By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
KEAAU — Hawaii Prep running back Bobby Lum had a monster performance against Kamehameha, breaking tackles, rumbling around the corner, and often plowing through the teeth of the defense for a whopping 235 yards on 31 carries.
Behind Lum's four-touchdown barrage in the first half, HPA walloped the Warriors 41-24 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II football game on Friday night at Paiea Stadium, securing the No. 2 seed for the four-team playoffs.
In two weeks, HPA (6-2 overall, 4-2 BIIF) will host Kamehameha (4-4, 3-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 in Waimea in the single-elimination BIIF semifinals.
Lum is listed at 5 feet 8 and 210 pounds on HPA's roster. The senior running back/linebacker played like he was the biggest and fastest guy on the field. Or maybe it just seemed that way.
"We had too many mistakes in the first half, but I loved our fight, that we didn't give up," Kamehameha coach Dan Lyons said. "Bobby does that to everyone, but we didn't tackle well."
Lum scored on runs of 1, 20 and 3 yards. The first touchdown was set up by a 50-yard dash down the left side when two tacklers bounced off him 12 yards from the line of scrimmage. It was that type of night for the Warrior defenders, who were often in position to make tackles, but either missed or didn't wrap up properly.
"I liked the way we ran the ball. Bobby had a great day on the ground," HPA coach Jordan Hayslip said. "Our offensive line blocked well for him and Koa Ellis had a couple of nice passes. That's Bobby's strength as a runner — he's able to break tackles and doesn't go down.
"Our defensive line had good pressure and our secondary had a good game, nothing earth-shattering."
Lum had 137 yards on 13 carries at halftime. But his inflicted damage didn't just extend to running the ball. He was dangerous on defense, too, scoring on a 32-yard fumble return in the second quarter.
That was Kamehameha's only giveaway. HPA had four turnovers, a pair of fumbles in the red zone and two picks by quarterback Ellis, who otherwise had a fine night: 10 of 15 for 163 yards with two touchdown strikes—16 yards to Mike Nakahara, and 28 yards to Nicky Palleschi.
If Warrior defenders Ryan Chun, in the third quarter, and Kama Akiona, in the fourth quarter, don't find themselves in the right place at the right time for their fumble recoveries, the score could have been really ugly. Caleb Baptiste snagged two interceptions.
And it's not as if HPA ran any trickeration or opened its playbook. Actually, it was quite the opposite, pretty much vanilla stuff. It was simple runs up the middle, an occasional jaunt to the perimeter, and Ellis stayed in the pocket to throw the ball.
HPA's defense crowded the box, played man coverage on the receivers and didn't fire off any fancy blitz packages. Lum's rushing production and six touchdowns kept the Warrior offense glued to the sideline for long stretches, reinforcing the theory that the best defense is keeping the opponent's offense off the field.
Hayslip is well aware that the Warriors have a great vantage point for filming games, up high on the press box. No sense putting his best plays — both on offense and defense — on film for the Warriors to dissect for the rematch in two weeks.
"We were looking at this more as a football game," said Hayslip, sticking home-field advantage as a lower priority. "We wanted to continue to improve and play well."
When the Warriors watch film, they'll see school-fish defense with tacklers all swarming to the same gap, leaving the backside vulnerable for cutbacks. They'll see arm tackles instead of defenders squaring up, wrapping up, and putting Lum on the ground.
Meanwhile, Kamehameha junior quarterback Micah Kanehailua was 10 of 18 for 177 with three touchdowns and no picks. For the most part, he threw a lot of short routes, drawing groans from the fans in dark blue T-shirts.
In the second quarter, he found his favorite touchdown pal, Logan Uyetake for a 17-yard reception. The two hooked up again for a 29-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Then a little later, Kanehailua showed he's still got his deep touch when he connected with Kamuela Kawamoto for a 97-yard scoring strike. It was a perfectly placed anticipation throw, leading Kawamoto and allowing him to catch the ball on the run.
Besides missing tackles on Lum, the Warriors also missed the full services of senior running back Ina Teofilo, who had a couple of carries then returned to the sideline because of a leg injury.
Timmy Burke filled in and rushed for 41 yards on 11 carries, and Grant Shiroma added 60 yards on nine attempts. Kawamoto had 33 yards on five carries.
"We'll see them in two weeks. This game was for home-field advantage," Lyons said. "We saw some things we can do better. We lost Ina in first quarter and that didn't help us. He's got a sprained arch. Hopefully, he'll be back for the playoffs."
That's Kanehailua's mindset. He knows the Warriors will host Keaau on Friday in the last regular-season game. But he's already focused for the rematch.
"The next time we play them, we've got to execute, simple as that," he said. "That's the key to winning games. We've got to get 11 players running their responsibilities each time, each play."
HPA 7 28 6 0 — 41
Kamehameha 3 7 0 14 — 24
Kam — Logan Uyetake FG 30, 6:20
HPA — Bobby Lum 1 run (Alex Brost kick), 3:30
HPA — Lum 20 run (Brost kick), 9:36
HPA — Lum 32 fumble return (Brost kick), 8:53
HPA — Mike Nakahara 16 pass from Koa Ellis (Brost kick), 7:44
Kam — Uyetake 17 pass from Micah Kanehailua (Uyetake kick), 3:01
HPA — Lum 3 run (Brost kick), :09
HPA — Nicky Palleschi 28 pass from Koa Ellis (kick failed), 6:03
Kam — Uyetake 29 pass from Kanehailua (Uyetake kick), 7:11
Kam — Kamuela Kawamoto 97 pass from Kanehailua (Uyetake kick), 1:58