Lanai beats Seabury for spot in title game

Calderon leads Pine Lads’ rally in 48-34 victory

Lanai High School’s Naighel Calderon carries the ball in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 48-34 win over Seabury Hall at War Memorial Stadium. • The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

WAILUKU — It was an evening of firsts for the Lanai High School eight-player football team.

Naighel Calderon scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter Thursday as the Pine Lads earned their debut trip to the Maui Interscholastic League title game with their first-ever victory over Seabury Hall, winning 48-34 at War Memorial Stadium.

The Pine Lads (2-1) will face Mo­lokai, the two-time defending champion, Sept. 30 on the Friendly Isle.

The Spartans (1-2) had been 21-0 in five-plus seasons against every team but Molokai — including four victories over Lanai.

“Awesome. It’s just something we were hoping would one day come,” said Pine Lads coach Stephen Ferguson.

The Spartans’ Jack Almeida throws a third-quarter touchdown pass to Rolando Berdal. • The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“To be the best you’ve got to beat the best, and Seabury and Molokai have been the best.”

Calderon ran for a 6-yard touchdown just over a minute into the fourth quarter to cut Seabury’s lead to a point, then added a 19-yard score with 5:45 left, and J.J. Dulay’s 2-point conversion put Lanai in front 34-27. After the Pine Lads stopped the Spartans on downs, Calderon ran 8 yards for a touchdown and Dulay caught a 2-point conversion pass from Devrene Kahananui-Alejado with 2:58 to play.

Seabury’s Jack Almeida ran 22 yards for a touchdown with 1:40 left and Thomas Lee kicked the extra point, but Calderon put the finishing touches on the win by returning the ensuing kickoff 72 yards for a touchdown.

The Spartans overcame a 20-14 deficit with two touchdowns late in the third quarter.

Rolando Berdal caught a 12-yard scoring pass from Almeida with 4:06 left in the quarter to tie the game, and on the series that followed, Steve Savou blocked a punt and the Spartans took over on the Pine Lads’ 28-yard line — Almeida eventually scored from 9 yards out.

On the next possession, Seabury’s Jack Hedden intercepted a Kahananui-Alejado pass in the end zone, but Lanai recovered a fumble at the Spartans»’ 18 moments later.

“A lot of respect to them, they came out and played their hearts out, both sides of the ball, definitely,” said Seabury coach Dave Carino. “They just came out on top. Congratulations to Lanai.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

Lanai …………. 8 ….. 6 ….. 6 ….. 28 — 48

Seabury Hall …14 …. 0 … 13 …… 7 — 34

*****

MIL FINAL STANDINGS

…………. W L Pct PF PA

x-Molokai 3 0 1.000 155 70

x-Lanai 2 1 .667 140 108

Seabury Hall 1 2 .333 113 101

Hana 0 3 .000 26 155

x-clinched berth in championship game

Thursday’s Results

Lanai 48, Seabury Hall 34

Molokai 48, Hana 6

End of regular season

Thursday, Sept. 28

Third-place game: Seabury Hall vs. Hana at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 30

Championship game: Lanai at Molokai, 1 p.m.

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