Bears defeat Na Alii in first-round finale

PUKALANI – For the first half Saturday night, the Baldwin High School football team was in a battle.

The Bears eventually found their legs – rushing for 205 yards, 86 by Dusty Flores – and staved off a determined effort from King Kekaulike to win 27-3 in the final game of the opening half of the Maui Interscholastic League season.

The Bears (3-1) left the game, played in front of about 1,500 fans at King Kekaulike Stadium, with respect for Na Alii (0-4) – who led 3-0 after the first quarter and trailed 7-3 at halftime.

“They did a great job in the first half,” said Baldwin coach Keneke Pacheco. “They came out, they were ready to go and they took it to us.”

The Bears couldn’t feel comfortable until late in the third quarter.

Nursing a four-point lead, they took over at Na Alii’s 43-yard line after a 23-yard punt, and needed eight plays to go in front 14-3, scoring on a 15-yard pass from Jeremiah Badillo to Teva Eldridge with 7 minutes, 11 seconds left in the third quarter.

Four minutes later, Baldwin’s Cajetan Martin intercepted a Ryley Widell pass and returned it 37 yards to the King Kekaulike 13. Badillo’s 1-yard dive four plays later made it 21-3.

The Bears added their final touchdown on a 27-yard pass from Badillo to Patrick Turner with 1:32 to play.

“We talked about finishing the game, we talked about playing hard and playing through adversity,” Pacheco said of his halftime message. “My team did a great job coming out. They played through adversity, we had some good plays and they played hard. And that was good.”

Baldwin finished with a 354-199 advantage in yardage. Badillo ran for 62 yards and passed for 121.

The Bears took their first lead on a 5-yard run by Keenan Luis with 2:05 left in the first half – that capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive that included a 20-yard pass from Josiah Maglente-Tonu to Chris Kazanecki and a 21-yard run by Flores, who leads the MIL in rushing with 486 yards.

Before that drive, King Kekaulike had run 28 plays, to 13 for Baldwin.

Na Alii responded after the touchdown, reaching the Bears’ 24 before a penalty and a sack forced a 54-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the half that was well short.

King Kekaulike dominated the first quarter after Baldwin missed a field goal on the opening drive of the game.

Na Alii marched 74 yards on 17 plays, taking 8:39 off the clock, and Micah McDonald gave them their first lead of the MIL season on a 23-yard field goal with 28 seconds to go in the first quarter.

King Kekaulike had an opportunity to stretch its lead after recovering a Baldwin fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but Flores blocked a 40-yard field-goal try by McDonald, scooped it up in a fluid motion and returned it 70 yards for an apparent touchdown. A personal-foul penalty well behind Flores wiped out the return, however.

For the first half, Baldwin had 176 yards while allowing 110, although King Kekaulike ran 32 plays, 11 more than the Bears.

Na Alii dressed 30 players for the game and welcomed back Widell from injury – he rushed for 51 yards and passed for 70 more.

“The kids are working hard, they still believe in the process,” said first-year King Kekaulike coach Kyle Sanches. “Obviously, we have things to work on, but nobody is hanging their head. We are doing the best we can right now.”

Sanches said the solid effort will be a springboard into the second round of MIL play.

“Absolutely, we are starting to get kids back a little bit,” he said. “It’s a process and we are working towards it.”

Despite the slow start, the Bears – winners of 10 of the last 11 MIL titles – still impressed Sanches.

“It’s Baldwin,” he said. “It’s who we are aspiring to be.”

* Robert Collias is at


Baldwin ……………. 0 ….. 7 ….. 14 ….. 6-27

King Kekaulike ….. 3 ….. 0 ……. 0 …… 0-3

First Quarter

KK-Micah McDonald 23 FG, 0:28.

Second Quarter

B-Keenan Luis 5 run (Benjamin Wuthrich kick), 2:05.

Third Quarter

B-Teva Eldridge 15 pass from Badillo (Wuthrich kick), 7:11.

B-Jeremiah Badillo 1 run (Wuthrich kick), 2:34.

Fourth Quarter

B-Patrick Turner 27 pass from Badillo (kick failed), 1:32.

Junior varsity-King Kekaulike 33, Baldwin 25.

* * *

Friday’s Result


Maui High ………. 0 ….. 0 ……. 7 …… 0-07

Lahainaluna ….. 16 ….. 7 ….. 14 ….. 0-37

First Quarter

LL-safety, punt snap kicked out of end zone, 10:04.

LL-Jared Rocha-Islas 30 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 4:00.

LL-Makoa Filikitonga 53 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 1:14.

Second Quarter

LL-Christian Whitehead 30 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 10:05.

Third Quarter

LL-Rocha-Islas 35 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 10:00.

MH-Onosai Emelio 1 run (Jared Kaipsi kick), 3:42.

LL-Rocha-Islas 32 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 2:20.

…………………………. MH ……….. LL

First downs …………….. 8 ………… 18

Rushes-yards …… 47-99 ….. 46-410

Passing yards ……….. 21 ………… 25

Total offense ……….. 120 ………. 435

Return yards ……….. 102 ………… 80

Comp-Att-Int …….. 2-7-0 …….. 2-7-1

Fumbles-lost ……….. 5-1 ……….. 2-1

Penalties-yards ….. 2-30 ……… 7-31

Punts-avg ………. 5-32.4 …… 2-30.0


RUSHING-MH, Emelio 22-52, Tyson Takabayashi 4-38, Justin Cravalho 3-23, Soane Vaohea 8-13, Daniel Kelley 7-9, Mario Fernandez 2-(minus 7), team 1-(minus 29); LL, Rocha-Islas 9-170, Filikitonga 8-115, Whitehead 12-112, Ansen Cabanilla 1-21, Kawika Kinimaka 6-3, Nathaniel Hapakuka-Nunuha 2-1, Robert Chang 5-(minus 2), David Kawabata 2-(minus 3), Ancog 1-(minus 7).

PASSING-MH, Cravalho 2-7-0-21; LL, Filikitonmga 2-6-0-25, Kinimaka 0-1-1-0.

RECEIVING-MH, Tristan Nichols 1-18, Kapisi 1-3; LL, Amateo Flores 1-15, Ancog 1-10.