By JOE FERRARO
KEALAKEKUA — Kamehameha kept dynamic Konawaena running back John Kamoku under wraps. The same goes for prolific passer Lii Karratti.
It all meant nothing to the Wildcats’ defense, which negated any offensive deficiencies Saturday at Julian Yates Field.
Makoa Chapa recorded a safety, and Bubba Ellis-Noa returned a fumble for a touchdown as Konawaena won the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II first-half regular-season football title with a 16-3 victory over the Warriors.
Kamehameha (5-1 BIIF, 8-1) held Konawaena to 97 yards of offense, with linemen J.J. Fujimoto and Timmy Burke, and defensive back Ikaika Villanueva consistently getting pressure on Karratti, who completed just 3 of 16 passes for 33 yards.
Fujimoto had a sack and three total tackles for loss, and Burke added a sack.
Konawaena (5-1, 5-4) got a shot in the arm from Dishon Cho, who had a 50-yard kickoff return that set up the Wildcats’ last drive of the first half.
Ellis-Noa strung together runs of 18 and 11 yards on inside handoffs in the Wildcats’ ensuing six-play drive, and Kamoku, who had 46 rushing yards on 16 carries, scored on a counter three plays later, putting Konawaena up 7-3 with 34 seconds left in the first half.
Then the Wildcats’ defense, which limited rugged junior running back Ina Teofilo to 46 yards on 15 carries, took over.
Kamehameha found some success using the wildcat formation in the first half, with Shaun Kagawa rushing five times for 45 yard during a 14-play, 51-yard drive that kicker Logan Uyetake capped with a 34-yard field goal with 3:52 left in the first half.
However, the Wildcats made the necessary halftime adjustments to defend the formation in the third quarter.
After a 60-yard Kamoku punt pinned the Warriors on their own 5-yard line, Konawaena lineman Kawika Kealoha dropped Kagawa for a 1-yard loss, and senior linebacker Mikey Rabara dragged down Kagawa just short of the goal line.
On the next play, Koa Basque stood up Kagawa, and Chapa finished off the tackle, giving Konawaena a 9-3 lead with 7:18 left in the third quarter.
Kealoha helped seal the Wildcats’ win in the fourth quarter, sacking junior quarterback Brandon Howes and forcing a fumble that Ellis-Noa picked up and returned to the end zone to cap the scoring.
Kealoha finished with eight tackles, and Rabara had seven for the Wildcats, who limited Kamehameha to 194 yards of offense.
Howes finished 6-of-12 for 98 yards and one interception — Konawaena’s Kenan Gaspar picked off the junior on the Warriors’ final drive.
Kamehameha 0 3 0 0 — 3
Konawaena 0 7 2 7 — 16
KSH — FG Logan Uyetake 34, 3:52
Kon — John Kamoku 7 run (John Replogle kick), 0:34
KSH — Safety, Makoa Chapa tackled Shaun Kagawa in the end zone, 7:18
Kon — Bubba Ellis-Noa 37 fumble recovery return (Replogle kick), 6:12