Lunas run past Sabers

Lahainaluna’s Joshua Tihada escapes Maui High’s Kevin Cacho in the second quarter of the Lunas’ 28-3 victory on Saturday. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

WAILUKU — The battle between the two football state tournament representatives from a year ago in the Maui Interscholastic League turned out much the same as it did twice last season.

Lahainaluna High School won its 11th straight MIL game, 28-3 over Maui High on Saturday night in front of a large, enthusiastic, red-and-black-clad crowd that was glad to see its team back in action after the devastating West Maui fires that postponed a game last week.

“We have got to shake off the rust in practice more than anything else,” Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada said. “I’m hoping that a game like this that was pretty tight in the beginning, that we can refocus now and get back to work.”

Last season, the Lunas (2-0) beat the Sabers 32-13 and 24-17 in overtime. Maui High fell to 1-1 this season.

“It was just good to get back playing because we’ve lost two games already,” Garret Tihada said. “We lost the Kapalama (preseason) game (that was canceled) and then we lost the King (Kekaulike) game last week. It was nice to get back into the rhythm.”

Lahainaluna’s Nainoa Irish throws a second-quarter pass Saturday against Maui High. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Lunas pushed their lead to 28-3 on a methodical 80-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard scoring dive by Joshua Tihada to open the second half.

Nainoa Irish was 4-for-5 passing on the possession for 86 yards after being sacked for a loss of 7 yards on the first play.

Maui High had a golden opportunity to answer when Christian Lee recovered a fumbled punt at the Lahainaluna 22, but the Sabers turned the ball over on downs when Atu Falekaono was stopped for a 1-yard gain on fourth-and-3.

The Lunas led 21-3 at halftime on the strength of a balanced attack. Irish passed for touchdowns of 18 yards to Kai Bookland to start the scoring less than four minutes into the game and later he found Joshua Tihada on a 17-yard scoring pass with 2:02 left in the half.

The Lunas’ defense forced a three-and-out after Irish’s second touchdown pass and Tre Rickard returned the punt 43 yards to the Sabers’ 17-yard line.

The Luna’s Brysen Rickard catches Maui High's Naia Nakamoto to stop him short of the goal line. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Joshua Tihada pounded it in from the 1 two plays later.

The short drive was helped by a pair of Maui High penalties that gave the Lunas a first down on the 12. Tihada ran 11 yards to the 1 just before the final touchdown pushed the lead to 18 with 47 seconds to go before the break.

The Sabers hung tough for much of the first half — they cut the lead to 7-3 on a 22-yard field goal by Brex Delray with 3:17 left in the second quarter. The score was set up by a 41-yard burst up the middle by Naia Nakamoto, who was tackled at the 4.

“They’re a tough team — like I said, 44 (Viliami Makoni) and 48 (Falekaono) — we had to put too much concentration on them and we still didn’t stop them at times,” Garret Tihada said. “That just allowed everybody else to rally around the ball. They did a good job game planning and they stopped our run.”

The Lunas’ defense had three interceptions in the first half, two by Kaihulali Casco.

Irish passed for 109 yards in the first half — Bookland had three catches for 59 yards. Lahainaluna also rushed for 53 yards spread amongst eight ballcarriers.

Irish finished with 258 yards passing, spread among six receivers. Bookland finished with 107 yards receiving on five catches.

“We did a decent job passing tonight,” Garret Tihada said. “We missed some wide-open receivers at times, but we’ll get better with that.”

Maui High was led by Nakamoto’s 69 yards rushing on 12 carries in the first half. He finished with 112 yards on 24 carries.

“Nakamoto ran tough tonight — he ran inside,” Garret Tihada said. “He’s a good outside runner, but tonight he showed he’s a good inside runner also.”

Maui High coach James Kammerer said, “No moral victories, so we’re going to go back to hard work. The coaches need to meet and discuss and figure out how to better prepare and help these young men to be successful.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

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Lahainaluna 7 14 7 0–28

Maui High 0 3 0 0–3

First Quarter

LL-Kai Bookland 18 pass from Nainoa Irish (Pablo Rico kick), 8:17.

Second Quarter

MH-Brex Delray 22 FG, 3:17.

LL-Joshua Tihada 17 pass from Irish (Rico kick), 2:02.

LL-Tihada 1 run (Rico kick), 0:47.

Third Quarter

LL-Tihada 1 run (Rico kick), 9:36.

Junior varsity–Lahainaluna 13, Maui High 7.

# # #

Friday’s Result

At War Memorial Stadium

Kamehameha Maui 29

Baldwin 28

KS Maui 7 7 7 0 0 8–29

Baldwin 0 0 14 7 0 7–28

First Quarter

KSM-Tristan Catan 8 pass from Tiliti Adams (Sam Ostermiller kick), 8:35.

Second Quarter

KSM-Makani Smith-Kemfort 30 pass from Adams (Ostermiller kick), 8:24.

Third Quarter

KSM-Karsyn Pupunu 63 pass from Adams (Cruz Braun kick), 9:41.

B-Kili Madrid 5 pass from Laa Asuega-Stark (Bishop Wickes kick), 6:13.

B-Wickes 4 run (Wickes kick), 3:30.

Fourth Quarter

B-Kapena Kamai 11 pass from Asuega-Stark (Wickes kick), 5:33.

Second Overtime

B-Wickes 2 run (Wickes kick)

KSM-Pupunu 20 pass from Adams (Dane Abarra pass from Adams)

Junior varsity-Baldwin 40, Kamehameha 6.

KSM B

First downs 16 17

Rushes-yards 28-136 36-189

Passing yards 303 170

Total offense 439 359

Return yards 31 51

Comp-Att-Int 19-33-2 18-32-1

Fumbles-lost 1-0 4-0

Penalties-yards 13-135 11-109

Punts-avg 5-37.2 5-40.2

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING-Kamehameha Maui, Abarra 15-121, Adams 10-17, Catan 1-7, Teva Pimental 1-(minus 3), team 1-(minus 6); Baldwin, Wickes 19-172, Asuega-Stark 13-29, Isaiah Souza 2-8, Ben Tokanang 1-(minus 2), team 1-(minus 18).

PASSING-Kamehameha Maui, Adams 19-33-2-303; Baldwin, Asuega-Stark 18-32-1-170.

RECEIVING-Kamehameha Maui, Pupunu 7-141, Catan 5-58, Smith-Kemfort 2-47, Ezekiel Weber 2-11, Abarra 1-25, Tristan Ah-Yat 1-17, C.J. Hamasaki 1-4; Baldwin, Kamai 8-67, Bubba Varner 5-83, Maluhia Plunkett 3-14, Madrid 2-6.

MISSED FIELD GOALS-Kamehameha Maui, Ostermiller 39 (WL); Baldwin, Wickes 29 (BL), 30 (BL).

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MIL STANDINGS

DIVISION I

W L Pct PF PA

Maui High 1 1 .500 44 48

Baldwin 0 2 .000 34 78

DIVISION II

W L Pct PF PA

Lahainaluna 2 0 1.000 77 9

KS Maui 1 0 1.000 29 28

King Kekaulike 0 1 .000 20 41

Friday’s Results

Kamehameha Maui 29, Baldwin 28 2OT

Saturday’s Game

Lahainaluna 28, Maui High 3

Friday, Sept. 7

Baldwin at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 8

Kamehameha Maui at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.

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