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Lunas-Bears II was worth the price of admission
October 14, 2012 - Robert Collias
In what has to be the largest crowd in War Memorial Stadium since 11,254 souls crammed in for the Hawaii-Montana game on Sept. 8, 2001, Baldwin's Keelan Ewaliko showed just how talented he is in overtime.
Everyone in the crowd of about 8,000 knew the ball wasn't leaving Ewaliko's hands in overtime — it didn't and the Bears beat Lahainaluna 20-17 in overtime.
"In overtime, I was just thinking: 'Anything can happen, but we just have to believe in ourselves and come out playing hard and never give up, never quit,' " Ewaliko said in quotes that didn't make my story linked above.
Ewaliko ran for 4 yards, then 9 to the Luna 7, and then willed his way in from there in the prep overtime format that is similar to college, except that it starts on the 20-yard line, not the 25.
He couldn't be stopped and showed just how much he means to the Bears' state hopes.
Lahainaluna can be proud — this was as hard-fought an MIL game as I can remember — and their defense has still surrendered just three touchdowns in seven MIL games, all of them Saturday night. Remember the Lunas have only about 35 guys in uniform, some of whom were not available Saturday night, and they beat an Ewaliko-less Baldwin team 32-0 on Sept. 7.
On a night when stadium manager Keoni Tengan was directing folks in the jam-packed parking lot until the third quarter and the admission line didn't dissipate until midway through the second quarter, this one had the feeling of electricity all evening on Lahainaluna's homecoming night.
In the end, Ewaliko willed his team to the win, much like he did last season in the state quarterfinals against Farrington.
Baldwin coach A.J. Roloos said of the Lunas' Division II state title hopes, "I hope they bring it home" — the Lunas have to be the odds-on favorite for the D-II state crown at this point.
Then, Roloos talked about Ewaliko.
"Like I have been saying, he is a remarkable athlete," said Roloos, who Saturday night guided the Bears from the coaches' room in the press box instead of his usual spot on the sideline. "When you have got somebody back there who can run, who can throw, he is something special to us. We are enjoying it right now. We have got two more games, tonight we clinched it. We have got two more games and we are going to get ready for the state tournament."
Lunas' co-head coach Garret Tihada said of Ewaliko, "Tonight was evident why he is the (MIL Offensive) Player of the Year the last two years. You can stop him for only so long, but he keeps going and going and going."
Here is a link to Scoringlive.com's take on the game with a lot of help from us. I got to meet SL's Brien Ing and his crew last night — pretty cool they could make it over for this game. Their link will include video soon.
Meantime, just sent in my top-10 ballots for SL and the Star-Advertiser. Here is the way I see things (SL power ranking come out Monday and S-A's top-10 will be published on Tuesday): 1. Kahuku, 2. Punahou, 3. Farrington, 4. Mililani, 5. Leilehua, 6. Kamehameha Kapalama, 7. Saint Louis, 8. Baldwin, 9. Lahainaluna, 10. Iolani.
Let me know what your impressions of the game were, if y'all feel so inclined.
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