It took a final, big defensive play to get Sierra Vista’s football team its first victory of the season.
Kaimuki (Hawaii) got within two points with 32 seconds left, and had a two-point conversion attempt after its last touchdown to send the game into overtime. Instead, the Mountain Lions defense attacked from both sides of the offensive line, converged on Kaimuki quarterback Jonah Fa’asoa, and got the sixth sack of the game to preserve a 28-26 home win.
“We know we’re a good team when we play together,” Mountain Lions coach John Foss said. “We’re just trying to learn how to win.”
Three of Sierra Vista’s current players used to play for Kaimuki, which was one of the reasons Foss invited the Bulldogs to the mainland to play this game.
Senior quarterback Jordan Solomon was one of that trio, and he enjoyed his night — mostly.
Solomon threw for 204 yards and a touchdown, then added a 16-yard touchdown run, before he suffered what Foss said looks like a knee injury that forced him to the sidelines with just over 9 minutes left in the game.
Sierra Vista (1-2) led just 14-12 at the time. Then freshman Jayden Maiava entered.
After two incompletions and a first-down throw, Jett Solomon caught a sideline pass and raced 40 yards to put Sierra Vista in front, 21-12, with 8:14 left.
Kaimuki, though, made two huge plays in the final four minutes to keep this one in doubt.
“We like to keep the spectators in the seats,” Foss said.
Sierra Vista looked like it was ready to put this one away at the four-minute mark. But on a first-and-10 from the Bulldog 11-yard line, Maiava mishandled the ball on an attempted handoff and the ball fumbled to the turf.
Kaimuki’s Elijah Lemalu scooped it up at the 15 and raced 85 yards for the touchdown. After the successful two-point conversion, and still with 3:51 remaining, the Bulldogs had closed the gap to 21-20.
Maiava responded for the Mountain Lions, authoring a four-play, 55 yard drive that culminated when Maiava found Cameron Murray cutting to the center of the field for another 40-yard score and a 28-20 lead.
Kaimuki had another trick up its sleeve, though.
Facing a second-and-1 at the Sierra Vista 45, and with just 42 seconds left on the clock, Fa’asoa slung a pass out to the right side. The receiver caught it and immediately pitched to running back Jonah Stephens on the sideline.
The hook-and-ladder play worked to perfection as Stephens raced 45 yards untouched, hitting the end zone with 32 seconds left, and closing the gap again, to 28-26. That completion was the last of Fa’asoa’s 17 on the night, accounting for 308 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Fa’asoa dropped to pass on the potential tying two-point conversion. Instead, a pride of blue-clad Mountain Lions buried him for the sack.
Kaimuki (3-1) attempted a desperation onside kick, but it went out of bounds to effectively end the game.