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BIIF football: Hill nails 58-yard field goal in Konawaena rout

Konawaena’s Harry Hill didn’t anticipate any media obligations in his near future when he woke up Saturday.

In fact, the unassuming place-kicker had to be coaxed out of the locker room by quarterback Austin Ewing for a postgame talk.

Ewing, who wasn’t allowed to start against Waiakea and didn’t need to finish, was one of the variables for the Wildcats in their 57-8 victory at Ken Yamase Memorial Stadium.

Hill was one of the constants for Konawaena (5-0 BIIF Division II football, 5-2), putting his mark on the state record books by nailing a a 58-yard field goal on a free kick to close the first half.

“The team was just all amped up for me,” the junior said.

With the game getting out of hand thanks to Ewing’s second-quarter onslaught – the senior accounted for five touchdowns in all – Hill put on a kicking exhibition. Aided by a wind at his back and Waiakea’s field turf, he routinely boomed his kickoffs through the uprights, a distance of 70 yards.

“I thought I could make it,” Hill said. “I think I was more excited for the 70-yard kicks, but I was more surprised for the field goal.”

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state record for a field goal is 57 yards, accomplished first in 2009 by Hilo’s Christian Daog against Kamehameha and matched in 2013 by Kailua’s Naia Graham in an OIA game against Kaimuki.

Both of those were conventional field-goal tries, and while some will choose to put an asterisk next to Hill’s name because his was a free kick, 58 yards is 58 yards. Hawaii Prep’s Alex Brost made a 53-yard field goal in 2015 against Keaau.

“He has had the potential all along,” Konawaena coach Brad Uemoto said. “We’ve been kicking on a muddy field, and I think he felt great on the turf.”

Uemoto took advantage of an often-ignored rule, used by the pros as well, that allows a team that makes a fair catch on a punt to try a free kick from the spot of the catch. Hill simply lined up for a kickoff from the Warriors’ 48 and blasted away.

“We kind of talked about it last year, but we never needed it,” Hill said. “When (Coach) called it, I just got ready.

“(The turf) was good for my stats. The wind was helping a lot.”

Ewing missed the first quarter because of what Uemoto called a “minor” rule violation, and Konawaena was sluggish offensively on it first four drives, clinging to 6-0 lead on Paka Cacoulidis’ 48-yard interception return. Once the two-time BIIF Division II Offensive Player of the Year returned at the start of the second quarter, the offense instantly roared into gear, using favorable field position to score touchdowns on six of its next seven drives.

“The suspension happened at the last minute, and we never fully prepared without him,” Uemoto said. “It was kind of scrambled.”

Ewing finished 13 of 22 for 177 yards and touchdown passes to four different receivers (Herman Kihe, Chauncey Mariani-Lewis, Tyler Libarios, Ka’ano’i Rivera-Kelekolio).

Kihe also scored on a pick-six and the Wildcats churned out 108 yards on the ground, including Michael Banagan-Brock’s 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

“Yes, it’s like flipping the switch (with Austin) in there,” Uemoto said, “but we need to get more dimensions without him.”

The other constant for Konawaena, which has a showdown at Kamehameha looming Friday – was its defense.

On homecoming, the Warriors (0-5 BIIF Division I, 1-7) lost their seventh game in a row, finally ending a stretch that saw them get outscored 152-0 when quarterback Noah Eblacas scored on a short run after hooking up with Kingsley Kalili on a couple of circus catches.

Eblacas was 7 of 26 for 109 yards with two interceptions, and the Wildcats held Waiakea to minus-40 yards rushing for the game and only one first down in the first half – which was immediately followed by a Konawaena fumble recovery.

“The defense has come around big-time and that’s a credit to the staff for coaching up the positions,” Uemoto said. “Just a whole different defense than at the beginning of the season.”

Konawaena 6 31 14 6 – 57

Waiakea 0 0 0 8 – 8

First quarter

Kona — Paka Cacoulidis 48 interception return (kick failed), 6:38

Second quarter

Kona — Austin Ewing 1 run (Harry Hill kick), 11:02

Kona — Herman Kihe 22 pass from Ewing (Hill kick), 5:50

Kona — Chauncey Mariani-Lewis 3 pass from Ewing (42 kick), 3:31

Kona — Tyler Libarios 5 pass from Ewing (Hill kick), 1:18

Kona — FG Hill 58, 0:00 q

Third quarter

Kona – Ka’ano’i Rivera-Kelekolio 20 pass from Ewing (Hill kick), 4:42

Kona — Michael Banagan-Brock 5 run (42 kick), 3:06

Fourth quarter

Waiakea — Noah Eblacas 1 run (6 pass from Eblacas ), 9:18

Kona — Kihe 42 interception return (conversion failed), 1:32


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