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Lunas blank Warriors for 20th straight MIL win

With record-setting win, Lahainaluna clinches D-II first-round crown

Lahainaluna High School's Joshua Tihada runs for a touchdown during the second quarter of the Lunas' 34-0 win over Kamehameha Maui on Saturday night at Sue Cooley Stadium. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

LAHAINA — The Lahainaluna High School football team returned to what it does best — run the ball — to record a Maui Interscholastic League-record 20th win in a row against league opponents.

The Lunas rode a 219-yard rushing night — 128 of those yards came from Joshua Tihada’s 25 carries — to roll past Kamehameha Maui 34-0 on Saturday night at Sue Cooley Stadium.

The Lunas have not lost an MIL game since Oct. 15, 2016, when Baldwin beat them 19-13.

“It’s nice to get the win, of course,” Lahainaluna co-head coach Dean Rickard said. “But I think that moving forward and preparing for Maui High in two weeks is more important. I mean, it’s great for the kids, it’s great for the community, no doubt, but again now that we’ve done it, it’s time to move forward to the second half of the season.”

The Lunas stretched their lead to 20-0 on a 33-yard field goal by Brian Sandoval with 3 minutes, 9 seconds left in the third quarter. They went 52 yards in eight plays on the drive, the big play being a 24-yard run by Tihada to the Kamehameha 35-yard line.

The Warriors’ Teva Pimentel is gang-tackled by Lunas defenders in the second quarter. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Two fourth-quarter touchdown runs — 18 yards by Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales and 8 yards by Derek Perez — finished off the scoring by the relentless Lunas (3-0), who clinched the MIL Division II first-round title with the victory.

“It’s this part of the season where everybody starts watching film, breaking down film, keying,” Rickard said. “And you know, Kamehameha, hats off to them — their coaching staff and their players. They have great athletes and they showed it tonight. Again, it’s only going to get tougher going into the second round.”

Perez finished with 52 yards rushing on nine carries and Kulukulualani-Sales had 32 yards on three carries.

Lahainaluna led 17-0 at halftime. The Lunas scored their final touchdown with 41 seconds in the half on Kai Bookland’s stellar over-the-shoulder 15-yard catch in the corner of the end zone on a pass from Esekielu Storer.

The Lunas went 58 yards in five plays on the drive that began with a pretty 31-yard catch by Devon Sa-Chisolm that put the ball on the Warriors’ 27-yard line.

The Lunas’ Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales catches a pass as the Warriors’ Ilikea Mossman-Smith defends in the first half. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Lunas took a 7-0 lead on the second play of the second quarter when Tihada rumbled around the right corner and scored on an 11-yard run. The play before that, Tihada ran the same play out of the wildcat formation to the left side for 16 yards.

Tihada ran for 4 yards on the first play of the three-play, 31-yard drive that was set up by a 29-yard loss on a dropped snap in punt formation by the Warriors.

A 17-yard punt set up the Lunas’ second score of the night, a 26-yard field goal by Sandoval with 3:07 to go in the half to make it 10-0. The big play on the drive was an acrobatic 18-yard catch by Bookland that was good for a first down at the Kamehameha Maui 23-yard line.

The Warriors took the opening possession of the game 56 yards in 10 plays before missing a 31-yard field goal try by Hao Awai. They took 6:02 off the clock in the process.

Lahainaluna piled up 340 yards of total offense for the game — Storer passed for 111 yards, completing 9 of 18 passes. The Warriors were limited to 134 total yards — quarterback Tiliti Adams ran for 71 yards and passed for 67.

Lahainaluna’s Joshua Tihada dives for a second-quarter touchdown ahead of Kamehameha Maui’s Michael Kalalau on Saturday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Kamehameha Maui head coach Ulima Afoa declined to comment after the game as his team fell to 1-2 in the MIL.

n Robert Collias is at rcollias

@mauinews.com

KS Maui 0 0 0 0– 0

Lahainaluna 0 17 3 14–34

Kamehameha Maui quarterback Tiliti Adams throws a first-quarter pass under pressure by Lahainaluna’s Matthew Rabino. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Second Quarter

LL–Joshua Tihada 11 run (Kaihulali Casco kick), 11:43.

