Roosevelt Football Wins First Ever OIA Championship

CJ Caraang | SL

The Roosevelt football team won the OIA Division II Championship last night in spectacular fashion, avenging their sole loss of the season against Kaimuki, 28-18. The Rough Riders earned their first OIA title in school history and improved their record to 11-1 on the season (following St. Francis’ forfeited game). The season record is the team’s best since 1957 when the Rough Riders went 11-0 and won their final ILH championship. Now that they’re in the OIA, Roosevelt can boast their first program title in 61 years. Previously, the team hadn’t recorded more than seven wins since 1992 (eight victories) and in head coach Kui Kahoʻoilihala’s third season at the helm, the Rough Riders are champions once again. Kahoʻoilihala is now 17-11 (.607) as head coach. The 2018 squad recorded regular season wins against Nanakuli (13-7), PAC-5 (17-15), Kalani (30-0), Waialua (42-0), Kaiser (15-6), Kalaheo (42-6), McKinley (39-6), Pearl City (49-14), and St. Francis (2-0), as well as postseason victories over Pearl City (23-7) and now Kaimuki.
*Blogger’s unprofessional note: I cried all the tears upon hearing the results of this game! I am the proudest coach/Aunty ever!!*

The Rough Riders fell only to Kaimuki (8-3) this year in a battle won by a field goal, so they entered tonight’s game with a vengeance and the will to make history. Junior QB Sky Ogata completed 109 of 191 passes for 989 yards with seven TDs and four interceptions. The team scored on their first drive following runs of 12 and 9 yards by junior RB/LB Myka Kukahiwa and senior SS/FS Caine Fitiausi-Fung. Senior TE/LB/QB Nick Ogata caught 11 and 8-yard passes from his brother Sky before junior RB/LS Mitchell Camacho ran the ball in for a 6-yard TD. The Roosevelt defense forced back-to-back three and outs by Kaimuki before punting on their second series. The Bulldogs responded with a five-yard TD by Naomas Asuega-Fualaʻau and recovered a Roosevelt fumble on the next drive on their own 7-yard line, keeping the score at 7-6 in the Rough Riders’ favor. After a botched snap on fourth and four at the Kaimuki 24-yard line, Roosevelt took advantage of their field position, notching six points on a 1-yard run by junior RB/FS Aalona Monteilh. The score of the game was 13-6 following Roosevelt’s TD. Kaimuki snagged two first downs in their next series, but Jonah Faasoa was sacked by sophomore LB K.J. Davis on fourth down. Kaimuki forced a Roosevelt punt and marched down the field with 14, 25, and 16 yard passes before Asuega-Fualaʻau’s second TD of the day to nearly tie the score at 13-12 by halftime.

Although the Rough Riders punted on their first drive, Davis’ second sack of the game forced a Kaimuki fumble, which was recovered by Roosevelt’s defense. Unfortunately, back-to-back incomplete passes by Ogata gave the ball back to the Bulldogs. Three big Rough Riders penalties in the next Kaimuki series added yardage for Asuega-Fualaʻau’s third TD, giving Kaimuki an 18-13 lead going into the fourth quarter. Roosevelt’s coaching staff replaced Ogata with sophomore QB Brandon Teixeira in the final quarter, but he was sacked for a loss of six yards in his first play. With eight minutes left in the game, Kaimuki added consecutive runs, Asuega-Fualaʻau fumbled on the Roosevelt 40-yard line, which junior FS/WR Isaac Kaleikau recovered and ran back for a TD, putting the Rough Riders ahead, 21-18. The Bulldogs were made to punt on their next drive and Ogata was sacked on Roosevelt’s series, so Kaimuki regained the ball with only four minutes left. After a 2-yard Bulldog run, Kaleikau intercepted another pass, which the Roosevelt offense failed to turn into a score. The Rough Riders were forced to punt with two minutes on the board. The field was set for a Kaimuki comeback with 15, 11, and three yard consecutive passes, but with 23 seconds left on third and 12, senior SS/FS Marcus Hee intercepted Faasoa’s pass and returned it for a 73-yard TD to seal the deal with a 28-18 score.