By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Devin Preston produced another highlight performance, putting up nice rushing and reception numbers and entertaining the crowd with three touchdowns, but he couldn't rescue Waiakea, which was victimized by its inability to kick the football through the goal posts after touchdowns.
Kamehameha edged Waiakea 27-25 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation game under the Friday night lights at Wong Stadium, where kicking and a few other fun things made all the difference.
In a battle between two schools with the same nickname, the host Warriors (2-2 overall, 1-1 BIIF) and private-school Warriors (2-2, 1-1) each scored four touchdowns. Kamehameha's Logan Uyetake was 3 of 4 on PAT attempts. Waiakea was 1 of 3; the other miss was a two-point pass attempt.
Going into the game, it figured to be a matchup of tough-nosed senior running backs. Preston had stellar all-around numbers. He rushed for 115 yards, including a pair of touchdowns, on 24 carries, a 4.8 yard per attempt average. He had two catches for 54 yards, including a 40-yard TD with 1:39 left in the game.
His counterpart, Ina Teofilo, didn't catch any passes but the Kamehameha running back earned his 129 yards on 30 carries, a 4.3 yard per rush average. Every time he was the lone back in the spread, he got a handoff and Waiakea's defense targeted him with authority, not worrying at all that he would sneak into the flats and catch a pass.
Likewise, both quarterback sparkled. Kamehameha's Micah Kanehailua was an efficient strike thrower, 10 of 12 for 132 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Waiakea's Bryce Felipe was a long-range bomber, and went 10 of 20 for 241 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Felipe, also a pitcher on Waiakea's baseball team, threw deep balls of 63, 40, 34, 33 and 27 yards. His longest completion came when Kamehameha played a press defense, bringing everyone close to the line of scrimmage, and got burned when Felipe made the right read and hit George Hanohano in the hands.
That set up Preston's second touchdown, an 11-yard run that cut the score to 14-12 in the second quarter. The PAT attempt failed for the second time. (Kamehameha backed off from the old Chicago Bears 46 press defense.)
Waiakea running back Pono Auwae piled up impressive numbers. He rushed for 93 yards on eight carries, all in the second half. The speedy sophomore also added a 45-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter, putting a good scare into the Kamehameha faithful. That drive, following Kamehameha's last touchdown, later fizzled.
Several of Waiakea's receivers had an enjoyable evening. Hanohano had three receptions for 70 yards. Shane Picanco had two catches for 67 yards. And Preston added 54 yards through the air.
After his touchdown, Waiakea kicked the ball short, instead of trying an onside kick or maybe mishitting and not producing one. Kamehameha's Grant Shiroma recovered and the visitors eventually ran out the clock.
Kanehailua had only three passes of 20 yards or more, one for 24 yards, another for 27 yards and the last for 34 yards — a go-ahead touchdown to Kamuela Kawamoto for a 27-18 lead with 9:17 remaining in the game.
Kawamoto finished with five catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Conner Cook added a little aerial support with 34 yards on three receptions, all in the first half.
Both teams had two turnovers. And the two Warrior football teams each converted one turnover into a touchdown.
While Kamehameha got burned with a press defense that led to a score, Waiakea also gambled three key times on fourth down. The home Warriors batted 1 for 3, great for baseball, but not so much for football.
In the third quarter, Waiakea went for it on fourth-and-6 near midfield. Didn't get it. Several plays later, Kanehailua tossed a 10-yard scoring strike to Uyetake for a 20-12 lead. (Uyetake's kick missed.)
Two possessions later, the home Warriors went for it on fourth-and-inches from their 35-yard line. That was a big-time gamble, but they got it. Felipe made it pay off when he zipped a 7-yard scoring strike to Hanohano to trim the lead to 20-18. (The two-point pass attempt failed.)
In the fourth quarter, Waiakea went for it on fourth-and-1 at their 39-yard line. The run was short and Kamehameha had wonderful field position. The private-school Warriors eventually capitalized when Kanehailua fired his 34-yard scoring strike to Kawamoto for the 27-18 advantage. (Uyetake made his kick.)
Then the final kick of the game ended as a floater that Shiroma safely gathered. Kamehameha's offense came on the field, rushed twice and then drained the clock.
Kamehameha 7 7 6 7 — 27
Waiakea 6 6 6 7 — 25
Wai — Devin Preston 4 run (kick failed), 7:27
Kam — Kamuela Kawamoto 17 pass from Micah Kanehailua (Logan Uyetake kick), 5:27
Kam — Ina Teofilo 7 run (Uyetake kick), 9:36
Wai — Preston 11 run (kick failed), 6:47
Kam — Uyetake 10 pass from Kanehailua (kick failed), 8:41
Wai — George Hanohano 7 pass from Bryce Felipe (pass failed), 2:48
Kam — Kawamoto 34 pass from Kanehailua (Uyetake kick), 9:17
Wai — Preston 40 pass from Felipe (Tyler Kerr kick), 1:39