LL–FG Brian Sandoval 26, 3:07.

LL–Kai Bookland 15 pass from Esekielu Storer (Casco kick), 0:41.

Third Quarter

LL–FG Sandoval 33, 3:09.

Fourth Quarter

LL–Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales 18 run (Casco kick), 10:01.

LL–Derek Perez 8 run (Casco kick), 3:26.

KSM LL

First downs 10 19

Rushes-yards 27-63 42-219

Passing yards 71 111

Total offense 134 330

Return yards 49 21

Comp-Att-Int 6-21-1 9-18-0

Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0

Penalties-yards 5-30 9-75

Punts-avg 3-26.7 3-45.3

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Kamehameha Maui, Tiliti Adams 16-71, Teva Pimental 7-14, Alec Tolentino 2-6, Teancum Aiwohi 1-1, team 1-(minus 29); Lahainaluna, Joshua Tihada 25-128, Perez 9-52, Kulukulualani-Sales 3-32, Esekielu Storer 5-7.

PASSING–Kamehameha Maui, Adams 5-14-0–67, Tolentino 1-7-1–4; Lahainaluna, Storer 9-18-0–111.

RECEIVING–Kamehameha Maui, C.J. Hamasaki 3-21, Makani Smith-Kemfort 1-27, Ezekiel Weber 1-19, Alex Pookela 1-4; Lahainaluna, Bookland 3-42, Devon Sa-Chisolm 2-36, Sandoval 2-11, Tihada 1-15, Kulukulualani-Sales 1-7.

MISSED FIELD GOALS–Kamehameha Maui, Hao Awai 31 (WR).

Junior varsity–Lahainaluna 14, Kamehameha Maui 0.

Friday’s Result

KING KEKAULIKE 14, MAUI HIGH 12

King Kekaulike 7 0 7 0–14

Maui High 0 0 0 12–12

First Quarter

KK–Kali Kuhaulua 1 run (Thor Ventura kick), 7;07.

Third Quarter

KK–Trey Hunter 2 run (Ventura kick), 6:05.

Fourth Quarter

MH–Brex Delray 3 run (run failed), 7:23.

MH–Delray 1 run (pass failed), 1:28.

KK MH

First downs 15 17

Rushes-yards 43-133 29-43

Passing yards 83 226

Total offense 216 269

Return yards 82 49

Comp-Att-Int 6-13-1 21-32-0

Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-1

Penalties-yards 12-80 8-52

Punts-avg 6-43.8 6-40.2

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–King Kekaulike, Hunter 17-101, Franco Meglar Martich 12-29, Kuhaulua 10-15, Zack Hokoana 1-3, Travis Quitevis 1-(minus 4), team 2-(minus 11); Maui High, Naia Nakamoto 6-27, Delray 14-11, Pomakai Vargas-Gutierres 5-8, Keoki Kong 2-8, team 2-(minus 11).

PASSING–King Kekaulike, Melgar Martich 5-11-1–55, Hunter 1-2-0–28; Maui High, Delray 21-32-0–226.

RECEIVING–King Kekaulike, Kainalu Pahia 2-19, Seth Myer Fernandez 1-28, Tani Kaholoaa 1-27, Kuhaulua 1-7, Hunter 1-2; Maui High, Kaeo Miguel 7-93, Simpson Makoni 5-46, Kennison Tuugaifo 4-22, Sione Lolohea 3-50, Riley Johnson 1-12, Vargas-Gutierres 1-3.

MISSED FIELD GOALS–King Kekaulike, Ventura 35 (SH).

Junior varsity–Maui High 20, King Kekaulike 3.

MIL Standings

DIVISION I

W L Pct PF PA

Baldwin 1 1 .500 36 57

Maui High 0 2 .000 20 45

DIVISION II

W L Pct PF PA

x-Lahainaluna 3 0 1.000 114 21

KS Maui 1 2 .333 54 69

King Kekaulike 1 1 .500 26 58

x-clinched first-round championship

Friday’s Result

King Kekaulike 14, Maui High 12

Saturday’s Result

Lahainaluna 34, Kamehameha Maui 0

Friday, Sept. 13

Baldwin vs. Maui High at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 14

Kamehameha Maui at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.