WAILUKU - Two Maui Interscholastic League games, two dominating shutout wins for the Lahainaluna High School football team.
The Lunas forced six turnovers and cashed in for touchdowns on four of them in a 36-0 victory over Kamehameha Maui on Friday night in front of about 3,000 fans at War Memorial Stadium.
The other touchdown the Lunas scored - on a 23-yard run by backup quarterback Jeffrey Ancog with 72 seconds remaining - came after they took over the ball on downs deep in Warriors territory.
Lahainaluna High School’s Semisi Filikitonga eludes Kamehameha Maui’s Chayce Tancayo during the first quarter of the Lunas’ 36-0 victory over the Warriors on Friday in a Maui Interscholastic League game at War Memorial Stadium.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The Lunas (2-0) took a stronghold on the first-round race in MIL Division II play in a game that was scoreless for nearly the first 20 minutes. Lahainaluna, which beat Keaau 35-14 in nonleague play, is the only MIL team to have won all of its games this season.
"The defense had another solid week, they did a good job of preparing all week and it showed," said Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada one week after his team defeated King Kekaulike 29-0.
Three of the five interceptions the Lunas grabbed from Kalai Yap came on balls that tipped off receivers' hands.
"We got real lucky and I'm not throwing around the word 'lucky' haphazardly," Tihada said. "When we get a chance to watch the film, like last week we were lucky we got out of that game. Even this week, I'm sure we made a whole bunch of mistakes."
The Lunas built on their 10-0 halftime lead late in a hard-fought third quarter. Ancog intercepted a pass and instantly lateraled the ball to Kiko Kohler-Fonohema, who returned it 20 yards to the Kamehameha 35-yard line. Four plays later, Tytus Lucas scored on a 17-yard run with five seconds left in the period.
Lucas had two interceptions, ran six times for 23 yards and had 78 return yards.
Jared Purdy intercepted Yap's next pass and returned it 33 yards to the 12. Kohler-Fonohema scored on a 7-yard run two plays later.
On the Warriors' next possession, Lucas intercepted another tipped ball and returned it 39 yards to the 13. Kohler-Fonohema scored three plays later from the 1 - the short drive was helped by pass interference in the end zone and another flag on the Warriors that moved the ball to the 3.
"It gives you a good chance to win when the other team doesn't score," Tihada said.
Kamehameha was coming off a 10-7 loss to Maui High when the Sabers scored a touchdown with 18 seconds left.
"We saw the film and they did a great job against Maui High," Tihada said. "They played really, really hard then and tonight. All except that last drive, they shut down Maui High, so we knew they could play ball."
The Lunas gained 178 yards in the first half while allowing just 39, but couldn't break a scoreless tie until they got a turnover in Warriors territory.
Scott-Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa intercepted a pass to give Lahainaluna the ball on Kamehameha's 38-yard line with 6:55 left in the half. Six plays later, Kohler-Fonohema hit Asi Fatongia in the right corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown with 4:11 left.
After the Lunas forced a three-and-out, a punt by Acer Pahukoa hit one of his own players in the helmet and traveled only 29 yards, giving Lahainaluna possession on the Kamehameha 48. Reece Sinenci capped a 12-play drive when he hit a 26-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
"Lahainaluna is excellent and they are well-coached as always," Kamehameha coach Kevin O'Brien said. "My guys, we had very high expectations coming into this season and those things have not worked out for us, so we are facing a little bit of adversity right now. Lahainaluna played well, but we have to overcome our adversity. Our guys need to decide if this adversity is going to define them in a positive or negative way. I still believe in my guys and I still know they have great football in them."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
KS Maui ........... 0 ....... 0 ..... 0 ......... 0-0
Lahainaluna ..... 0 ..... 10 ..... 6 ..... 20-36
LL-Asi Fatongia 10 pass from Kiko Kohler-Fonohema (Reece Sinenci kick), 4:11.
LL-Sinenci 26 FG, 0:00.
LL-Tytus Lucas 17 run (kick failed), 0:05.
LL-Kohler-Fonohema 7 run (kick failed), 10:58.
LL-Kohler-Fonohema 1 run (Sinenci kick), 6:34.
LL-Jeffrey Ancog 23 run (Sinenci kick), 1:12.
Junior varsity-Lahainaluna 27, Kamehameha Maui 12.
Lahainaluna 36, Kamehameha Maui 0
Baldwin vs. Maui High at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 7
Baldwin vs. Lahainaluna at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8
King Kekaulike at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.