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Lunas meet Bears tonight, stadium should be rocking

September 13, 2013 - Robert Collias
For the last dozen years, Baldwin and Lahainaluna have ruled MIL football.

The first meeting of the season between the top two teams arrives tonight when the Lunas and Bears meet at War Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7, but a long JV game could push that to 7:30 or so.

It is a classic matchup of the Lunas' surrender-nothing defense and the Bears' high-octane offense.

A few facts, in no particular order, that got trimmed from my story in this morning's paper for space reasons:

As freshmen and sophomores two seasons ago, the leaders on this Lahainaluna team endured 40-0 and 41-0 losses to Baldwin.

Last year, the Lunas extracted redemption with a 32-0 victory over the Bears in September. When Bears all-star quarterback Keelan Ewaliko returned from an injury, however, it was Baldwin that pulled out a thrilling 20-17 overtime victory. Ewaliko is now redshirting as a freshman for the University of Hawaii.

If the Lunas have a weakness, it is their passing game — Makoa Filikitonga is 8-for-29 for 143 yards and an interception. It has been a point of emphasis this week.

“Baldwin, like everyone else, will play us for the run and force us to throw the ball, so we will find out pretty quick if we have accomplished anything in the passing game,” Lunas' co-head Garret Tihada said.

Lahainaluna averages 331 yards per game on the ground, however, and had 13 different players carry the ball last week.

Besides losses to Lahainaluna in 2009 and 2012, Baldwin has lost only to King Kekaulike, in 2009, while going 67-3-1 in MIL play since mid-2004.

A few more names and numbers are here in This Week in MIL Football.

This season, the Lunas are the top-ranked team in scoringlive.com’s state Division II power rankings, while Baldwin is the No. 10 team on the D-I list.

Last week, the Bears piled up 529 yards of offense in a 42-35 win over Kamehameha Maui.

Who will win? Good question.

One thing I am sure of: it will be a full house and War Memorial Stadium should be rocking tonight.

 
 

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