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Monarchs stun Lunas in overtime

Damien’s 31 unanswered points end Lahainaluna’s 21-game win streak, 38-31

Derek Perez of Lahainaluna High School jumps over Damien’s Alohi Arecchi while breaking for a long run in the second quarter Saturday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

LAHAINA — The Damien Memorial School football team did what very few do on Saturday night at Sue Cooley Stadium — the Monarchs scored the final 31 points of the game to beat Lahainaluna 38-31 in overtime.

The game ended when Kellen Robins-Beers intercepted Nainoa Irish’s pass in the end zone to deny the Lunas’ chance to tie the game and send it to another overtime.

“We knew coming in they were going to be physically tough, well disciplined,” Lahainaluna co-head coach Dean Rickard said after his team’s 21-game overall winning streak was snapped. “That’s what we were expecting. Both sides of the ball they played well. Everything we expected coming in, they showed.”

The Lunas had 15 players from their 45-man roster in street clothes for the game for reasons ranging from academic probation to injury to not having enough practices to be eligible.

“For us, we were a little short-handed, but that’s not an excuse,” Rickard said. “We need to re-evaluate and hopefully the kids that were out this week — we’ve got two weeks to prepare for Kapaa, so we’ve got to get them ready. And, of course, make a lot of corrections.”

Lahainaluna’s Joshua Tihada follows the block of teammate Kai Bookland while running for a second-quarter touchdown Saturday.

Damien scored with the first possession of the overtime on a 7-yard pass from Jake Holtz to Apereano Sulu to break a 31-31 tie. That possession was kept alive when the Lunas jumped offsides on fourth-and-2.

“It’s a great job for our kids to come back, man,” Damien coach Eddie Klaneski said. “We told them at halftime that we just wanted to see them fight back no matter what happened. You know, we made some plays in the second half. Lahainaluna’s a tough team — we could figure out the run and we finally got it. Our boys played a hell of a game, man.”

Lahainaluna’s Derek Perez scored on a 26-yard run with 9 minutes, 11 seconds left in the third quarter to push the Lunas’ lead to 31-7. They would not score again.

The Monarchs then went 71 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 2-yard pass from Holtz to Jayce Jay-Pedro to make it 31-14 with 5:23 left in the third quarter. Sulu had runs of 20 and 22 yards on the drive.

An interception by Lahainaluna’s Tre Rickard gave the Lunas the ball on their own 1-yard line, but they could not garner a first down, and a short punt set Damien up on the Lunas’ 34.

Damien quarterback Jake Holtz extends the football as Lahainaluna’s defense makes a key goal-line stand in the second quarter.

Three plays later, Holtz scrambled in from 14 yards out to make it 31-21 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Damien’s Alohi Arecchi intercepted Irish’s pass and returned it 28 yards to the Lunas 36. Two plays later, Holtz hit Makanalea Meyer on a 35-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-28 with 9:26 to play.

Damien got the ball back for the final time in regulation with 1:39 to play and marched 50 yards in nine plays. Christian Souza made a 38-yard field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime.

The Lunas took a 24-7 lead to the locker rooms at halftime.

They went 48 yards in seven plays on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead on Rickard’s 8-yard run with 8:04 left in the first quarter.

The Lunas’ Tre Rickard runs for a first-quarter touchdown.

The Monarchs took advantage of a 10-yard punt to tie the score on a 30-yard drive that was capped by Sulu’s 3-yard run with 8:39 left in the half.

The Lunas then broke out their wildcat formation to score four plays from scrimmage later. Five different players took snaps at quarterback for the Lunas — Irish, Tihada, Perez, Esekielu Storer and Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales.

Perez’s 30-yard kickoff return started the ensuing Lahainaluna drive on the Lunas’ 42-yard line. Perez ran for 14 yards on first down, Tihada ran for 9 and Kulukulualani-Sales ran for 5.

Tihada then broke free for a 30-yard touchdown run with 7:02 to go in the half to make it 14-7.

Lahainaluna’s defense stopped the Monarchs on the Lunas’ 1-yard line on the next possession when quarterback Jake Holtz was stuffed on fourth-and-goal.

Perez broke free for 57 yards on the first play of a three-play, 99-yard drive. Tihada then ran for 6 before he broke free again for a 36-yard scoring run with 2:19 left in the half.

The Lunas got the ball back with 24 seconds left in the half on their own 35-yard line. Kulukulualani-Sales ran for 13 before an incomplete pass stopped the clock. Irish then hit Rickard on a 26-yard pass with 3 seconds left on the clock before Brian Sandoval hit a 44-yard field goal as time expired.

Tihada finished with 148 yards rushing on 20 carries to lead the Lunas. Holtz passed for 224 yards and ran for another 71 to lead Damien.

“Lahainaluna never gave up, just like always,” Klaneski said. “It took us all the way to the end of the game and I’m just so proud of my kids. They played so hard tonight.”

In the end, Dean Rickard was ready to go back to the drawing board after his first game as offensive coordinator — he took over for Garret Tihada over the summer.

“Just a little bit too much mishandling the football, not sustaining drives, so we’re going to find the things that we need to work on,” he said. “It comes down to stuff as simple as you’ve got to block, you’ve got to tackle, and you’ve got to be able to move the ball and you’ve got to be able to stop them from moving the other way.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Damien 0 7 14 10 7–38

Lahainaluna 7 17 7 0 0–31

First Quarter

LL–Tre Rickard 8 run (Brian Sandoval kick), 8:04.

Second Quarter

D–Apereano Sulu 3 run (Alohi Arecchi kick), 8:39.

LL–Joshua Tihada 30 run (Sandoval kick), 7:02.

LL–Tihada 36 run (Sandoval kick), 2:19.

LL–FG Sandoval 44, 0:00.

Third Quarter

LL–Derek Perez 26 run (Sandoval kick), 9:11.

D–Jayce Jay-Pedro 2 pass from Jake Holtz (Christian Souza kick), 5:23.

D–Holtz 14 run (Souza kick), 0:30.

Fourth Quarter

D–Makanalea Meyer 35 pass from Holtz (Souza kick), 9:26.

D–FG Souza 38, 0:00.

Overtime

D–Sulu 7 pass from Holtz (Souza kick)

D LL

First downs 23 19

Rushes-yards 32-158 49-306

Passing yards 224 49

Total offense 382 355

Return yards 148 104

Comp-Att-Int 19-35-1 2-7-2

Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1

Penalties-yards 5-34 5-50

Punts-avg 3-28.7 5-29.8

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Damien, Sulu 14-82, Holtz 16-71, Chance Maghinay-Santos 1-6, Ezra Kaina 1-(minus 1); Lahainaluna, Tihada 20-148, Perez 8-93, Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales 9-55, Rickard 4-21, Tysyn Estrella 2-7, Nainoa Irish 3-3, Esekielu Storer 3-(minus 21).

PASSING–Damien, Holtz 19-35-1–224; Lahainaluna, Irish 2-7-2–49.

RECEIVING–Damien, Meyer 8-125, Sulu 4-33, Kaina 3-33, Thomas Labanon 2-18, Maghinay-Santos 1-13, Jay-Pedro 1-2; Lahainaluna, Rickard 1-26, Bookland 1-23.

MISSED FIELD GOALS–none.