Warriors wear down Lunas

Kamehameha Kapalama scores 21 unanswered points for 34-10 victory

Joshua Tihada of Lahainaluna High School runs between Kamehameha Kapalama’s Ezra Evailmalo (left) and Jonah Apo during the second quarter of the Lunas’ 34-10 loss to the Warriors on Saturday at Sue Cooley Stadium. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

LAHAINA — Well into the fourth quarter, this one was close.

Kamehameha Schools Kapalama broke open a 3-point game with three touchdowns in a 4 1/2-minute span midway through the fourth quarter to walk away with a 34-10 win over Lahainaluna at Sue Cooley Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“We’ve got to battle to the end,” Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada said. “I mean, they wore us down eventually, but that’s a good team out there.”

Kamehameha Kapalama coach Abu Maafala said the Warriors got all they could ask for from the defending Division II state champions on a hot afternoon.

“Absolutely, going into the fourth quarter I had absolutely no idea how the outcome was going to be,” Maafala said. “They are a well-disciplined, well-coached football team. One of the best high school football teams I’ve seen in my two years here.”

Lahainaluna’s Siale Hafoka catches a touchdown pass in front of Kamehameha’s Kalanikau Kamakawiwoole (32) and Kalamaku Kuewa in the second quarter Saturday. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

Lahainaluna closed within 13-10 on a 28-yard field goal by Kaihulali Casco with just over two minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Warriors flexed their muscles on a 99-yard drive on their first possession of the fourth quarter. Braden Akima’s 49-yard touchdown run — which included Akima running over Lunas’ secondary defender Derek Perez near the 20-yard line — capped the five-play drive and put the Warriors ahead 20-10 with 8:18 to play.

After Kamehameha forced a fumble by Elijah Ragudo on the Lunas’ next possession, the Warriors’ Jonah Apo recovered on the Lunas’ 15. Kanoa Shannon, who finished with 119 yards rushing on 16 carries, scored on a run up the middle on the next play.

After Lahainaluna went three-and-out, Reino Bush broke free on a 41-yard run to the Lunas’ 2 and scored on the next play to account for the final margin.

“This place lived up to its name as ‘The Imu’ now,” Maafala said of the baking mid-afternoon West Maui sun. “Coming in for a day trip, you’ve got to be ready to play. Not just because of the elements, you’ve got to be ready for the elements, but the Lunas are an incredible football team. I see why they’re state champions.”

The Lunas’ Tausinga Hafoka sacks the Warriors’ Thomas Yam in the second quarter. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

After going to halftime tied 7-7, the Lunas had a chance to grab the lead early in the third quarter when Kawehi Gillcoat scooped up an errant lateral and returned it 27 yards to the Warriors’ 35-yard line.

Three plays later, Etuati Storer hit William Kai Bookland for an apparent 35-yard touchdown pass, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty.

Two plays after that, the Warriors’ Jonah Kahahawai-Welch stripped Storer and Ezra Evailmalo recovered the fumble at the Kamehameha 37.

The Warriors then put together a seven-play, 63-yard drive that culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run by Thomas Yam, the quarterback who was 2-for-2 passing on the drive for 34 yards.

The conversion kick failed, leaving Kamehameha ahead 13-7 with 5:24 left in the third quarter.

The Lunas answered with a 28-yard field goal by Casco after a seven-play drive that covered 58 yards. The big plays on the possession were an 18-yard pass from Storer to Bookland and a 29-yard run by Perez.

The game was tied at 7-7 at halftime after both teams took advantage of mistakes by their opponents.

After a punt snap that sailed over Storer’s head set up the Warriors on the Lunas’ 27-yard line, Onyx Freitas caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Yam four plays later early in the second quarter.

Lahainaluna tied the game on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Storer to Siale Hafoka with 16 seconds left in the half after the Lunas took over on the Warriors’ 40 when a bad punt snap led to an 8-yard kick by Nokeakua Nakachi-Isaacs under heavy pressure. Two pass interference penalties on Kamehameha kept the drive alive.

The Warriors outgained the Lunas 380 yards to 103. Storer finished 5-for-12 passing for 74 yards.

“We’ve just got to learn as a team to keep battling,” Tihada said. “Even though we make little mistakes, we’ve got to still battle. We did OK, but I think they were a little tired. We had some success right before the half, but I think they were a little tired right there at the end of the half. The second half they were a little rejuvenated, their pass rush got to us a little bit more.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com


KS Kapalama 0 7 6 21–34

Lahainaluna 0 7 3 0–10

Second Quarter

KSK–Onyx Freitas 15 pass from Thomas Yam (Nokeakua Nakachi-Isaacs kick), 9:55.

LL–Siale Hafoka 20 pass from Etuati Storer (Kaihulali Casco kick), 0:16.

Third Quarter

KSK–Yam 3 run (kick failed), 5:24.

LL–FG Casco 28, 2:03.

Fourth Quarter

KSK–Braden Akima 49 run (Leihalia Panui kick), 8:06.

KSK–Kanoa Shannon 15 run (Panui kick), 6:36.

KSK–Reino Bush 2 run (Panui kick), 4:21.



Saturday’s Results

Kamehameha Kapalama 34, Lahainaluna 10

Saint Louis 61, Baldwin 0

Kamehameha Hawaii 23, Maui High 0

Thursday’s Game

King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.

Friday’s Game

Maui High at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 19

Baldwin vs. Mission Viejo (Calif.) at War Memorial Stadium, 6 p.m.