Defense, special teams propel Pearl City to victory
Pearl City’s offense pounced on opportunities presented by the Chargers’ defense and special teams units to fuel a 27-0 win over Roosevelt on Friday at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.
The Pearl City defense came up with four takeaways to feed an offense paced by senior running back Charles Freitas, who accounted for 91 of Pearl City’s 141 rushing yards. Three of quarterback Kekainalu Simon’s four completions went for touchdowns and the Chargers improved to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in OIA Division II play.
“The (offensive) line did a great job blocking, Charlie Freitas ran the ball pretty hard and special teams did a great job of giving us great field position,” Pearl City coach Robin Kami said.
The Pearl City defense forced three Roosevelt fumbles, with defensive back Kasey Kikuyama recovering two, and Jayden Madariaga’s fourth-quarter interception helped finish off the shutout.
“(Roosevelt) had some good drives on us. We bent a little bit, but we never broke at the end,” Kami said.
The host Rough Riders (12, 1-1) were without starting quarterback Shastyn Kekahuna due to a sprained ankle. Senior Noah Rosa took over behind center and running back Charvis Paia led the Rough Riders with 93 rushing yards.
But Pearl City took a 12-0 lead into halftime and converted two fumbles into touchdowns in the second half to pull away.
“Turnovers, you guys know how that goes,” Roosevelt coach Kui Kahooilihala said. “We have to take care of the ball better offensively.”
Robert Yamasaki ignited the Chargers with a 69-yard return on the game’s opening kickoff, setting up the Pearl City offense at the Roosevelt 15. After three incomplete passes, the Chargers took the lead on Zameer Khan’s 37-yard field goal.
Khan connected from 27 yards to give Pearl City a 6-0 cushion and after failing to convert on their first three third-down situations, the Chargers came up big on the fourth.
Facing third-and-9, Simon connected with Calvin Mock down the right side for a 30yard touchdown pass to give Pearl City a 12-0 early in the second quarter.
After Elijah Parrish recovered a fumble on the second play of the third quarter, Simon found Patrick Nunez open over the middle for a 27-yard score on thirdand-17. He closed the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mock while absorbing a crushing hit in the fourth quarter.
“He did a great job of reading the guys who were open tonight,” Kami said of Simon, who completed four of 14 passes for 103 yards. “He took the hit for the team and threw that touchdown at the end.”