Bears find a way
WAILUKU – Perhaps the Baldwin High School football team was looking ahead to its showdown with Lahainaluna.
The Bears erupted for 29 points early in the second half to go ahead by four touchdowns and then held on against a valiant comeback attempt by Kamehameha Maui for a 42-35 victory on Saturday in front of about 1,500 fans at War Memorial Stadium.
Baldwin (2-0) has not lost to any Maui Interscholastic League team besides Lahainaluna since a 2009 defeat at the hands of King Ke-kaulike, but the Bears nearly squandered a 42-14 lead in this one.
The champions of the MIL for 10 of the last 11 years did not seal their latest victory until senior linebacker Teva Eldridge intercepted a Chase Newton pass on fourth-and-14 near midfield with 41 seconds to play. The Bears committed 12 penalties for 128 yards.
“We came out at halftime real good,” said Baldwin coach Keneke Pacheco. “We had high energy, then we went to sleep. That is something we have got to work on – 15 penalties, 13 penalties, whatever it was, didn’t help.
“We have got to play better. We played ugly, no disrespect to (Kamehameha) – they did great.”
Of looking ahead to Friday’s game against Lahainaluna, Pacheco said: “I don’t think so because you can only take one game at a time. It is what it is, it’s a win, better lucky than good. We’ll take it and that’s it.”
Kamehameha coach Cody Nakamura, a former Baldwin standout and assistant coach, saw his team fall to 1-2 in the MIL, but grow in the process.
“That is something that we always coach, we are never going to give up no matter what the score is,” Nakamura said. “I think we have been showing that so far and I just can’t wait to get over that hump and not be the ones who are not giving up, but the ones who have to bury the hatchet.”
Newton passed for 258 yards and four touchdowns, and ran 14 times for 81 yards and a score.
The Bears scored their final touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Josiah Maglente-Tonu to Kawela Kaeo-Mata with 11:17 to play.
Kamehameha Maui responded with a 65-yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Newton with 9:21 left and then a 41-yard strike from Newton to Keoni Keanini with 5:09 left.
After the Warriors recovered an onside kick, Keanini caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Newton on fourth-and-15 just 69 seconds later to make it 42-35 with 4:03 still to play.
On the next onside kick, the Bears recovered, but they could not run out the clock.
Baldwin senior running back Dusty Flores scored three touchdowns and ran for 213 yards on 25 carries, but did not play down the stretch.
The Warriors’ Siaosi Ngalu stopped Kawena Alo-Kaonohi on fourth-and-2 with 2:21 remaining and Kamehameha took over at its own 33-yard line. Five plays later, Eldridge grabbed Newton’s 36th pass of the night.
Keanini finished with four catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and Joshua Hiwatashi had five receptions for 93 yards and a pair of scores.
Trailing 13-7, the Warriors had a big chance to take the lead when Colton Cabanas intercepted Jeremiah Badillo on the first possession of the third quarter and returned the ball 45 yards to the Bears’ 13-yard line.
Two plays later, Taje Akaka-Foster intercepted Newton in the end zone on a pass that glanced off the hands of Cabanas.
Akaka-Foster returned the interception to the 13-yard line and the Bears proceeded to go 87 yards on nine running plays, scoring on a 1-yard plunge by Flores to make it 20-7 with 7:25 left in the third quarter.
The next time the Bears had the ball, Flores ran 27 yards around the left end to make it 28-7 with 5:21 left in the third quarter.
Kamehameha Maui answered with a 75-yard, eight-play drive capped by a 10-yard scoring pass from Newton to Hiwatashi to make it 28-14 with 3:45 left in the third.
Baldwin responded immediately behind Maglente-Tonu with a 77-yard, six-play drive that took just 1:33 off the clock.
Flores scored his third touchdown of the night on a 4-yard run to make it 35-14 – the highlight of the lightning-quick strike was a 40-yard run by Flores on the second play of the possession.
The Bears took a tenuous lead into the locker rooms after bounding out to a two-touchdown advantage.
Chris Kazanecki caught a 12-yard pass from Badillo 19 seconds into the second quarter, and Baldwin made it 13-0 when Badillo found Kawela Kaeo-Mata on a pass in the right flat and he ran through the Kamehameha defense for a 58-yard touchdown with 8:24 left before halftime.
Newton later threw a pretty pass that found a diving Hiwatashi on a fade route to the right corner of the end zone with 2:25 to go in the first half.
On the next play, Flores was smacked at the end of a 24-yard kickoff return and his apparent fumble was recovered by Kamehameha’s Austin Kan Hai. However, the Bears were called for a block-in-the-back penalty and were allowed to keep possession of the ball.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
B-Chris Kazanecki 12 from Jeremiah Badillo (kick failed), 11:41.
B-Kawela Kaeo-Mata 58 pass from Badillo (Benjamin Wuthrich kick), 8:24.
KSM-Joshua Hiwatashi 20 pass from Chase Newton (Kailoa Akoi kick), 2:25.
B-Dusty Flores 1 run (Wuthrich kick), 7:25.
B-Flores 27 run (Kaeo-Mata run) 5:21.
KSM-Hiwatashi 10 pass from Newton (Akoi kick), 3:45.
B-Flores 4 run (Wuthrich kick), 2:12.
B-Kaeo-Mata 7 pass from Josiah Maglente-Tonu (Wuthrich kick), 11:17.
KSM-Newton 3 run (Akoi kick), 9:21.
KSM-Keoni Keanini 41 pass from Newton (Akoi kick), 5:09.
KSM-Keanini 24 pass from Newton (Akoi kick), 4:03.
Junior varsity-Baldwin 35, Kamehameha Maui 6.
LAHAINALUNA 49, KING KEKAULIKE 0
King Kekaulike….0…..0…..0….0- 0?
LL-Christian Whitehead 21 run (Jared Rocha-Islas kick), 9:49.
LL-Whitehead 1 run (Rocha-Islas kick) 6:40.
LL-Rocha-Islas 30 run (Rocha-Islas kick) 11:37.
LL-Jeffery Ancog 13 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 8:41.
LL-Makoa Filikitonga 62 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 5:52.
LL-David Kawabata 10 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 7:47.
LL-Nathaniel Hapakuka-Nunuha 10 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 0:30.
RUSHING-KK, Jay Braun 19-45, Ryley Widell 2-0, Kianu Pelekai-Peneku 2-(minus 3), Kawika Homalon 9-(minus 9), team 1-(minus 25); LL, Filikitonga 3-83, Ancog 4-44, Whitehead 3-40, Rocha-Islas 3-37, Hapakuka-Nunuha 3-37, Robert Chang 5-36, David Kawabata 2-16, Donovan Defang 2-8, Gabriel Montano 1-3, Robert Campos 1-3, David Paleka-Wright 2-1, Ansen Cabanilla 1-(minus 3), Kawika Kinimaka 3-(minus 4).
PASSING-KK, Widell 1-4-0-6, Homalon 0-5-0-0, Micah McDonald 0-1-0-0; LL, Filikitonga 2-9-0-15.
RECEIVING-KK, Hollis Atkinson 1-6; LL, Scott-Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa 2-15.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-None.