By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
KAILUA-KONA — Sergio Mamone made a promise to his Panaewa Pop Warner football team before the season, telling the Alii that hard work would carry them to the championship game.
All the while, Mamone knew he had the perfect triggerman. Gehrig Octavio took over from there.
Octavio threw three touchdown passes and ran for another Sunday as the Alii beat Kohala 32-14 to win the island’s Midget Division championship at Waverider Stadium.
“(Gehrig) has been a blessing since the day he came to Panaewa,” Mamone said. “He’s always going to do good in his life. He never wants to be second, he wants to be first.”
The Alii will host a team from Maui on Nov. 16 at Wong Stadium for the right to go to nationals for ages 12-15 in Florida.
Octavio started playing football two years ago, and he still hasn’t forgotten a loss in the Peewee title game two years ago at Waverider Stadium.
“It feels really good to come back here and get a win on this field,” said Octavio, a freshman at Waiakea High.
He finished 7 for 13 for 127 yards and added 42 yards on the ground as Panaewa repeated as champion.
Chance Pang accounted for both of Kohala’s touchdowns on a pair of electrifying plays, a 55-yard run and an 80-yard kickoff return.
But Sergio Mamone, the coach’s son, was among the players that helped spearhead an Alii defense that held the run-heavy Chargers to 157 yards on the ground.
The older Mamone said he put his team through “killer” practices during the week.
“It took hard work and dedication,” said the younger Mamone, who is in the ninth grade at Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science. “Practices were really hard this week. No playing around; just focus.”
The Chargers were hurt by untimely penalties and lost three fumbles.
Hunter Rapoza recovered the Chargers’ second fumble at the Kohala 22 midway through the second quarter, and four plays later Octavio ran around the left end from 7 yards out for the first score of the game.
Octavio did the rest of his damage through the air.
“We did a lot of running, and that opened up the passing,” the Alii coach said.
Octavio threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kailikea Kekuawela, and he hooked up with Abishai Campbell on scoring plays that covered 22 and 39 yards.
Alec Shane Dalmacio ran for 76 yards and Kekuawela added 57.
“When I get the ball, it’s rush,” said Kekuawela, an eighth-grader at Kamehameha. “I love contact. Can’t live without contact.”
Peewee: Naukanui Ellis-Noa kicked a 20-yard field goal in overtime as the Westside Eagles edged the Keaukaha Warriors 11-8 to win the ages 9-12 championship.
Keahi Ching had a rushing touchdown for the Eagles, while Riley Patterson scored on a reverse for the Warriors.