Bears defeat Na Alii
PUKALANI — With two winless teams battling tooth and nail, something was bound to give on Friday night at King Kekaulike Stadium.
Fortunately for the Baldwin High School football team, enough breaks went the Bears’ way to record their first win of the season, 37-22 over Na Alii in front of about 2,000 fans on a crisp Upcountry evening.
Baldwin is now 1-2 in Maui Interscholastic League play, while King Kekaulike fell to 0-2 in the game that took more than 3 hours to complete.
The result kept Baldwin alive for the first-round crown in the MIL Division I race.
The Bears pushed their lead to 37-22 with a methodical 10-play, 45-yard drive to open the second half.
Maluhia Plunkett caught an 8-yard scoring pass from Laa Asuega-Stark to culminate the drive that was started with a 34-yard kickoff return by Plunkett.
A wild final 32 seconds of the first half sent the Bears into the locker room with a 30-22 lead.
With the game tied 16-16, Kili Madrid snagged a pass over the middle from Asuega-Stark and weaved his way into the end zone on fourth-and-4 from Na Alii’s 14-yard line to give the Bears a 23-16 lead with 32 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Bears kicked away from Trey Hunter, who earlier in the game returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Elijah Finau field the kickoff and rambled 89 yards for a touchdown to make it 23-22.
Finau dove into the end zone and was assessed a 15-yard penalty that was tacked onto the extra point try. Hanalei Akina then missed the 35-yard kick to leave the score 23-22.
The Bears took over on their own 30 with 12 seconds left on the first-half clock. Asuega-Stark hit Madrid on a sideline pattern and he tiptoed down the sideline through the Kekaulike defense for a 70-yard touchdown pass on the final play from scrimmage of the half. Isaiah Souza’s point-after kick made it 30-22.
Asuega-Stark started the scoring on a 38-yard keeper around the right side on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage in the game to make it 7-0. Hunter answered right away with his 95-yard dance to the end zone on the ensuing kickoff.
Souza made a 31-yard field goal to give the Bears a 9-6 lead and Plunkett hauled in a 14-yard scoring pass from Asuega-Stark to make it 16-6 with just under 5 minutes left in the first quarter.
Baldwin’s Kapena Kamai fumbled a punt on his own 4-yard line and Na Alii recovered — two plays later Zack Hokoana dove in from 1 yard out to make it 16-13.
Hanalei Akina tied the game on a 31-yard field goal with 7:03 left in the second quarter to set up the final-minute fireworks.
Asuega finished the game with 178 yards and four touchdowns passing and 53 yards and a touchdown rushing.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Baldwin 16 14 7 0–37
King Kekaulike 6 16 0 0–22
B–Laa Asuega-Stark 38 run (kick failed), 10:12.
KK–Trey Hunter 95 kickoff return (kick failed), 9:578.
B-Isaiah Souza 31 FG, 6:04.
B-Maluhia Plunkett 14 pass from Asuega-Stark (Souza kick), 4:52.
KK–Zack Hokoana 1 run (Peighton Akina kick), 10:11.
KK–Hanalei Akina 31 FG, 7:03.
B-Kili Madrid 14 pass from Asuega-Stark (Souza kick), 0:32.
KK–Elijah Finau 89 kickoff return (kick failed), 0:17.
B–Madrid 70 pass from Asuega-Stark (Souza kick), 0:00.
B–Plunkett 8 pass from Asuega-Stark (Souza kick), 9:40.
Junior varsity–Baldwin 53, King Kekaulike 0.
Baldwin 37, King Kekaulike 22
Kamehameha Maui at Lahainaluna at Sue Cooley Stadium, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 14
Maui High vs. Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 15
Kamehameha Maui at King Kekaulike , 7 p.m.