Seventh heaven

Lahainaluna repeats as state champion with 75-69 win over Konawaena in seven overtimes

Elijah Ragudo carries the ball for Lahainaluna High School during a 75-69, seven-overtime win over Konawaena in the First Hawaiian Bank Division II State Football Championship title game Saturday at Aloha Stadium. -- MATT HIRATA photo

Elijah Ragudo carries the ball for Lahainaluna High School during a 75-69, seven-overtime win over Konawaena in the First Hawaiian Bank Division II State Football Championship title game Saturday at Aloha Stadium. -- MATT HIRATA photo

HONOLULU — What looked like another coronation nearly turned to dejection for the Lahainaluna High School football team Saturday at Aloha Stadium.

These Lunas simply weren’t going to accept defeat, however.

Joshua Tihada’s 4-yard touchdown, his fifth score of the day, ended one of the wildest games the state has ever seen, giving Lahainaluna a 75-69 win over Konawaena in seven overtimes and a second straight title in the First Hawaiian Bank Division II State Championship.

“It felt great for the whole team, honestly,” said Tihada, who scored four times in the extra periods and finished with a team-high 91 rushing yards on 24 carries. “I wasn’t sure what to do, but we were just waiting for that one stop on defense we needed.”

That came when Konawaena fumbled the snap to quarterback Austin Ewing on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the first possession of the seventh overtime. The Lunas’ Elijah Oliveira-Kalalau recovered the ball, which came loose with the Wildcats’ backup center, Kolu Alani, in due to an injury to Avery Blanco and Ewing taking the snap from under center for the first time all game.

Lahainaluna coaches and players celebrate during the team’s second straight win in the state final. -- MATT HIRATA photo

Lahainaluna coaches and players celebrate during the team’s second straight win in the state final. -- MATT HIRATA photo

“It was one of those cases where he never snapped all year and they put him in a pressure situation,” Ewing said. “The ball was a little bit up and I couldn’t get a grip on it.”

The Lunas then gave the ball to Tihada four straight times when they took over on the 20-yard line.

Both teams scored touchdowns on their first five overtime possessions and each kicked field goals in the sixth.

The game took 4 hours, 17 minutes — the overtimes lasted 78 minutes — and threw the state championship tripleheader into chaos.

“By the second overtime I was just dead-dog tired, but we all just pushed through,” said Lunas defensive lineman Koa Evalu-Robinson. “We just had to fight more than the other team.”

William Kai Bookland

William Kai Bookland

The highest-scoring game in state tournament history had been Kona­waena’s 53-50 win over Waipahu in the semifinals two weeks ago. Both teams surpassed the previous mark for points by a single team in a state tournament game, which came in Saint Louis’ 63-10 win over Waianae in a 2000 semifinal.

Tihada’s touchdown total tied the state tournament record set by Hawaii Prep’s Michael Kopra in a victory over Waipahu in a D-II semifinal 13 years ago.

“Not anything ever close to this,” Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada said. “We had some overtime games this year, but that was just one overtime in each game. So our kids, they understand what overtime is, they’re pretty relaxed. I think they’re more relaxed in overtime than they are in the regular part of the game.

“But I don’t know how much people in their whole lives have been involved in something like this.”

Ewing broke his own D-II state tournament records for passes thrown (55) and completions (33), bettering the marks of 53 and 30 that he set in the win over Waipahu. He threw for 266 yards and three scores.

Lahainaluna’s Nainoa Irish puts up a stiff-arm while running with the ball Saturday. -- MATT HIRATA photo

Lahainaluna’s Nainoa Irish puts up a stiff-arm while running with the ball Saturday. -- MATT HIRATA photo

“Unbelievable. Our kids battled,” said Konawaena coach Brad Uemoto.

The Lunas’ William Kai Bookland caught three passes — all for touchdowns, including one in overtime.

In addition to his touchdown runs, Joshua Tihada also had a critical 32-yard reception of a high pass from Nainoa Irish on third-and-28 in the first overtime. Tihada scored on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1 moments later.

“Honestly, I just wanted to get the ball,” Joshua Tihada said. “I mean, the game wasn’t done.”

Siale Hafoka and Elijah Moritz each had 13 tackles for the Lunas, while Kaihulali Casco had 12 and Laakea Shim had 10. Lahainaluna recorded six sacks — including four by Oliveira-Kalalau, who also forced a Ewing fumble that Evalu-Robinson returned 7 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Lunas co-head coach Garret Tihada and the coaching staff welcome the defensive unit off the field.  -- MATT HIRATA photo

Lunas co-head coach Garret Tihada and the coaching staff welcome the defensive unit off the field. -- MATT HIRATA photo

The Wildcats tied the game at 31 with 45 seconds to go in regulation when Chauncey Mariani-Louis finished an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring run and Ewing threw a 2-point conversion pass to Hunter Wehr­sig. The conversion pass was tipped by Lunas safety Derek Perez.

Mariani-Louis finished with 191 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries.

