Second half surge propels Radford to first state title in 34 yea - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Second half surge propels Radford to first state title in 34 years

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Trying to put a halt to a 34-year state championship drought, it didn't start well for the Radford Rams, but it sure did end well.  Trailing Kapa'a 16-7 with six seconds left in the first half, the Rams scored 23 unanswered points to win 30-16 and capture their first HHSAA state title and second championship in program history (1981 Prep Bowl).

Heavy rains at Aloha Stadium contributed to ball security issues for Radford in the first half and the Warriors capitalized.  Ace Faumui's fumble midway through the first quarter led to a 10-play Kapa'a scoring drive capped off by Kekoa Kaluahine-Cacal's one-yard touchdown run to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.

Another Radford fumble led to a Clifton Oliver 45-yard field goal extending the Kapa'a lead to 10-0 before Quintin Iriarte hit Thomas Reid over the middle for a 78-yard touchdown giving the Rams life.  It was the first offensive TD the Warriors defense had allowed all season.

A bad snap, Radford's fourth turnover of the first half, allowed Johnathan Bilyeu to scoop and score from eight yards out giving the Warriors a 16-7 lead.  From there, it was all Rams.

"As a team we knew this was our last game together and we needed to bring it back to Radford," Iriarte said.  "We're representing the island of Oahu and all the people in the stands behind us.   We knew we had to take it.  There was no doubt in our minds at the beginning of the game that we could take this, and we did."

An Iriarte eight-yard touchdown pass to Faumui with six seconds remaining in the half cut the Rams deficit to 16-14 at halftime.  A Radford field goal was the lone scoring play of the third quarter, giving the Rams a 17-16 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Dillon Sunday picked up a Kurt Napolean fumble and returned it 26-yards for the touchdown putting Radford up 23-16.  The first offensive play for Kapa'a following the fumble was an interception.  Faumui and the Rams capitalized on the first play with a 45-yard touchdown run to cap off the scoring.

It was a storybook ending for Radford head coach Fred Salanoa who is expected to retire.

"Just happy," Salanoa said afterwards.  "Anybody that coaches high school football knows we don't do it for the money, and we definitely don't do it for the fame.  We do everything we do for the young men and the student-athletes that we work with day in and day out.  Everything is about them, and we're so grateful for this opportunity to be here."

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