run (Kian Quinlan kick), 8:04
HPA — Gillins 35 run (Quinlan kick), 4:37
HPA — Palleschi 16 pass from Ellis (Quinlan kick), 1:10
Koh — Ricky Ching 48 pass from Kainalu Emeliano-Solomon (run failed), 0:00
HPA — Michael Nakahara 1 run (Quinlan kick), 11:45
HPA — Safety (snap through end zone)