Maui High beats King Kekaulike

Maui High School’s Tevita Takitaki heads to a touchdown on a punt return in the first quarter of the Sabers’ 45-6 win over King Kekaulike on Friday at War Memorial Stadium. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

WAILUKU — The preparation games are done for the Maui High School football team.

The Sabers got two scoring runs from Justin Pulido and a punt-return touchdown from Tevita Takitaki in beating King Kekaulike 45-6 on Friday night at War Memorial Stadium, winning for the fourth time in five games heading into the final week of the Maui Interscholastic League regular season.

Maui High (4-3, 2-1 MIL second round) will meet Baldwin next Friday. If the Sabers win that one — or a rematch for the league’s Division I championship the following week — they would earn their second state tournament berth in the last 17 seasons.

“We’ve got to work hard next week, like I just told them,” Maui High coach Rodney Figueroa said. “This one is over, done. We got to prepare for next week. Monday they’ve got to bring it.”

Maui High beat Baldwin 32-21 on Sept. 16.

Maui High’s Jamie Elisara Fisher tackles King Kekaulike’s Lucas Tamayose for a loss. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“It is important to try to take care of business the first time, but Baldwin is a very good team,” Figue­roa said. “We knocked them in the first round, but they are going to come back.”

Na Alii (0-8) ended their season with a 30th straight MIL loss. Last week, King Kekaulike forfeited to Kamehameha Maui due to a lack of players, but this week brought up several junior varsity players and dressed a season-high 46.

“For us, it was all about finishing,” said Na Alii coach Tyson Valle. “That was the most important thing for us, for these kids. The program is building, we will continue to rebuild. The most important thing is we finish every time.”

Pulido scored the game’s first and last touchdowns — his second one, a 22-yarder, finished a seven-play, 79-yard drive and made the score 45-6, activating the mercy-rule clock with 2 minutes, 7 seconds left in the third quarter.

Maui High scored on each of its first three possessions after halftime.

Na Alii’s Elijah Finau returns a first-quarter punt. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Naia Nakamoto had both carries on a two-play, 45-yard drive — including a 32-yard touchdown run — that made the score 31-6. The short field was set up by a fumble recovery by Kimo Honokaupu.

Three plays after Nakamoto’s score, Josiah Pires intercepted a pass to give the Sabers the ball on Na Alii’s 39-yard line. Solomone Tongi ran on all five plays of the ensuing drive, the last for a 12-yard score.

Pulido scored on a 9-yard run on the first possession of the game, and Na Alii answered with their fifth touchdown of the season, on a 9-yard run by Rilee Peters.

Takitaki scored with 4:29 left in the first quarter, and after Maui High forced another punt attempt, the snap sailed over the head of Lucas Tamayose, and the Sabers’ Storm Crozier recovered at the 7-yard line. Kainalu Tancayo scored on the next play.

Honu Feldt-Antonio kicked a 41-yard field goal on the second play of the second quarter.

The Sabers’ Allen Cadelinia breaks up a first-quarter pass in front of King Kekaulike’s Ben Mahoe. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

Maui High 21 3 21 0–45

King Kekaulike 6 0 0 0– 6

First Quarter

MH–Justin Pulido 9 run (Kalia Kapisi kick), 10:49.

Justin Pulido

KK–Rilee Peters 9 run (run failed), 7:14.

MH–Tevita Takitaki 80 punt return (Kapisi kick), 4:29.

MH–Kainalu Tancayo 7 run (Kapisi kick), 2:27.

Second Quarter

MH–FG Honu Feldt-Antonio 41, 11:20.

Third Quarter

MH–Naia Nakamoto 32 run (Kapisi kick), 10:32.

MH–Solomone Tongi 12 run (Kapisi kick), 7:34.

MH–Pulido 22 run (Kapisi kick), 2:07.

_______________

MIL SECOND-ROUND STANDINGS

Overall MIL record in parentheses

DIVISION I

W L Pct PF PA

x-Maui High (4-3) 2 1 .667 89 53

Baldwin (3-3) 1 1 .500 69 23

DIVISION II

W L Pct PF PA

x-Lahainaluna (7-0) 3 0 1.000 93 31

KS Maui (3-3) 1 1 .500 23 27

King Kekaulike (0-8) 0 4 .000 12 152

x-won first-round championship

Friday’s Result

Maui High 45, King Kekaulike 6

Today’s Game

Baldwin at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 20

Baldwin vs. Maui High at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 21

Kamehameha Maui at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.

End of regular season

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