Monday | November 20, 2017
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BIIF football: Hilo, Huddleston sail to fifth consecutive D-I crown

Hilo’s Kahale Huddleston unexpectedly switched his jersey number for the BIIF Division I football championship game, not that anyone was confused.

On the Vikings’ first play from scrimmage, the new No. 6 in blue galloped around the left side with his trademark burst for 40 yards, and two plays later he was already in the end zone.

It was clear it could only be one man – The Man.

Huddleston said he switched from No. 22 to No. 6 to honor Hilo High. On this night, five would have been symbolic as well as the Vikings’ extended their dynasty.

Hilo’s standout running back added two more touchdowns to his sparkling season Saturday night at Wong Stadium, rushing for 194 yards, and the Vikings turned back Kealakehe 38-18 to claim their fifth consecutive BIIF title.

“I just wanted to represent Hilo High,” said Huddleston, who as done so by accounting for 32 touchdowns this season. “The Viking has six letters in it, and the school was built in 1906. Just the tradition.”

Once again looking to knock down the brick wall that is the HHSAA tournament, Hilo (7-1 BIIF, 8-1) will host an OIA opponent Nov. 4 at Wong.

In the postgame celebratory huddle, several Hilo players said, “We’re not done yet.”

“This is what makes it so enjoyable and this is why we work so hard,” coach Kaeo Drummondo said.

The third-year coach might not have always seen the execution he wanted in the title game— especially on two muffed punts — but he savored the thought that the Vikings never became complacent this season.

“I’m guilty of it sometimes, but we forget to enjoy the journey,” he said. “We’re so fixed on what we want to accomplish, we forget to enjoy day in and day out. The process, winning is what is enjoyable.”

The Waveriders (4-4, 4-6) were denied for a fourth time by Hilo as they tried to win their first title since 2012.

Kealakehe had measured success running Anthony “Head” Trevino on quarterback keepers, but the Waveriders misfired on 10 of their first 11 passes, including an interception that was returned 72 yards for a score by junior Kahiau Walker and another pick by Kalen White. The sophomore made a nifty to return inside Kealakehe territory, setting up the first of Kaleo Apao’s two touchdown runs.

“I was thinking six,” Walker said. “I was thinking don’t get caught, let’s score a touchdown.”

Apau, a senior quarterback, added yards 89 yards on the ground, including a 36-yard scamper that capped the scoring.

Hilo forced three turnovers and sacked Trevino and Michael “Kekoa” Ilagan-LeBlanc a combined eight times. After all the sacks were deducted, Trevino amassed 68 yards rushing, and he showed off his leg, booming a 47-yard field goal with plenty of room to spare.

“We really don’t have the size, but we work on technique,” Walker said. “Technique is key and playing smart.

“Right now, I would say we’re perfect but still a work-in-progress as well.”

Kealakehe got the game’s first break when Isaiah Estorpe recovered a muffed punt at Hilo’s 29, leading to Michael “Kekoa” Ilagan-LeBlanc’s touchdown run.

But Hilo needed only three plays to march 80 yards and answer, with Huddleston sandwiching a reception in between two long runs.

On the Vikings’ next possession he took a toss on the left side and ran untouched from 42 yards out.

“I’m just proud that we have all were able to stick together,” Huddleston said, “and that we pulled through.

“We just want to get to that championship.”

Kealakehe 6 6 6 0 — 18

Hilo 21 10 0 7 — 38

First quarter

Kealakehe — Michael “Kekoa” Ilagan-LeBlanc 15 run (kick failed), 9:25

Hilo — Kahale Huddleston 30 run (Kahaku Tolentino-Perry kick), 6:39

Hilo — Kahiau Walker 72 interception return (two-point pass converted), 3:12

Hilo — Huddleston 42 run (pass failed)

Second quarter

Hilo — Kaleo Apao 15 run (Tolentino-Perry kick), 8:58

Kealakehe — Anthony “Head” Trevino 2 run (pass failed), 2:40

Hilo — FG Keanu Keolanui 42, :00

Third quarter

Kealakehe — FG Trevino 36, 7:54

Kealakehe — FG Trevino 47, :00

Fourth quarter

Hilo — Apao 36 run (Tolentino-Perry kick), 7:55

 

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