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(Fri) November 27, 2009

HHSAA Division I FOOTBALL: Cameron Mercado Kicks Kahuku into State Title Game

By Kyle Galdeira

Kahuku is headed back to the state championship game for the first time since winning the state title in 2006 after eking out a 9-6 overtime victory over Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East rival Farrington in the semifinal round of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships tonight at Aloha Stadium.

The top-seeded Red Raiders (12-0) scored all their points on three field goals by kicker Cameron Mercado, including a 49-yard blast to end the first half. Kahuku, the OIA champion, advances to face the winner of the other semifinal contest pitting Kamehameha against Leilehua.

Farrington (9-3) received a game-high 185 yards rushing from senior running back Harry Tuimaseve. The back averaged 6.4 yards-per-rush on the evening and scored the team’s lone touchdown.

The contest featured two run-oriented offenses jockeying for field position. Both defensive units reigned supreme in the opening period as the two squads combined for just one first down and six passing yards.

Farrington struck first nearly two minutes into the second quarter, and capped a seven-play, 35-yard drive on a one-yard run by Tuimaseve. However, Kahuku’s Hauoli Jamora blocked the extra point attempt to hold the Governors’ lead at 6-0.

Kahuku drove into Farrington territory late in the first half, and, after falling short of the endzone despite running an efficient hurry-up offense, Mercado booted a 49-yard field goal as time expired to pull the Red Raiders within three points of the lead, 6-3.

Tuimaseve provided the bulk of Farrington’s offensive output, rushing for 81 yards on 16 carries in the first half. In comparison, Kahuku compiled 98 total yards of offense in the first stanza.

Kahuku had a promising drive going midway through the third quarter on the heels of a successful fake punt on fourth down, but squandered the scoring opportunity. The Governors continued to rely on the run, and stretched the clock while clinging to the three-point lead as Tuimaseve reached the 100-yard rushing mark by the end of the third quarter.