PUKALANI - Kamehameha Schools Maui was the last Maui Interscholastic League football team to play its nonleague game. It turned out to be worth the wait.
The Warriors defense allowed no scoring for the second game in a row, special teams provided the first 12 points and the offense joined the party in the second half of a 32-0 win over La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day School on Saturday night in front of about 800 fans at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
Kamehameha's Cody Pundyke was a major contributor with a blocked punt that Matthew Kahoohanohano scooped up and returned for a touchdown - Pundyke also had five catches for 137 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown.
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
Jordan Nauka of Kamehameha Schools Maui tries to get by La Jolla’s Eduardo Garcia (7) and Tyler Sheflo on an interception return in the first quarter of the Warriors’ 32-0 victory over the Torreys on Saturday at Kanaiaupuni Stadium. Trailing the play is Alika Sanchez.
Major contributor in game
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
Kamehameha Maui’s Bryson Souza tries to escape the tackle of La Jolla’s Fiaalii Togiaso Jr. in the first quarter.
Fittingly, the defense put the icing on the cake when Kawika Kong recovered a fumbled snap and raced 70 yards for the final touchdown with 5 minutes, 43 seconds to play.
The Warriors have forced 13 turnovers in two weeks and out-scored the Torreys and Maui High by a combined 72-2.
''The defense is carrying the day, the defense is keeping us close, the defense is keeping it even so the offense can kind of play catch-up and that is sort of what is happening,'' said Kamehameha coach Kevin O'Brien.
After the offense sputtered its way to a 6-0 halftime lead, special teams struck for the Warriors just 2:12 into the second half when Pundyke knifed though the middle of the line and used his left arm to block the punt of Hunter Khaleghi. The ball went careening towards the Torreys' goal line - Kahoohano-hano grabbed it at the 10-yard line and scored on the play that began at the La Jolla 37-yard line.
The Kamehameha offense got going after that, going 90 yards in 11 plays on its next possession, a drive capped with a 1-yard run by quarterback Bryson Souza. Pundyke caught passes of 13 and 26 yards on the drive and Souza was 3-for-3 passing, also hitting Kaimalu Stanich for 23 yards to the 1.
The Warriors showed quick-strike ability on their next possession as Michael Lacno ripped off a 34-yard run on the first play and Souza hit Pundyke for his 46-yard touchdown on the next to make the score 25-0 with 10:22 to play.
The Torreys dressed only 27 players, and some of the 10 varsity sophomores also played in a 13-12 junior varsity win.
''They have a very good team, a very good program, and frankly, I think we got a little bit of the fatigue factor,'' O'Brien said. ''That helped us out a lot. They were fatigued. They had a number of guys who played both games, they had a bunch of guys playing both ways. I'm proud of our effort, I'm proud of our kids, but we have got a lot of work to do now.''
The Warriors' next game is Friday against five-time defending MIL Division I champion Baldwin.
''Baldwin is not going to care what this score was, Baldwin is going to come and think they can pound us,'' O'Brien said. ''If we don't play better, if we don't keep getting better every week, they will pound us.''
The Warriors' Nico Lopes kicked 37- and 38-yard field goals in the second quarter.
The first came with 6:22 left in the first half and was set up by a fumble recovered by Ken Kanemitsu that gave Kamehameha the ball on La Jolla's 26-yard line. The Warriors could gain only seven yards in three plays and Lopes converted with a stiff wind at his back.
Lopes' 38-yarder came as time expired in the first half and after Souza was sacked for a 12-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 9. The kick was a rocket shot that might have been good from 10 yards farther and culminated a seven-play, 52-yard drive. On the drive Souza hit Daylan Machado for a 21-yard pass in the flat on the first play and two plays later, Pundyke took a short pass to the left and broke several tackles before being grabbed at the 10.
La Jolla committed turn-overs on its first three possessions of the game - an interception by Kamehameha's Jordan Nauka and two fumbles. The second fumble was the most fortunate for the Warriors as Sage Burmeister caught a pass from Ruben Pena inside the 10 and fumbled into the end zone. Taylor Kaaukai recovered and returned it 23 yards with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.
That miscue thwarted an eight-play, 52-yard drive.
La Jolla had 90 total yards in the first half and Kamehameha had 120.
The Warriors finished with 290 yards of offense and limited the Torreys to 194.
La Jolla Country Day School is private and has about 1,200 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The Torreys, named after the pine trees common to the San Diego area, won the Division 5 Pacific League last season and finished 10-2.
''I thought their defense and their offense played incredibly hard,'' Torreys coach Jeff Hutzler said of the Warriors. ''They are a well-drilled, disciplined team. A very good team - their special teams were tough, too. This wind was tough and they played well in this wind. All the credit to them, they did a good job.''
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
|La Jolla||0||0||0||0— 0|
|KSM—Nico Lopes 37 FG, 6:22.|
|KSM—Lopes 38 FG, 0:00.|
|KSM—Matthew Kahoohanohano 37 blocked punt return (run failed), 9:48.|
|KSM—Bryson Souza 1 run (kick failed), 2:06.|
|KSM—Cody Pundyke 46 pass from Souza (Lopes kick), 10:22.|
|KSM—Kawika Kong 70 fumble return (Lopes kick), 5:43.|
|Junior Varsity—La Jolla Country Day 13, Kamehameha Maui 12.|