Photos courtesy Andrew Lee (http://www.twitter.com/HISportsPics
)By Wes Nakama
Kai Gonda amassed 335 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns Friday night as Kaiser rolled past visiting Radford, 33-14, in O'ahu Interscholastic Association football action.
The Cougars improved to 6-2 overall and 6-1 in the OIA's White Conference, good enough for first place. The Rams fell to 6-1, 5-1.
Gonda, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior, rushed for 137 yards and one TD on 22 carries and added 202 return yards, including an electrifying 82-yard punt return for a score. He also caught one pass for minus-4 yards and made several tackles on defense.
"He's so versatile, he can do so many things," Kaiser coach Rich Miano said. "His size, speed and vision reminds me of (former Damien and University of Hawai'i standout) Kealoha Pilares, and from the '70s, (former Kaiser standout) Boyd Yap. He's got a lot of football smarts and just does everything so well."
After a scoreless first quarter, the Cougars struck first as Fitou Fisiiahi capped a nine-play, 58-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run three minutes into the second quarter. After a three-and-out by Radford on the next series, Gonda field a punt at his own 18-yard line and sprung to the sideline thanks to a nice seal block.
Gonda then sprinted to midfield before cutting to the left and then back to the right and into the end zone. Clayton Sai's extra point made it 14-0 with 7:13 remaining before halftime.
Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Melvin Kahunanui pounced on a Radford fumble in the end zone to make it 20-0 (the PAT attempt was blocked).
Gonda later returned a punt 55 yards to again put the Cougars into scoring position, but Rams defensive back Mason Manuma intercepted a pass near the goal line and returned 64 yards to swing the momentum Radford's way. Four plays later, quarterback Cody Lui-Yuen connected with receiver Zach Tinao-Rabellizsa on a 3-yard TD pass and Cayman Conley's extra point cut it to 20-7 with 2:43 left in the second quarter.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Rams defensive back Amu Poe picked off a swing pass to the right sideline and returned it untouched 20 yards to help slice the deficit to 20-14.
That's how it stood until two minutes into the fourth quarter, when Zack Kano blocked a punt and Leimana Chong-Gum recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. The two-point conversion run attempt failed, but the score made it 26-14.
"I don't think anyone works on special teams as much as we do," Miano said. "Our offense is still trying to find a rhythm, but our defense and special teams have carried us so far."
Gonda effectively sealed the victory with a 1-yard TD plunge with 2:09 remaining.
Kaiser's defense came up with six sacks for minus-40 yards and limited Radford to 109 yards of total offense. RADFORD (6-1, 5-1) 0 14 0 0 -- 14
KAISER (6-2, 6-1) 0 20 0 13 -- 33
Kai -- Fitou Fisiiahi 3 run (Clayton Sai kick)
Kai -- Kai Gonda 82 punt return (Sai kick)
Kai -- Melvin Kahunanui fumble recovery in end zone (kick blocked)
Rad -- Zach Tinao-Rabellizsa 3 pass from Cody Lui-Yuen (Cayman Conley kick)
Rad -- Amu Poe 20 interception return (Conley kick)
Kai -- Leimana Chong-Gum recovered blocked punt in end zone (run failed)
Kai -- Gonda 1 run (Sai kick)
RUSHING -- Radford: Chris Jackson 9-30; Tinao-Rabellizsa 1-5; Lui-Yue 6-(minus-40). Kaiser: Gonda 22-137; Makana Lyman 4-(minus-24); Fisiiahi 7-19, Jeshua Bitanga 4-(minus-4); Justin Ikei 1-(minus-6); Justin Isobe 1-(minus-1); Team 1-(minus-7).
PASSING -- Radford: Lui-Yuen 13-37-1--114; Kaiser: Lyman 12-22-2--138.
RECEIVING -- Radford: Jameson Pasigan 5-36; Tinao-Rabellizsa 2-18; Dre'ell Blackwell 2-16; Mason Manuma 1-(minus-2); Keanu Keawe'ehu-Ancog 1-25; Julian Brown 1-14; Jackson 1-7. Kaiser: Ikona Makaneole 1-5; Christian Capp 3-49; Gonda 2-(minus-4); Ikei 4-81; Destin Moss 1-2; Elima Haole 1-5.