Monday | November 20, 2017
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BIIF football: Huddleston scores four touchdowns, leads Hilo past Kamehameha

KEAAU – Kamehameha’s pass rush was on point, but even as Kaleo Apao was knocked down, he unleashed a pass that was pristine.

The only thing tighter than his spiral was Justin Kenoi’s coverage.

Somehow, someway, Hilo’s Kahale Huddleston’s catch was even better.

Execution was otherworldly in all phases during the final play of Friday night’s third quarter.

“I got hit, I got up and I saw Kahale running like he always does,” Apao said of a 92-yard touchdown strike that helped Hilo to a 28-14 victory at Paiea Stadium.

The Vikings don’t lose a BIIF football game often, so when they do there is little in the way of recent evidence as to guess how they might respond.

It was back to basics, which for Hilo meant Huddleston returning to his touchdown-scoring ways.

The senior scored four times, including the go-ahead touchdown with 3:22 remaining, but the play that stood out was The Play.

Backed up on its 8 in a tie game, Hilo (4-1 BIIF Division I, 5-1) faced third and forever. The Warriors (4-1 BIIF Division II, 6-2) brought six, and the Vikings only had five blockers. Against Kenoi’s blanket coverage, Huddleston came down with the ball, in stride, and raced down the right sideline.

“You can’t cover a guy better,” Warriors coach Dan Lyons said. “That’s where a great player makes a great play.

“He known for making tremendous plays.”

Huddleston accounted for only one touchdown, on a pass, last week as the Vikings lost 24-14 at Konawaena, their first league blemish since 2015, but he was back with a vengeance, making big plays in the running (110 yards) and the passing game, pushing his touchdown total to 22 (in addition to the throw).

“(Last week) wasn’t his fault, it was our fault as coaches,” Hilo head coach Kaeo Drummondo said. “We need to come up with more solutions to put him in more advantageous situations.”

His first punt return didn’t quite go as planned, but the wheel route at the end of the third did.

“Perfect throw, perfect coverage,” Drummondo said. “We just wanted to get our playmaker on the edge.”

Playing without first-string quarterback Kaimi Like, who was ill, Kamehameha saw its six-game losing come to an end. While the Warriors rotated quarterbacks, Michael Jumalon was primarily called on as a passer and played admirably in relief, throwing for a score and 87 yards with an interception.

The decisive touchdown was set up by the Warriors’ first turnover, a bad snap that Hilo’s Kalen White recovered at Kamehameha’s 28. On the next play, Kainalu Tiogangco hauled in a pass from Apao to put the ball at the 3.

Running the read-option, Apao elected to give to Huddleston on his three short touchdown runs.

“I really wanted to take one in, but I guess I have to give to Kahale,” Apao said. “I want a few, actually.”

Kamehameha answered The Play with a game-changing play of its own.

Lining up to punt, Israel Bowden bobbled the snap. Instead trying to hurry off a kick, he detected room to roam and ran 44 yards to Hilo’s 15.

“That’s tough,” Drummondo said. “I was screaming my head off trying to get everyone’s attention.

“He made a heady play.”

Bowden was questionable with an illness, but you never would have known it. He ran for 61 yards, caught three passes for 52 yards, completed a pass and unleashed a 60-yard punt.

“We made too many mistakes,” Lyons said. “We could have been more efficient in our offensive zone. We took ourselves out of too many situations.”

Until The Play, the game turned into a defensive slugfest, with Kamehameha winning the field-position battle.

“Our defense always keep us in the game,” said Apao, also a safety. “Hats off to the defense.”

Hilo’s Micah Bello returned an interception to the Warriors’ 1, leading to Huddleston’s final touchdown.

“It’s nice to have tough competition and come out on top,” Drummondo said. “It’s good for their psyche and confidence moving forward.”

There were no shortage of flags in the first half, and both teams took advantage of penalties to extend touchdown drives as the game went to the half 7-7.

After Kamehameha’s second consecutive three-and-out to begin the game, Huddleston elected not to call for a fair catch on a punt return and was nailed by multiple tacklers, but the play only served to excite him.

He ripped off a 61-yard run down the left sideline, and two penalties on third down extended the drive, giving Hilo first-and-goal at the 4, and Huddleston scored two plays later.

The Warriors’ touchdown drive covered 49 yards, and Kamehameha was given new life on a 15-yard leading-with-the helmet penalty on third down. On the next play, Jumalon hit Izayah Chartrand-Penera for a 17-yard score.

Apao didn’t have to think long when asked which play he was most looking forward to watching on film.

He finished 6 of 16 for 176 yards – a 92-yarder kind of helps the stats.

“I was confident on that pass,” he said. “The Lord helped me on that one.”

Hilo 7 0 7 14 – 28

KSH 0 7 0 7 – 14

First quarter

Hilo – Kahale Huddleston 4 run (Keanu Keolanui kick), 3:20

Second quarter

KSH – Izayah Chartrand-Penera 17 pass from Michael Jumalon (Justin Kenoi kick), 1:40

Third quarter

Hilo – Huddleston 92 pass from Kaleo Apao (Keolanui kick), 0:00

Fourth quarter

KSH – Paniau Lindsey 5 run (Kenoi kick), 5:22

Hilo – Huddleston 3 run (Keolanui kick), 3:26

Hilo – Huddleston 1 run (Keolanui kick), 2:02

 

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