Friday | November 24, 2017
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BIIF football: Kealakehe adds to win streak, dominates Dragons on road

HONOKAA — When teams visit the land of the Dragons, strange things are known to happen — especially on homecoming night with a rowdy home crowd backing the green and gold.

But behind a powerful performance from the offense and a turnover-happy defense, the Waveriders put aside any possible distractions and rolled to a 31-14 victory in Honokaa on Friday night.

Quarterback Kekoa Ilagan-LeBlanc had his most efficient night of the season, racking up three total touchdowns and hitting on 12 of his 18 passes for 129 yards. He added 57 yards on the ground.

It’s the third win in a row for Kealakehe (3-4 overall, 3-2 BIIF D-I), which has found its groove after an 0-4 start.

Much of the turnaround has been due to the offensive finding its footing with some solid balance. Seven players caught passes for the Waveriders, and six received carries against the Dragons.

Ocean Guerpo-Beamer started strong for the Dragons, connecting his first four passes for 72 yards, including a long touchdown to Kamuela Spencer-Herring. However, Kealakehe’s swarming defense and consistent pressure made the rest of the night rough for the senior passer.

Guerpo-Beamer finished the night 12-29 for 115 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He added 54 yards on the ground, a high among Honokaa ball carriers.

The D-II Dragons fell to 1-4 in BIIF play after the loss and are mathematically eliminated from the league’s two-team postseason.

Kealakehe opened up the game with some force, utilizing a stable of strong backs. But after a punt on their first drive, the Waveriders found the end zone through the air, as Ilagan-LeBlanc connected with Kalani Piltz on third down for a 37-yard score.

Guerpo-Beamer was 3-of-3 on Honokaa’s first drive, but the short passes didn’t pick up a first down for the Dragons.

The next time Honokaa had the ball, the senior QB looked downfield, finding his big target Kamuela Spencer-Herring — a 6-foot-2, 230-pound pass-catcher who pulled double-duty as homecoming king — for a 65-yard touchdown.

While Kealakehe spent a little over a quarter grinding out tough yards to move down the field, the next three scores were the side-effect of stellar field position.

Anthony “Head” Trevino pinned Honokaa back at its own 1-yard line with a beautiful punt, and a subsequent shanked punt after a safety scare for the Dragons set up a short Jorden Himalaya TD plunge.

Isaiah Estorpe was the catalyst for the ‘Riders next score, picking off Guerpo-Beamer and returning it to the 1-yard line. A short sneak by Ilagan-LeBlanc up the middle was enough to stretch Kealakehe’s lead to 21-7.

Defensive lineman Anthony Gopaul was the next Kealakehe defender to generate a turnover, nabbing an errant pass from an under pressure Guerpo-Beamer.

Again, the Waveriders didn’t wait long to capitalize, with Ilagan-LeBlanc dropping back and sailing a ball 25 yards into the hands of a leaping Trevino in the right corner of the end zone.

Thanks to the turnovers, Kealakehe scored three touchdowns by running just three offensive plays in just a few mintutes, quieting the once rocking crowd in Honokaa. The Waveriders entered the break with a hefty 28-7 lead.

Kealakehe almost added to its lead early in the third quarter after Piltz broke free on a short screen for a big gain. But the Dragons never gave up, and just before reaching the end zone, a defender punched the ball out, ultimately resulting in a touchback.

The Waveriders found the end zone on a fumble return by Bryton Lewi on a kickoff, but the play would be nullified by a flag. The only points of the second half came from the foot of Trevino, who drilled a 28-yard field goal.

That was until the closing moments of the game, when Josh Rodgers — a special needs student — was escorted by a host of Dragons and even some Waveriders on a 65-yard score.

 

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