WAILUKU – The Lahainaluna High School football machine was purring at an impressive level in intermittent rain Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.
The Lunas posted their ninth shutout in 14 games dating to early last season, rolling to a 49-0 win over King Kekaulike.
Lahainaluna (2-0) controls the Maui Interscholastic League Division II first-round standings, while King Kekaulike fell to 0-3.
Lahainaluna, ranked 10th in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll, held King Kekaulike to 14 yards, including just one in the second half. In their last 11 MIL games, the Lunas have allowed 30 points with eight shutouts.
“They did a good job tonight,” Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada said of the defense. “Easily, we got everybody in tonight. That is always the goal because the backups, they are there at practice every day and they deserve to play.”
After taking a 35-0 lead into halftime, Lahainaluna added third-quarter touchdowns on 10-yard runs by freshman David Kawabata and senior Nathaniel Hapakuka-Nunuha when the bench was emptied – 13 Lunas carried the ball in the game.
Lahainaluna went in front 14-0 in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game, on two touchdown runs by Christian Whitehead.
The Lunas covered 52 yards in six plays on the opening series, highlighted by a pair of Whitehead runs. His 18-yarder produced a first down on Na Alii’s 33-yard line, and four plays later he scored from 21 yards out.
Pousima Galoia, a 6-foot-4, 350-pound senior, laid a key block well downfield to spring Whitehead on the touchdown run.
Whitehead’s 1-yard scoring plunge with 6:40 left in the first quarter capped a five-play, 34-yard drive that started when Leeland Alavazo recovered a King Kekau-like fumble.
The second play of the second quarter was Jared Rocha-Islas’ 30-yard touchdown run, on the first snap after a 35-yard punt return from Alavazo.
The Lunas set up the mercy-rule running clock for the entire second half after a 13-yard touchdown run by Jeffery Ancog and a nifty 62-yard touchdown run by Makoa Filikitonga on a read-option run around the left end.
Ancog’s touchdown was on another one-play possession, after Na Alii threw an incomplete pass out of punt formation following a bad snap.
Lahainaluna finished with 301 rushing yards in the game – 226 in the first half – and completed two of nine passes. Filikitonga had 83 yards on three carries, Whitehead took over the MIL rushing lead with three carries for 40 yards and Rocha-Islas had four carries for 37 yards.
King Kekaulike quarterback Ryley Widell left midway through the second quarter after a big hit and spent the rest of the game on the sideline.
“(King Kekaulike) was a little undermanned, lost their quarterback and it is always tough when that happens,” Tihada said. “We are struggling a lot right now (on offense), but we’ll work at it – we’ll get better.”
Na Alii coach Kyle Sanches said he was not sure about the severity of Widell’s injury – the junior led the league in passing yardage last season.
“I know they pulled him as a precaution,” Sanches said. “I’m not even sure myself (where the injury took place).”
The first-year coach was impressed with the Lunas, last season’s state D-II runners-up.
“Very good team,” he said. “They are tough, very polished, well-coached.”
Na Alii have a bye next week.
“For us, it’s still a learning process,” Sanches said. “The kids are still fighting and I think we’ll be OK.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Junior varsity-Lahainaluna 36, King Kekaulike 35.