Lunas roll past Bears

Lahainaluna uses 18 RBs, five QBs in 49-6 win in league opener

Lahainaluna High School’s Kamalei Watson returns a punt during the first quarter of the Lunas’ 49-6 victory over Baldwin in the first game of the Maui Interscholastic League season Friday night at War Memorial Stadium. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

WAILUKU — So, it appears the Lahainaluna High School football team is a Division II state contender again.

In their Maui Interscholastic League opener, the two-time defending state champion Lunas rolled to a 49-6 win over Baldwin on Friday night in front of about 3,000 fans at War Memorial Stadium — most of them wearing red and black.

“The kids did a good job during the week and worked hard, came out as a result of it,” Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada said.

The Lunas used 18 ballcarriers to pile up 296 yards on the ground. Five different players took snaps at quarterback.

“That’s always the goal, you always want to get everybody in the game,” Tihada said. “We were fortunate enough to get a big lead and get everybody in.”

Lahainaluna’s Tre Rickard picks up a first-quarter first down Friday. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Lunas rolled to a 35-0 lead at halftime to turn on the mercy-rule running clock for the entire second half.

Derek Perez scored the first three touchdowns, all in the first quarter, on runs of 13, 33 and 1 yards.

Perez’s first scoring run capped a five-play, 65-yard drive on the opening possession that took just 80 seconds off the clock.

His second scoring run culminated a seven-play, 66-yard drive that took just 2:20 to complete.

A bad snap on a punt gave the Lunas the ball on the Baldwin 39-yard line on their third possession, and Perez’s third scoring run came six plays later to make it 21-0 with 2:19 to go in the first quarter.

Baldwin’s Kapena Kamai is tackled by the Lunas’ Joshua Tihada (33) and Brysen Rickard. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Etuati Storer added the fourth touchdown on a 3-yard run just 2 1/2 minutes into the second quarter. Kamalei Watson scored the fifth touchdown on a 2-yard run with 5:15 to go in the first half.

A 25-yard punt return by Watson gave the Lunas the ball on the Baldwin 10 and Storer scored on the next play to push the lead to 42-0 with 3:31 to go in the third quarter.

Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales intercepted a La’a Asuega-Stark pass and returned it 37 yards to the Baldwin 3-yard line. Joshua Tihada scored on the next play to make it 49-0 with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.

Baldwin’s Ben Tokanang recovered a fumble and returned it 10 yards for the Bears’ touchdown with 4:03 to play.

Lahainaluna used 14 ballcarriers and five quarterbacks in the first 24 minutes of play. Nainoa Irish was 4-for-11 passing for 44 yards with an interception, all in the first half.

Lahainaluna quarterback Nainoa Irish throws a first-quarter pass. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Elijah Oliveira-Kalalau was a dominant force on the defensive line for the Lunas all night long.

“Coach (Bobby) Watson and the whole defensive staff, they did their homework and our guys came out and executed the game plan to a T,” Garret Tihada said.

Lahainaluna outgained Baldwin 247 yards to 40 in the first half and 340-47 for the game. The Lunas had 16 first downs to four for the Bears in the first half — Lahainaluna finished with a 23-7 advantage in first downs.

“They’re well-coached, that’s where it comes from,” Baldwin coach Pohai Lee said. “Their kids are all in — offense, defense, special teams. They’ve got good numbers, good speed, and we give them a lot of credit. We knew they were going to be a good team coming into this game.”

The young Bears started just five seniors.

“I wish we could have put up a better fight, but we’ve got to look for little things — battling until the end,” Lee said. “It’s just a process for us.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

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Lahainaluna 21 14 14 0–49

Baldwin 0 0 0 6– 6

First Quarter

LL–Derek Perez 13 run (Pablo Rico kick), 10:40.

LL–Perez 33 run (Rico kick), 6:19.

LL–Perez 1 run (Rico kick), 2:19.

Second Quarter

LL–Etuati Storer 3 run (Rico kick), 9:29.

LL–Kamalei Watson 2 run (Rico kick), 5:15.

Third Quarter

LL–Storer 10 run (Rico kick), 3:31.

LL–Joshua Tihada 3 run (Rico kick), 0:17.

Fourth Quarter

B–Ben Tokanang 10 fumble return (kick blocked), 4:03.

Junior varsity–Lahainaluna 21, Baldwin 3.

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MIL STANDINGS

DIVISION I

W L Pct PF PA

Maui High 0 0 .000 0 0

Baldwin 0 1 .000 6 49

DIVISION II

W L Pct PF PA

Lahainaluna 1 0 1.000 49 6

KS Maui 0 0 .000 0 0

King Kekaulike 0 0 .000 0 0

Friday’s Results

Lahainaluna 49, Baldwin 6

Kamehameha Maui 51, American Leadership Academy (Ariz.) 18 (nonleague)

Today’s Game

Maui High at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 24

Maui High at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 25

King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.

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