Photos by Andrew Lee (http://www.twitter.com/HISportsPics
)By Wes Nakama
In an exhilarating Interscholastic League of Honolulu football game that literally went down to the final second, Kamehameha withstood a furious 'Iolani rally to win, 42-34, Thursday night at the Warriors' Kunuiakea Stadium.
Kamehameha improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the ILH. The Raiders fell to 4-2, 1-2.
'Iolani, which has won the past five Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Division II state championships, came within a play or two of stunning the DI Warriors.
"We knew it would be like this," Kamehameha coach David Stant said. "Except for last year, we never did dominate them. It's never easy, not against these guys."
Kamehameha led, 35-21, after Makoa Camanse-Stevens' 1-yard quarterback sneak and Tyler Fitzsimmons' extra point, but the Raiders answered with Reece Foy's 34-yard touchdown pass and Jordan Genovia's PAT.
'Iolani then closed it to 35-34 on Nishioka's 6-yard run on a fly sweep with 1:18 remaining in the game, but Foy's two-point conversion pass was intercepted by safety Javen Sablay.
"We were blitzing, and my job was to cover the curls flats," said Sablay, who leaped near the goal line to first tip and then secure the football. "I looked at the receiver on the outside, and then came underneath."
Raiders coach Wendell Look said he and his staff knew ahead of time they would go for the two-point conversion.
"We had a pregame meeting last night and decided we would go for the win if we were in this situation, depending on how things were going," Look said. "Reece was on a roll, so we were going to roll the dice with him and put the game in his hands. The 'backer dropped, the other guy came up and (Foy) didn't see him, and it was bad timing, too. They made a big play when they needed to."
The Warriors recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the game was still far from over, as 'Iolani intentionally allowed Jonah Wengler to run 42 yards to the end zone two plays later. Fitzsimmons' extra point made it 42-34, but the quick score meant Kamehameha would need to kick off with 59 seconds still on the clock.
"That was the only way we'd have a chance," Look said of the Wengler TD.
Nishioka returned the ensuing kickoff 33 yards to the Warriors' 38, and -- after an incompletion on first down -- Foy completed a 9-yard pass to Nishioka to advance the ball to the 29. On third-and-1, Foy scrambled and appeared to gain the first down, but retreated to avoid a tackler before being brought down for no gain, allowing the clock to run.
Void of timeouts, and apparently unaware the first down was not attained to stop the clock, the Raiders did not get another snap before time expired.
It was an improbable and abrupt ending to a game that featured almost non-stop action from the outset.
'Iolani took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter after Foy's 14-yard touchdown pass to Nishioka down the left sideline, but Kamehameha tied it up at 7-7 after Camanse-Stevens connected with Nephi Srevens on a 13-yard TD throw two minutes into the second quarter.
Foy scored on a 5-yard run to make it 13-7 about 90 seconds later, but the PAT attempt was blocked and the Warriors took a 14-13 lead after an 11-yard touchdown pass from Camanse-Stevens and Fitzsimmons' extra point four minutes before halftime.
The Rainders struck right back, however, with Foy and Nishioka connecting first on a 9-yard TD pass, and then a two-point conversion throw to make it 21-14 with 2:34 remaining.
But Kamehameha answered with a 5-yard touchdown run by Kaulana Apelu, and Fitzsimmons' PAT tied it up at 21-21 heading into the locker rooms.
Apelu added a 9-yard TD run to help the Warriors regain the lead at 28-21 with 8:42 left in the third quarter, and Camanse-Stevens' quarterback sneak pushed the lead to 35-21 about two minutes later.
Nishioka, who was scheduled to board an 11 p.m. flight for a baseball recruiting trip to the University of Notre Dame, finished with 15 catches for 176 yards and three touchdowns, plus the 6-yard TD run and 33-yard kick return for a whopping 215 all-purpose yards.
"He's hard to stop, he can find the open spots in the zone no matter what you do," Stant said. "They do a good job of getting the ball to the right guys." 'IOLANI (4-2, 1-2) 7 14 7 6 -- 34
KAMEHAMEHA (4-2, 2-1) 0 21 14 7 -- 42
'Iol -- Tanner Nishioka 14 pass from Reece Foy (Jordan Genovia kick)
KS -- Nephi Stevens 13 pass from Makoa Camanse-Stevens (Tyler Fitzsimmons kick)
'Iol -- Foy 5 run (kick blocked)
KS -- Kaulana Werner 11 pass from Camanse-Stevens (Fitzsimmons kick)
'Iol -- Nishioka 9 pass from Foy (Nishioka pass from Foy)
KS -- Kaulana Apelu 5 run (Fitzsimmons kick)
KS -- Apelu 9 run (Fitzsimmons kick)
KS -- Camanse-Stevens 1 run (Fitzsimmons kick)
'Iol -- Nishioka 34 pass from Foy (Genovia kick)
'Iol -- Nishioka 6 run (pass failed)
KS -- Jonah Wengler 42 run (Fitzsimmons kick)
RUSHING -- 'Iolani:
Yuuya Kato 15-76; Max Maneafaiga 4-2; Foy 9-43; Nishioka 1-6. Kamehameha:
Apelu 18-88; Camanse-Stevens 7-41; Kainoa Simao 4-8; Wengler 1-42.PASSING -- 'Iolani:
Foy 22-36-0--220. Kamehameha:
Camanse-Stevens 13-22-0--179.RECEIVING -- 'Iolani:
Chase Kanekuni 3-3; Nishioka 15-176; Chad Hanaoka 1-19; Austin Ohira 1-10; Kato 2-12. Kamehameha:
Avery Amasiu 3-24; Jordan Paulo 1-6; Austin Gerard 4-79; Stevens 2-19; Kody Chai 2-30; Kaulana Werner 1-11.