Irish was 6-for-7 passing for 188 yards and three touchdowns. The Lunas finished with 231 yards through the air — in a semifinal win over Iolani, Lahainaluna threw one pass, which fell incomplete.

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

Konawaena 0 6 7 18 7 7 7 7 7 3 0–69

Lahainaluna’s Elijah Moritz wraps up a Konawaena player as Nyles Pokipala-Waiohu closes in on the play. -- MATT HIRATA photo

Lahainaluna’s Elijah Moritz wraps up a Konawaena player as Nyles Pokipala-Waiohu closes in on the play. -- MATT HIRATA photo

Lahainaluna 7 14 7 3 7 7 7 7 7 3 6–75

First Quarter

Lah–William Kai Bookland 66 pass from Nainoa Irish (Pablo Rico kick), 10:49.

Second Quarter

Lah–Bookland 31 pass from Irish (Rico kick), 11:18.

Kona–Austin Ewing 8 run (kick blocked), 7:37.

Lah–Koa Evalu-Robinson 7 fumble recovery (Rico kick), 4:04.

Third Quarter

Kona–Chancey Mariani-Louis 5 pass from Ewing (Harry Hill kick), 8:20.

Lah–Joshua Tihada 7 run (Rico kick), 3:14.

Fourth Quarter

Kona–Mariani-Louis 1 run (Hill kick), 10:46.

Kona–FG Hill 25, 6:14.

Lah–FG Rico 42, 3:34.

Kona–Mariani-Louis 3 run (Wehrsig pass from Ewing), 0:45.

First Overtime

Kona–Hunter Wehrsig 12 pass from Ewing (Hill kick).

Lah–Tihada 1 run (Rico kick).

Second Overtime

Lah–Tihada 1 run (Rico kick).

Kona–Mariani-Louis 6 run (Hill kick).

Third Overtime

Kona–Tyler Libarios 10 pass from Ewing (Hill kick).

Lah–Tihada 7 run (Rico kick).

Fourth Overtime

Lah–Elijah Ragudo 2 run (Rico kick).

Kona–Ewing 7 run (Hill kick).

Fifth Overtime

Kona–Mariani-Louis 2 run (Hill kick).

Lah–Bookland 20 pass from Irish (Rico kick).

Sixth Overtime

Lah–FG Rico 27.

Kona–FG Hill 32.

Seventh Overtime

Lah–Tihada 4 run.

Kona Lah

First downs 36 20

Rushes-yards 68-258 72-209

Passing yards 266 231

Total offense 524 440

Return yards 0 64

Comp-Att-Int 33-55-0 8-11-0

Fumbles-lost 4-4 2-2

Penalties-yards 14-90 13-111

Punts-avg 3-21.7 3-36.0

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Konawaena, Mariani-Louis 42-191, Ewing 25-68, team 1-(minus 1). Lahainaluna, Tihada 24-91, Ragudo 18-73, Irish 13-25, Dean Miyamoto 2-13, Taai Galoia 6-10, Kahiau Yap 1-6, Laakea Shim 1-3, Siale Hafoka 1-3, Aliksa Pihda 4-0, Kamahao Acpal 1-(minus 3), team 1-(minus 12).

PASSING–Konawaena, Ewing 33-55-0-266. Lahainaluna, Irish 6-7-0-188, Etuati Storer 0-1-0-0, Galoia 1-1-0-28, Kaihulalai Casco 1-1-0-15, Acpal 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING–Konawaena, Mariani-Louis 11-58, Libarios 9-94, Marc Basa 7-42, Jeriah Cacal 3-43, Wehrsig 2-25, Herman Kihe 1-4. Lahainaluna, Bookland 3-117, Tihada 3-75, Ragudo 2-39.

MISSED FIELD GOALS–Lahainaluna, Rico 42 (wide), 27 (wide).

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FIRST HAWAIIAN BANK STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Saturday’s Results • At Aloha Stadium

D-II final: Lahainaluna 75, Konawaena 69, 7OT

D-I final: Hilo 35, Damien 19

Open final: Kahuku vs. Saint Louis, late

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MIL STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS

2006–King Kekaulike (Division II)

2016–Lahainaluna (Division II)

2017–Lahainaluna (Division II)

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LAHAINALUNA STATE CHAMPIONS

Division II football–2016, 2017

Girls wrestling–2015, 2017

Boys wrestling–2015

Division I girls basketball–2010

Mixed canoe paddling–2002

Boys tennis–1990

Girls tennis–1987

Division A boys basketball–1982

Mystic Kauhaahaa of the Lunas runs past the Wildcats’ Boaz Ayers on a punt return.  -- MATT HIRATA photo

Mystic Kauhaahaa of the Lunas runs past the Wildcats’ Boaz Ayers on a punt return. -- MATT HIRATA photo

Lahainaluna’s Joshua Tihada goes up for a catch. -- MATT HIRATA photo

Lahainaluna’s Joshua Tihada goes up for a catch. -- MATT HIRATA photo

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