Lunas continue winning ways
WAILUKU – The Lahainaluna High School football team simply doesn’t lose to Maui Interscholastic League Division II opponents.
The defending overall MIL champion Lunas – the top-ranked D-II team in the state’s three major polls – beat King Kekaulike 47-7 on Friday night in the league opener for both teams before about 2,000 fans at War Memorial Stadium.
The Lunas earned a 23rd straight win over an MIL D-II foe – they are 37-0-1 in such games since a loss to Pac-3 in 2003.
It was also their 10th consecutive overall league win, and 16th in the last 17 games.
The Lunas ran for 426 yards in the game, and totaled 474 yards of offense.
Senior quarterback Makoa Filikitonga ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns, and was 7-for-13 passing for 48 yards, with a 14-yard touchdown strike to Isaiah Biga-Rogers with 34 seconds left in the first half. Just three of Filikitonga’s yards, on a single run, came in the second half as the Lunas emptied their bench.
Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada was pleased with the passing game.
“We have got to throw the ball if we want to be successful this year,” he said. “We can’t be one-dimensional.”
Tihada saw room to improve in the running game.
“In the first half, not too much,” he said when asked if he was pleased with the ground attack. “We made a few adjustments in the second half. We just weren’t executing very well in the run game in the first half. In the second half, I was very pleased with the running game.”
The Lunas’ defense limited Na Alii to 34 rushing yards and 116 yards total. Of King Kekaulike’s 29 rushing plays, 15 went for negative yardage or no gain.
Na Alii’s longest gain of the night was a 36-yard pass from Kawika Homalon to Corry Brown.
“We just had that one long pass that set up their touchdown,” Tihada said of Lahainaluna’s defense. “Other than that, solid.”
Lahainaluna went in front on a 1-yard run by Jared Rocha-Islas with 7 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first quarter. The drive began after a 25-yard punt return by Josten Saribay to King Kekaulike’s 17-yard line.
Saribay, who had 80 yards on three returns in the first half, set up the next score with a 40-yard return to Na Alii’s 48. Filikitonga scored on a 13-yard run on the seventh play of the drive to make it 14-0 with 1:32 left in the first quarter.
King Kekaulike got on the scoreboard when Homalon dove in from a yard out two minutes into the second quarter. The big plays on the 61-yard drive were a 20-yard pass from Homalon to Laakea Day on fourth-and-4 and the 36-yarder to Brown to the Lunas’ 1-yard line.
Lahainaluna got right back to business, scoring on Filikitonga’s shifty 54-yard run up the middle 2 1/2 minutes later.
The Lunas showed their commitment to the passing game on their final possession of the half, going 92 yards in 12 plays after taking over with 3:38 left. Filikitonga completed four of six passes for 38 yards on the drive.
Jared Rocha-Islas scored on a 3-yard run with 9:31 remaining in the third quarter, Ansen Cabanilla ran 37 yards for a score late in the third and Kaya Phillips-Aki capped the scoring with a 1-yard run with 10:12 to play, turning on the 35-point mercy-rule running clock.
One downer for the Lunas came on the third play from scrimmage when reigning MIL Defensive Player of the Year Connor Mowat left the game with an apparent knee injury. Mowat’s knee was wrapped with ice, and he walked with crutches on the sidelines and later jogged, but did not return. King Kekaulike was penalized for a chop block on the play.
“We will find out in the next few days,” Tihada said of the extent of the injury. “He wanted to (come back), but there was not a chance that was going to happen once we started scoring.”
King Kekaulike coach Kyle Sanches was impressed with the Lunas.
“They are a hell of a football team, yes sir,” he said. “They are a well-coached team, a very disciplined football team. They do what they do and they do it well.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
LAHAINALUNA 47, KING KEKAULIKE 47
Lahainaluna ……. 14 ….. 14 ….. 13 ….. 6-47
King Kekaulike ….. 0 ……. 7 …… 0 ….. 0-?7
LL-Jared Rocha-Islas 1 crun (Austin Wagner kick), 7:15.
LL-Makoa Filikitonga 13 run (Wagner), 1:32.
KK-Kawika Homalon 1 run (Kawika Akahi kick), 9:58.
LL-Filikitonga 54 run (Wagner kick), 7:23.
LL-Isaiah Biga-Rogers 14 pass from Filikitonga (Wagner kick), 0:34.
LL-Rocha-Islas 3 run (Wagner kick), 9:31.
LL-Ansen Cabanilla 37 run (kick failed), 1:48.
LL-Kaya Phillips-Aki 1 run (kick failed), 10:12.
MAUI HIGH 48, KAMEHAMEHA MAUI 11
Kamehameha Maui ….. 3 ……. 2 ……. 0 ……. 6-11
Maui High ……………… 0 ….. 14 ….. 16 ….. 18-48
KSM-Zachery Romero 27 FG, 2:32.
KSM-Safety, Onosai Emelio tackled in end zone, 7:47.
MH-Soane Vaohea 12 run (kick failed), 2:13.
MH-Tyson Takabayashi 5 run (Emelio run), 1:52.
MH-Emelio 1 run (Takabayashi run), 4:18.
MH-Vaohea 20 run (Takabayashi run), 0:00.
KSM-Keoni Keanini 5 pass from Chase Newton (pass failed), 9:24.
MH-Daniel Kelley 13 run (pass failed), 7:15.
MH-Kelley 2 run (run failed), 1:03.
MH-Soane Vaohea 42 interception return (kick blocked), 0:47
……………………… KSM ………. MH
First downs ………. 16 …………. 28
Rushes-yards ……. 33-81 …….. 50-353
Passing yards ……. 225 ……….. 50
Total offense …….. 306 ……….. 403
Return yards …….. 40 …………. 76
Comp-Att-Int ……. 19-41-3 ….. 2-4-0
Fumbles-lost ……… 5-0 ………. 5-4
Penalties-yards ….. 7-48 ……… 8-67
Punts-avg ………… 4-27.3 …… 1-35.0
RUSHING-KSM, Newton 17-73, Kaimi Kamalani 5-12, Ikaika Chong Kee 9-9, Kulana-Alika Wilhelm 1-5, team 1-(minus 18); MH, Kelley 14-150, Emelio 16-111, Vaohea 3-33, Tyson Takabayashi 6-28, McNel Guillermo 3-18, Lusitania Tongi 4-13, Hanisi Lotulelei 2-4, Austin Hoe 1-0, Justin Cravalho 1-(minus 4).
PASSING-KSM, Newton 19-38-1-225, Wilhelm 0-3-2-0; MH, Hoe 2-4-0-50.
RECEIVING-KSM, Hiwatashi 13-198, Keoni Keanini 3-21, Kai Segundo 3-6; MH, Tristan Nichols 2-50.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-None.