Thursday | December 14, 2017
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BIIF football: Tartans roll over Waveriders

KAILUA-KONA — St. Margaret’s is undefeated on the Big Island — albeit the sample size isn’t too large.

The Tartans reeled off a 34-14 victory over Kealakehe at Waverider Stadium on Friday night, making it back-to-back years the California-based squad has started their season with a victory on the Orchid Isle.

Last season, St. Margaret’s beat Hawaii Prep 41-7 in a preseason contest.

Marcus Knight didn’t touch the ball a ton for St. Margaret’s, but when he did, the senior back made it count. On just nine carries Knight accounted for 121 yards to go with three rushing scores and another TD from a pass on a trick play in the third quarter. However, Kealakehe did force two fumbles from Knight, both in the first half.

Ryan Cragun did the damage in the passing game for the Tartans, catching seven balls for 142 yards and two touchdowns, one from junior quarterback James Mott (11-22, 171 yards).

The Waveriders (0-2) again showed flashes of brilliance — as they did in their first preseason matchup against Damien — but consistency was hard to come by.

Anthony Trevino didn’t start the game at quarterback, but saw the majority of reps behind center in the Waveriders’ spread offense. He finished the game 4 of 15 for 122 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions — one that came on an end-of-the-half heave. He also lined up at wide receiver, running back, linebacker, kicker and punter in the game.

A half-dozen players received carries for Kealakehe, but Raymond Skillern and Kekoa Ilagan-LeBlanc — who started the game at QB — had the most success. Skillern recorded 77 yards — a big chunk of that coming on a 42-yard burst — while Ilagan-LeBlanc racked up 83 yards, mostly on QB keepers. Trevino tallied 44 yards rushing.

Trevino and Ilagan-LeBlanc combined for three of Kealakehe’s five catches in the game.

The Tartans got on the board first with a nearly flawless opening drive. On the early four-play push, Mott hit a few short passes, but Knight did the majority of the heavy lifting, picking up 15 yards and then finding the end zone of a 4-yard pitch.

The teams played to a stalemate for most of the second quarter, trading a pair of fumbles until Mott found a streaking Cragun down the sideline for a 51-yard score, pushing the Tartans lead to 13-0.

With little offensive flow, the Waveriders opted to bring in Trevino at quarterback. The move, coupled with a bruising 42-yard run by Skillern, put momentum in Kealakehe’s favor.

Out of a shotgun set, Trevino found some room on a read-option play, hitting a hole and powering into the right corner of the end zone on an 8-yard run midway through the second quarter to narrow the margin to 13-7.

Kealakehe had a few more opportunities on the St. Margaret’s side of the field, but they resulted in a turnover on downs and an interception in the end zone as time expired.

Despite the score, the Waveriders held a big advantage in the number of plays attempted in the first half, running 13 more than the Tartans. Kealakehe capitalized on five plays over 20 yards and outgained St. Margaret’s 229-128.

The Tartans came out of the break similar to how they started the game — scorching on offense. A 35-yard connection from Mott to Cragun put St. Margaret’s in Kealakehe territory, and Knight finished it off on a deceptive 18-yard touchdown scamper.

The score didn’t stymie the Waveriders’ momentum. On the ensuing drive, Trevino stepped up in the pocket and found Ilagan-LeBlanc down the sideline. The QB-turned-wide receiver juked one defender and coasted into the end zone for a 76-yard score — by far the most electric play of Kealakehe’s young season.

However, St. Margaret’s bag of tricks was far from empty. After finding some success on the pitch, the tricky Tartans ran a play for Knight, who pulled up and lobbed the ball to a wide-open Cragun to stretch the lead to 27-14.

Knight put an exclamation mark on his night with a 66-yard run down the middle of the field to seal the victory.

 

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