Farrington rides Mikaele over Damien into state semifinals

Nov. 12—It was 23 years in the making, but the Farrington Governors not only posted a win over Damien, but moved one step closer to a state title.

It was 23 years in the making, but the Farrington Governors not only posted a win over Damien, but moved one step closer to a state title.

Farrington came up with touchdowns on a kickoff return, a fumble return and an interception return to rally past Damien for a 48-26 win on Saturday night.

Sitani Mikaele rushed for 205 yards on 29 carries to power Farrington's bread-and-butter smashmouth attack.

The win advanced OIA runner-up Farrington (7-3 ) into the semifinal round of the Division I bracket of the First Hawaiian Bank /HHSAA Football State Championships. The Governors will meet OIA champion Waipahu on Saturday at the Marauders' field.

Senior edge rusher Anelu Lafaele was a wild card, coming up with two sacks and rattling Damien's passing game. His sack and forced fumble led to a return to the end zone by Heimana Richmond, opening the Governors' lead to 22-14.

"They were trying to RPO off me, but they weren't looking at me, so I read it and made the play. Their quarterback is a big kid. He's a baller, " Lafaele said. "Waipahu is stars. They've got ballers, players who can make the play. We've got to come out there prepared and work as a team."

Farrington's balance—and strength in special teams—was difficult for a young Damien squad to match.

"Offensively, we started slow, but once we got moving, it jelled for us. Defense did a great job getting turnovers, and we scored on special teams. We've got our work cut out for us next week, " Farrington coach Daniel Sanchez said. "And our O-line did a great job."

Jacob Talamoa was active as can be. The Farrington speedster returned a kickoff for a TD, ran for a TD and caught a TD pass. he also kicked two PATs.

"I just want to thank my heavenly father, Jesus Christ, and thank my O-linemen, " he said. "We're going to play Waipahu and bounce back."

Waipahu beat Farrington in the OIA final by the same score as Saturday's game between the Govs and Monarchs, 48-26.

ILH champion Damien closed the season 8-4 overall. The Monarchs were ahead 14-6 with a chance to score again when the tide changed.

"I give my hat's off to Farrington. You've got to give it to them. They came out and fought. I'm proud of my kids. We didn't execute when we needed to, " Damien coach Anthony Tuitele said. "The game plan was to keep them one dimensional—to pass the ball. We were almost there until the pick-6. The turnovers were key."

Everest Cole Rodriguez's 98-yard interception return prevented Farrington from potentially falling behind by two scores. His pick-6 allowed the Governors to tie the game and seize momentum.

It was Farrington's first win over Damien since 2000. The teams met just one time since, in 2007, a game that Tuitele played QB in. That game was a 14-all tie.