Thursday | November 23, 2017
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High school football: Saints march past Wildcats

KEALAKEKUA — Jonan “Bubba” Aina-Chaves led the charge as the Saints marched into Julian R. Yates field and left with a surprisingly lopsided 39-20 victory over Konawaena on Saturday night.

Saint Francis (2-1) capitalized on Wildcat miscues and rode a record-setting performance from Aina-Chaves to the convincing preseason victory against the two-time defending BIIF Division II champs.

Aina-Chaves racked up 233 yards and two scores on just 16 carries, including an electric 91-yard scamper in the second quarter. With the total, running back set the Saint Francis individual game rushing record, which was previously 186, set in 2013 by Ranan Mamiya against Kamehameha-Kapalama, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Just five yards short of the record late in the fourth quarter, the speedy sophomore back busted into the record book in style, gashing the Konawaena defense for a 52-yard run that effectively ended the game. He also added 46 yards receiving.

Konawaena senior quarterback Austin Ewing had a career-high in pass attempts, going 24 of 65 in the contest for 259 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His completion percentage would have been better, but he wasn’t helped by more than a dozen drops from his wide receivers in some wet weather — including two catches that looked like sure touchdowns.

The night started ominous for the Wildcats, who failed to recover an onside kick on the opening kickoff, and then fumbled the first offensive snap of the game inside their own 5-yard line.

Saint Francis capitalized, striking first with the prime field position when quarterback Jonah Aina-Chaves found Scott McLeod on a short touchdown pass.

Konawaena responded to the early adversity with their own quick, five-play drive, concluding with a 36-yard pass from Ewing to a wide-open Hunter Wehrsig.

The Wildcats got a rare gift from the Saints on the ensuing possession, when the snap on a punt went high, setting the Wildcats up at the 4-yard line after an added penalty. Ewing notched his second touchdown of the game with the short field, connecting with Kaanoi Rivera-Kelekolio, giving the Wildcats a 14-6 edge.

But from there, Saint Francis did just about everything right — and had some pretty good fortune as well.

On what seemed like an innocent handoff, Jonan Aina-Chaves exploded for the highlight-reel play of the night. He bobbed and weaved around Konawaena defenders, before hitting the turbo button down the sideline, bouncing off his own man, finding his balance and eventually the end zone to wrap up a 91-yard run and narrowing the deficit.

The Saints retook the lead on a bit of Konawaena misfortune, when an Ewing pass bounced off the hands of a receiver and right into the bread-basket of Wembley Mailei, who returned it 35 yards for a score.

Mailei also recovered and returned a fumble into Konawaena territory, setting up Jonan Aina-Chaves’ second touchdown of the night, a slashing 27-yard run early in the second quarter to stretch the Saints lead to 26-14. It was the third Konawaena turnover the Saints flipped into a touchdown in the first half.

Missed tackles and opportunities added up for the Wildcats in the second half, and Tyson Shimabukuro extended the Saint Francis lead to 39-14 with a 13-yard run to open the third quarter.

Despite the large margin, the Wildcats did their best to claw back into striking distance. On a mishandled snap, Ethan Abe ripped the ball from the Saint Francis ball carrier and returned it 16 yards for a score.

However, it wouldn’t be enough as Jonan Aina-Chaves’ final carry of the night put Saint Francis inside the Konawaena 10-yard line and the Saints took a knee to run the remainder of the clock out.

STF — 12 20 7 0 — 39

KONA — 14 0 0 6 — 20

First quarter

STF – Jonah Aina-Chaves 7-yard pass to Scott McLeod (kick failed)

KONA — Austin Ewing 36-yard pass to Hunter Wehrsig (kick good)

KONA — Ewing 4-yard pass to Kaanoi Rivera-Kelekolio (kick good)

STF — Jonan “Bubba” Aina-Chaves 91-yard run (2-pt failed)

Second quarer

STF — Wembley Mailei 35-yard interception return (2-point run)

STF — Jonan Aina-Chaves 27-yard run (2-point failed)

STF — Scott McLeod 5-yard run (kick failed)

Third quarter

STF — Tyson Shimabukuro 13-yard run (kick good)

Fourth quarter

KONA — Ethan Abe 16-yard fumble return (kick failed)

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