WAILUKU - On its centennial homecoming night, the Maui High School football team gave a crowd of about 5,000 plenty of reasons to celebrate Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
The Sabers clinched their first winning season in a decade with a convincing 41-20 victory over Kamehameha Maui.
Maui High is 2-1 in the second round of Maui Interscholastic League play, 4-3 in the league season and 6-3 overall.
Maui High School’s Mario Fernandez tries to fend off Kamehameha Maui’s Colton Cabanas during the first quarter of the Sabers’ 41-20 win over the Warriors on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Maui High’s Austin Hoe passes as Kamehameha Maui’s Austin Kan Hai closes in during the first quarter.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
The Sabers entered a tie for the MIL Division I second-round lead with Baldwin with one game to play for each. The Bears own the tie-breaker, but the Sabers owned Saturday night.
"We're very happy for these boys, but like I told them: 'The job is not done, we still have one more game to prepare for,' " Maui High coach David Bui said. "We are going to prepare as hard as we can and we are just going to try to keep getting better all the way to the last game of the season."
Kamehameha (0-4, 1-7, 1-8) lost for the seventh straight time, its longest skid since going 0-8 in the MIL in 2004.
MIL SECOND-ROUND STANDINGS
Overall MIL record in parentheses
|Maui High (4-3)||2||1||.667||90||47|
|King Kekaulike (1-6)||1||2||.333||62||135|
|KS Maui (1-7)||0||4||.000||72||156|
x-won first-round division championship,
y-clinched overall division championship
Lahainaluna 48, Baldwin 3
Maui High 41, Kamehameha Maui 20
Friday, Oct. 25
Baldwin vs. King Kekaulike at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26
Lahainaluna vs. Maui High at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
End of regular season
Curtis Lee left Maui High after 21 seasons as head coach in 2004 and the Sabers went 5-44-1 in MIL play before Bui became the fourth coach to follow Lee, in 2011. Bui posted back-to-back 3-5 MIL campaigns in his first two seasons.
To remain in state-tournament contention, Maui High needs a win over unbeaten Lahainaluna coupled with a Baldwin loss to King Kekaulike next weekend, but the Sabers enter the final week of the season alive for a postseason berth for the first time since Lee won his final MIL title in 2000.
The Sabers started quickly on Saturday, with a 60-yard touchdown pass from running back Soane Vaohea to Jared Kapisi on the first play from scrimmage. The same play worked to wide-open perfection again with 8 minutes, 1 second left in the first half - this time on a 64-yard connection - to make it 24-7.
Both of Vaohea's touchdown throws came after pitches from quarterback Austin Hoe.
Mario Fernandez broke free for a 45-yard scoring scamper to make it 14-0 in the first quarter, and Kapisi added field goals of 33 and 37 yards to give the Sabers a 27-7 halftime lead.
The Maui High team stayed in the stands to watch the drill and flag squads along with the band for the halftime festivities that brought most of the crowd to its feet.
Kamehameha scored on a 2-yard run by quarterback Chase Newton with 8:19 left in the second quarter.
Maui High's Elijah Tasini burst through the middle for a 64-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and after stopping the Warriors on downs, Tasini ran twice for 24 yards, the second a 6-yard scoring run to make it 41-7 later in the period.
Kapisi had 164 yards on five catches, Tasini ran for 141 yards and Vaohea ended the night 2-for-2 passing for 124 yards. The Sabers piled up 453 total yards one week after they had 530 in a 49-20 win over King Kekaulike.
The Warriors scored on a 21-yard pass from Newton to Keawe Rindlisbacher with 1:41 left in the third quarter. The Warriors recovered the ensuing onside kick and scored again on a 7-yard Newton run with 11:50 left.
Newton finished with 316 passing yards - the MIL high this season - and Rindlisbacher had 120 receiving yards on six catches.
"We told the kids a long time ago that if you don't take anything else out of this season but to never give up, we will be happy with that and we will feel like we were successful," first-year Kamehameha coach Cody Nakamura said.
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kamehameha Maui ..... 0 ....... 7 ....... 6 ..... 7-20
Maui High .................. 17 ..... 10 ..... 14 ..... 0-41
MH-Jared Kapisi 60 pass from Soane Vaohea (kick blocked), 11:44.
MH-Mario Fernandez 45 run (Daniel Kelley run), 6:26.
MH-Kapisi 33 FG, 2:37.
KSM-Chase Newton 2 run (Zachery Romero kick), 8:19.
MH-Kapisi 64 pass from Vaohea (Kapisi kick), 8:01.
MH-Kapisi 37 FG, 1:09.
MH-Elijah Tasini 64 run (Kapisi kick), 5:28.
MH-Tasini 6 run (Kapisi kick), 3:37.
KSM-Keawe Rindlisbacher 21 pass from Newton (kick failed), 1:41.
KSM-Newton 7 run (Romero kick), 11:50.
* * *
Junior varsity-Maui High 40, Kamehameha Maui 6.
# # #
LAHAINALUNA 48, BALDWIN 3
Baldwin ............ 3 ....... 0 ....... 0 ....... 0-3
Lahainaluna ..... 0 ..... 35 ..... 13 ..... 0-48
B-Ricky Casco 18 FG, 8:36.
LL-Jared Rocha-Islas 2 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 11:24.
LL-Penisimani Taufa 29 fumble return (Rocha-Islas kick), 3:17.
LL-Makoa Filikitonga 57 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 1:04.
LL-Scott-Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa 32 interception return (Rocha-Islas kick), 0:43.
LL-Jeffery Ancog 58 pass from Filikitonga (Rocha-Islas kick), 0:00.
LL-Rocha-Islas 59 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 11:00.
LL-Kiko Kohler-Fonohema 11 run (kick failed), 3:50.
................................... B ..... LL
First downs ............... 11 ..... 13
Rushes-yards ...... 32-80 ..... 29-274
Passing yards ........... 89 ..... 97
Total offense ........... 169 ..... 371
Return yards ............. 83 ..... 108
Comp-Att-Int ..... 11-24-2 ..... 3-6-0
Fumbles-lost ............ 2-1 ..... 2-1
Penalties-yards ..... 4-40 ...... 6-35
Punts-avg .......... 6-34.8 ....... 5-31.2
RUSHING-B, Keenan Luis 6-36, Kawela Kaeo-Mata 2-30, Jeremiah Badillo 10-18, Dusty Flores 6-11, Josiah Maglente-Tonu 2-9, Kawena Alo-Kaonohi 1-2, Nohea Keahi 2-0, Casco 1-(minus 6), team 2-(minus 20); LL, Filikitonga 10 -119, Rocha-Islas 5-97, Whitehead 7-32, Kohler-Fonohema 3-15, Ansen Cabanilla 1-5, Robert Campos 2-5, Robert Chang 1-1.
PASSING-B, Badillo 10-19-1-77, Maglente-Tonu 1-5-1-12; LL, Filikitonga 3-6-0-97.
RECEIVING-B, Kaeo-Mata 4-43, Chris Kazanecki 2-19, Patrick Turner 2-19, Luis 1-5, Atreil Tanaka 1-5, Alo-Kaonohi 1-(minus 2); LL, Ancog 1-58, Jared Purdy 1-30, Kohler-Fonohema 1-9.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-None.