I had the opportunity to attend an incredible sporting event last night as King Kekaulike High School squared off against Iolani form Oahu in the state Division II semifinals at War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku. The Na Ali’i of King K won a back and forth battle on the last play of the game. A double handoff pitch back to the quarterback by King K looked like it was headed for disaster when the pitch to the quarterback fell to the turf. King K quarterback Shelton Bangasan struggled to pick the ball up before grabbing it, turning around and heaving the ball into the end zone. Randen Abafo was waiting in the back of the end zone to catch the pass that seemed to hang in the air for an eternity. When Abafo made the catch, the clock had already struck zero and the celebration was on.
I don’t think I could have witnessed a more exciting conclusion to what had already been a great game. it was a battle of two teams with different offensive strengths. Iolani was dominant through the air with quarterback Ryan Dung throwing for 5 touchdowns and over 300 yards. Their passing attack was enough to make June Jones proud. Conversely, the Na Ali’i of King K were dominant on the ground. Michael Douglas ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns while MIL leading rusher Shannon Kamakaokalani added 140 yards on 19 carries. The score swung back and forth throughout the game prior to the dramatic finish.
A big congratulations goes out to King Kekaulike for being the first MIL team to ever make it to a state final. The North Shore, the Upcountry and all the rest of Maui will be cheering you on for next Friday’s state final.
While King K won on the last play of the game, Baldwin High School lost a heartbreaker on the last play in the division I semifinals. Oahu powerhouse Kahuku won on a 43 yard touchdown pass with no time left. While it was a tough defeat, Baldwin deserves a hearty congratulations for their MIL crown and another great season.