PUKALANI - Don't look now, but the Kamehameha Schools Maui football team is tied for first place in the Maui Interscholastic League Division II race. And they host a date with Lahainaluna next Saturday with first place on the line.
The Warriors matched their MIL win total from a season ago with a convincing 40-0 victory over King Kekaulike on Saturday at Kanaiaupuni Stadium, improving to 2-1.
Daylan Machado came into the game with one catch for 5 yards in MIL play. On Saturday, he caught three balls for 105 yards and three touchdowns - of 21, 43 and 41 yards.
Keenan Kaluau of Kamehameha Schools Maui returns a punt as King Kekaulike’s Javon Swain
closes in during the third quarter of the Warriors’ 40-0 victory over Na Alii in a Maui Interscholastic League game Saturday at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
Caught 3 touchdown passes
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Kamehameha Maui’s Michael Lacno carries the ball in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 40-0 victory over King Kekaulike on Saturday night at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The Warriors’ Kupono Cabanas upends Na Alii’s Iokepa Luat-Hueu in the third quarter.
The Warriors knew they had a chance to set up next week's showdown with the Lunas after watching Baldwin's 27-20 win over Lahainaluna on Friday night.
''That is what we needed to do,'' said Kamehameha coach Kevin O'Brien. ''Thank you Baldwin last night for the great effort. That was a terrific game last night - both schools were fantastic. We knew we had to win tonight to keep pace with Lahainaluna. They are coming to our place next Saturday night and we are looking forward to that.''
The Warriors used a familiar route to take a 21-0 lead at halftime - stellar defense and an offense that capitalized on seemingly all of its opportunities. Kamehameha came into the game ranked first in the MIL on defense, surrendering just 128.5 yards per game. Na Alii (1-3) were limited to 140 total yards on Saturday in front of about 1,500 fans.
After the teams traded punts early in the game, Kamehameha took advantage of field position set up by the gusting winds and went 51 yards in eight plays, a drive culminated by a 21-yard pass from Bryson Souza to Machado with 3 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After forcing Na Alii to go three-and-out on the next possession, the Warriors' special teams pressured Taylor DeGuerra into an 8-yard punt that gave them the ball on King Kekaulike's 40-yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage, Michael Lacno ran into the pile, appeared to be stopped, then bounced out and scored with 1:51 left in the first quarter. Lacno finished with 14 carries for 70 yards.
A couple of possessions later, it was the same game plan after a 2-yard punt. Machado caught a 43-yard scoring pass from Souza with 3:51 to go in the first half.
Kamehameha piled up 207 yards of offense in the first two quarters and could have had more if not for two interceptions by King Kekaulike's C.J. Rilveria.
Na Alii had 88 yards of offense in the first half.
It stayed the same way in the second half as a three-and-out forced by the defense led to a 22-yard punt, and on the second play from scrimmage, Machado caught his third touchdown pass to make it 27-0 just 2:00 in.
O'Brien said it was a plan to get the ball to Machado as Cody Pundyke has carried the receiving load for the Warriors, leading the league with 12 catches for 216 yards and a touchdown coming into the game. He had three more for 49 yards on Saturday.
''I want us to be offensively balanced,'' O'Brien said. ''The other guy (Pundyke) has been our terrific wide receiver so far. So we needed to get the other guy (Machado) involved so now they can't just focus on one guy. At the same time, guys block, the running back picks up the blitz, the guy steps back and makes the throw. The other guys run routes to pull guys off of him, so it is a team game.''
The defensive shutout was the third the Warriors have had in four games this season, including a 32-0 win two weeks ago over La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day School. Baldwin beat Kamehameha 41-6 last week in a game that was 14-6 three minutes into the third quarter.
''The defense has been driving the train,'' said O'Brien, also the team's offensive coordinator. ''I have no problem with that. It is a three-part series - our kicking game has been solid, our offense has again shown sparks. The big goal for us was to overcome the adversity we went through last week in the second half, in getting beat up by Baldwin. The goal was to see if that adversity could make us stronger. That is what we hoped to accomplish and I think the kids did a good job this week.''
King Kekaulike, which gave up 274 yards, dressed 28 players on Saturday.
''I have said it before, everybody in this league is good,'' said Na Alii coach P.K. Higa. ''Nobody is easy, there is no easy road. Numbers-wise and physically, everybody is pretty much bigger than we are. We are the smallest team in the league right now. The kids, week after week, they play their hearts out. We appreciate them. They do the best that they can. We just have to get better - all of us.''
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
King Kekaulike 0 0 0 0- 0
KS Maui 13 8 12 7-40
KSM-Daylan Machado 21 pass from Bryson Souza (Keenan Kaluau kick), 3:59.
KSM-Michael Lacno 40 run (run failed), 1:51.
KSM-Machado 43 pass from Souza (Souza run), 3:51.
KSM-Machado 41 pass from Souza (pass failed), 10:00.
KSM-Cody Pundyke 9 run (run failed), 5:29.
KSM-Jesse Yamada recovered fumble in end zone (Kawena Chang-Yuen kick), 8:52.
Junior varsity-Kamehameha Maui 47, King Kekaulike 0.
At War Memorial Stadium
Lahainaluna 7 7 6 0-20
Baldwin 7 10 7 3-27
LL-John Mishima 24 pass from T.J. Rickard (Tytus Lucas kick), 6:47.
B-Kamalei Benjamin-Maielua 8 run (Ceejay Santos kick), 1:04.
LL-Jojo Hidalgo 41 run (Lucas kick), 9:51.
B-FG Santos 53, 5:24.
B-Keelan Ewaliko 13 run (Santos kick), 0:46.
LL-Chanse Uyeda 1 run (kick failed), 7:19.
B-Benjamin-Maielua 4 run (Santos kick), 4:38.
RUSHING-LL, Hidalgo 7-101, Rickard 17-33, Jostin Carbajal 7-12, B.J. Pagdilao-Bala 3-16, Loupua Hafoka 1-5, Uyeda 2-5; B, Ewaliko 13-135, Benjamin-Maielua 15-44, Ramsey Pacubas 5-20, Sheldon Leong 1-(minus 5).
PASSING-LL, Rickard 11-23-1-145; B, Ewaliko 9-16-2-34.
RECEIVING-LL, Mishima 2-70, Pagdilao-Bala 2-37, Carbajal 2-12, Chase Rogers 2-2, Daven Arcangel 1-17, Uyeda 1-10; B, Ro Wilson 3-12, Santos 2-9, Kaiana Camvel 2-4, Leong 1-9, Daena Sato 1-0.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-None.