Spartans drop game to Pahoa Daggers but contain offense

Max Flammer, Guest Writer

Our Seabury Hall Spartans football team battled the Pahoa Daggers of Hawaii on the gridiron Friday, September 1 in Pahoa. The back and forth game, unfortunately, ended with a Spartans loss, of 28-16, but Seabury left a lasting impression.

Starting linebacker, Rolando Berdal, who is a senior and team captain, said of the game, “I thought we did really well, it was the hardest hitting game I’ve been a part of…. I think the way our defense played was scary because we shut their running back down. He had 700 yards combined in the past two games, but he didn’t even make it to 100 against us.”

Berdal was alluding to standout running back, Keala Harris, who ran for 289 yards and three touchdowns against the Molokai Farmers last month.

The defense kept contain on the edges, meaning not letting anyone outside of them. This tactic lead to Harris have to run up the middle only to be met by senior Chase Granum or another D-lineman junior Keanu Akina-Ancog.

Berdal credits this strategy to the fellow defenders: “We worked on keeping contain on this particular back because he is really fast and he cuts back, so we just played our responsibility.”

The scheme certainly paid off as the Spartans kept Harris in contain, leaving the offense on the shoulders of the QB Josiah Waiolama.

With the weak running game, Pahoa had to turn to the passing game. Number 18 Chase Granum rushed the QB at will and did not allow Waiolama time to throw. When he did have time, their receivers would typically have a step or two on the Spartan corners. Waiolama dropped in a couple of over-the-shoulder passes on key third downs to keep Pahoa alive on offense.

Freshman Jack Hedden got the start at QB on the first drive, as the Spartans implemented a wildcat formation. Hedden received the ball from center Chase Granum and would run right up to the A-gap for games of 5-7 yards, and he even broke loose for a 10-yarder. The decision left Pahoa puzzled and confused.

When QB, Jack Almeida entered the game, the coaches dialed up the run, and Almeida delivered. The passing game did not bring enough to the table to compete with Pahoa; however, Almeida did make up for the passing game with his feet.

As the pocket collapsed, he tucked it and ran behind the Spartan O-line. Almeida would pick up yards in bunches as Seabury marched down the field. Unfortunately, the sustainability of the offense was not their significant opportunity slipped through their hands.

Down by two touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, Tai Ornelles ran a kickoff down to the Dagger 30-yard line. Stepping to the line with man-to-man coverage, Almeida took a three step drop and aired it out to starting receiver Kai Preseault. Having run a fly route, Preseault looked for the ball, but with the overthrown pass, the corner had picked it off.

Watching the game a day later on film, I could see the air come out of the Spartans team; they knew they did not pounce on that opportunity.

With the game out of reach, sophomore running back JJ Snyder broke through the Pahoa secondary and took it to the Daggers two-yard line. Preseault then caught a slant pass from Almeida to cut the deficit 14. ith a converted two-point conversion, Seabury was down by 12 with a few minutes left.

Unable to complete the comeback, Seabury geared for the Farmers Saturday, September 9. The Spartans hope to end a four game losing streak dating back to 2015.

Max Flammer’s Three Stars:
1st star: Chase Granum
He put pressure on the opposing QB, for what seemed like the entire game and he finished the game with 3 sacks, 20 tackles, including 5 tackles for loss. According to Berdal, this was the best he has ever seen him play. Granum also performed magnificently on the O-line, as he opens holes for Almeida and the running backs to run through. Hats off, Chase.

2nd star: Entire defensive line and linebackers
Stopping one of the best running backs on the Big Island is an accomplishment in itself. When you hold him to under 100 yards, you had a heck of a performance. This Star belongs to the entire D-Line and the linebackers.

3rd Star: Tai Ornelles
Ornelles returned a 70-yard kick return in the second half and had a lot of rushing yards. He gained the yards in bunches, and he contributed to the offenses immensely.