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(Fri) December 4, 2009

HHSAA Division II FOOTBALL: Iolani Claims Third Straight DII State Football Title

By Kyle Galdeira

Iolani claimed its third consecutive championship and fourth crown in five years by fending off Kauai 24-17 in the Division II title game of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships tonight at Aloha Stadium.

The top-seeded Raiders (12-2) overcame seven turnovers as the tournament’s Interscholastic League of Honolulu representative completed the championship three-peat.

Iolani wasted no time scoring as, on Kauai’s first play from scrimmage, Reid Saito intercepted Trey Shimabukuro’s pass and returned it 36 yards for the touchdown to put the Raiders up 7-0 just 13 seconds into the game.

The Red Raiders (10-1), champions of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation, answered with a field goal midway through the opening period as Shea Shimabukuro nailed a 40-yard kick to narrow the deficit to 7-3.

Iolani countered with a field goal to push its lead to 10-3 as Andrew Skalman connected on a 28-yard field goal with just over a minute to go in the first quarter. 

But, Kauai—following a fumble by Iolani punt returner Sean Nada near midfield—drove deep into Raider territory and Trey Shimabukuro connected with Jamen Kealoha-Albarado on a nine-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 10. The costly turnover was Iolani’s fourth of five giveaways in the first half, three of which stemmed from Jarrett Arakawa interceptions.

After both squads traded fumbles, the Raiders took over on Kauai’s 24-yard line with 24 seconds remaining in the first half. But, Ammon Baldomero fumbled for the second time in the quarter, ending the scoring threat just before halftime with the score still tied.

The teams traded interceptions to begin the second half, and Iolani was first to take advantage. The Raiders drove into Kauai territory on the heels of a 46-yard pass from Arakawa to Trevyn Tulonghari. Baldomero capped the 11-play drive that spanned 91 yards with a three-yard touchdown run to put Iolani up 17-10 with 4:19 to play in the third quarter.

Following a Kauai punt, the Raiders put the game away with another scoring drive capped by an unconventional three-yard touchdown pass from Arakawa to defensive lineman Sealii Epenesa. The six-foot, two-inch, 315-pound lineman’s catch provided his squad with a 24-10 advantage, and put insurmountable pressure on the Red Raiders late in the contest.