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Windward // Windward Oahu Sports

It’s Rams Butting Mustangs In OIA White Football Action

Although there is much to be decided in the OIA White Division, Kalaheo’s trip to Radford Saturday night is clearly a red-letter game, given the Rams’ impressive beginning to 2012. The Windward Islander breaks down this much-anticipated matchup as well as the other football games involving Windward schools. (Castle is idle this week.)

Kalaheo at Radford — 6 p.m. Saturday

One month into the season, the White Conference appears to run through Radford. The Rams took care of business against a good Pearl City team in week one and then buried Roosevelt under a 69-0 avalanche in week two before heading to Oregon last week for a road date with Crescent Valley. The Rams’ offense has been doing most of the damage, averaging a whopping 407 yards through those encounters. Radford quarterback Cody Lui-Yuen has been especially efficient with six touchdown passes and only one interception to date. Offensive weapons also include running back Chris Brown and wide-outs Jameson Pasigan and Julian Brown.

Kalaheo has relied on a solid ground game to date, averaging 245 rushing yards per game. Those numbers bode well for the team, which will likely need to possess the ball to position itself for a win here. The more the ball is with Kalaheo, the fewer opportunities for Radford’s offense. Mustang backs Cristian Johnston, Makena Johnston, Willie Lynch, Chase Hanawahine and Stephen Lee give the team plenty of depth in the backfield, while tight end Nainoa Frank is one of the most capable in the state at his position.

McKinley at Kahuku — 6 p.m. Friday

The ability to run the ball on offense and to stop the run on defense is an unwavering recipe for success in football. In that regard, no one has been better at it than Kahuku. If its opening night win over Punahou (a rematch of last November’s DI state title game, no less) was any indication, the Kahuku defense already is in mid-season form as it held a good Buffanblu team to minus-five yards on the ground. Offensively, the only team to stop Kahuku so far has been the Red Raiders themselves, who were plagued by turnovers in the first half of that game. Kahuku’s offensive line, meanwhile, had a second half to remember in the aforementioned week one, clearing the way for running back Aofaga Wily, who amassed 225 of Kahuku’s 322 rushing yards. A bye week preceded the game with Kailua last weekend.

McKinley traveled to Oregon last week to take on La Salle High School, a week after breaking into the win column with a 45-13 rout of Kaimuki. Defense has carried the Tigers so far, as they are yielding only 172 yards overall per game. Dual-threat quarterback Denzel Kalahiki-Gasper makes the offense go. He threw for 275 yards and three touch-downs and ran for 67 yards and two more scores to lead McKinley in its win over Kaimuki.

Kailua versus Kaimuki — 6 p.m. Saturday at Kaiser High

The weekend’s most intriguing matchup is arguably here, as scoring has been hard to come by for both teams so far. Both have struggled to run the ball, and both have given up huge chunks of yardage in defending the run.

Something has to give here, obviously. Kailua running back Jarrin Young has been stellar to date, averaging 5.0 yards per attempt on a team-high 29 carries. A big game from him on Saturday could go a long way in aiding Kailua’s cause. Backfield mates Micah Kaimana and William Kailimai also have averaged better than five yards per carry. Quarterback Kahaku Iaea and receivers Noah Auld and Cason Kalei balance out the Surfrider attack.

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