Na Alii complete season sweep of Sabers, 30-27
PUKALANI — Call this the new King Kekaulike High School football team.
For the first time since 2010, Na Alii completed a season sweep of Maui High with a 30-27 win on Saturday night at King Kekaulike Stadium.
Senior running back Kali Kuhaulua ran 26 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns to lead Na Alii.
King Kekaulike has won three games this season overall — they beat McKinley 30-0 on Aug. 3 in their nonleague opener, and then defeated Maui High 14-12 on Sept. 6 — after entering the year on a 41-game losing streak that dated back five seasons.
Na Alii improved to 2-3 in the MIL, 1-0 in the second round. Maui High dropped to 0-6 and 0-2, but can keep its state tournament hopes alive with a win next week against Baldwin.
“Definitely our program is moving along,” King Kekaulike coach Tyson Valle said. “It’s all starting off with the foundation we built with these kids. It also starts off with our young ones — I’m happy that our Big Boys program is productive, our (junior varsity), they also got a win tonight. And varsity as well, we’re moving along, we’re climbing up the ladder.”
The Sabers turned to their defense to climb back into the game midway through the third quarter. Deep penetration snarled an attempted handoff by Na Alii, and Sione Lolohea scooped up the ensuing fumble on the play and scored from 12 yards out to make it 14-7 with 6:53 to go in the third quarter.
That set off a wild race to the finish.
Na Alii quickly appeared to put the game away with 10 points in 11 seconds.
Thor Ventura kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 17-7 with 4:32 remaining in the third quarter — the kick capped a 56-yard drive that was highlighted by a 51-yard run by Kuhaulua.
On the next play from scrimmage, King Kekaulike’s Kapunahea Kaeo intercepted a Toa Afemui pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown to extend Na Alii’s lead to 24-7.
The Sabers went 65 yards on their next drive and climbed back within 24-14 with 2:49 left in the third period on a 3-yard run by Renzo Je Mendoza, but King Kekaulike responded as Kuhaulua rumbled into the end zone on a 6-yard run with 9:53 remaining in the game to make it 30-14.
Brex Delray hit Lolohea on a 65-yard touchdown pass with 4:33 to play to bring the Sabers within 30-20, but the two-point conversion pass was incomplete.
The Sabers’ last gasp came when Delray hit Kaeo Miguel on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds to go, but King Kekaulike recovered the ensuing onside kick.
Na Alii took a 14-0 lead into the halftime break despite losing do-everything senior standout Trey Hunter to an apparent leg injury just before their first touchdown in the first quarter.
Before leaving, Hunter hit Travis Quitevis on a 34-yard pass to the Maui High 11-yard line. Hunter ran for three yards on the next play and went down with his injury. He did not return to the game.
“As of right now, all I know is he probably sprained his ankle,” Valle said of the prognosis on Hunter. “I’m not sure exactly, but he could be back, for sure.”
Kuhaulua scored on an 8-yard run on the next play, putting Na Alii ahead 7-0 with 4:03 left in the first quarter.
King Kekaulike had a chance to stretch the lead midway through the second quarter after a 10-play, 40-yard drive that ended with a missed 37-yard field goal by Ventura.
The next time they got the ball, Na Alii went 86 yards in 16 plays, pushing the lead to 14-0 on a 6-yard pass from Franco Melgar Martich to Quitevis on fourth-and-goal with 41 seconds left in the first half.
Maui High scored a season high in points — the Sabers came into the game with 33 points in five previous MIL games.
“These kids didn’t give up, we had some injuries, we had some other kids who stepped in, and they played to their best capabilities, gave it their all, gave us 100 percent,” Maui High coach Rodney Figueroa said.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Maui High 0 0 14 13–27
King Kekaulike 7 7 10 6–30
KK–Kali Kuhaulua 8 run (Thor Ventura kick), 4:03.
KK–Travis Quitevis 6 pass from Franco Melgar Martich (Ventura kick), 0:41.
MH–Sione Lolohea 12 fumble return (Brex Delray kick), 6:53.
KK–FG Ventura 26, 4:32.
KK–Kapunahea Kaeo 26 interception return (Ventura kick), 4:21.
MH–Renzo Je Mendoza 3 run (Delray kick), 2:49.
KK–Kuhaulua 6 run (kick failed), 9:53.
MH–Lolohea 65 pass from Delray (pass failed), 4:33.
MH–Kaeo Miguel 18 pass form Delray (Delray kick), 0:38.
First downs 13 20
Rushes-yards 24-123 47-237
Passing yards 133 135
Total offense 256 372
Return yards 66 73
Comp-Att-Int 14-33-1 10-26-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties-yards 5-50 6-65
Punts-avg 5-41.2 3-29.0
RUSHING–Maui High, Mendoza 18-120, Delray 1-11, Toa Afemui 5-(minus 8); King Kekaulike, Kuhaulua 26-165, Melgar Martich 9-30, Brandon Stenger 8-26, Trey Hunter 3-15, Logan Kaina 1-1.
PASSING–Maui High, Delray 7-13-0–116, Afemui 7-20-1–17; King Kekaulike, Melgar Martich 9-25-0–101, Hunter 1-1-0–34.
RECEIVING–Maui High, Kamalu Reyes 4-12, Miguel 3-32, Lolohea 2-68, Zachary Dando 2-1, Mendoza 1-15, Moses Koniseti 1-4, Kennison Tuugaifo 1-1; King Kekaulike, Kuhaulua 4-13, Quitevis 2-40, Kainalu Pahia 1-40, Gavin Santiago 1-28, Stenger 1-8, Waylein Rosales 1-6.
MISSED FIELD GOALS–King Kekaulike, Ventura 37 (SH).
Junior varsity–King Kekaulike 19, Maui High 2.
LAHAINALUNA 31, KAMEHAMEHA MAUI 17
Lahainaluna 3 14 7 7–31
KS Maui 0 3 14 0–17
LL–FG Brian Sandoval 39, 0:17.
KSM–FG Hao Awai 33, 6:46.
LL–Joshua Tihada 65 run (Kaihulali Casco kick), 6:29.
LL–Kai Bookland 16 pass from Tihada (Casco kick), 0:32.
KSM–Karsyn Pupunu 61 pass from Tiliti Adams (Awai kick), 11:08.
KSM–Teancum Aiwohi 14 run (Awai kick), 4:44.
LL–Tihada 40 run (Casco kick), 2:06.
LL–Tihada 1 run (Casco kick), 3:41.
First downs 24 14
Rushes-yards 51-366 25-123
Passing yards 31 170
Total offense 397 293
Return yards 102 148
Comp-Att-Int 3-6-1 11-20-1
Fumbles-lost 3-3 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-21 5-34
Punts-avg 0-0 4-28.0
RUSHING–Lahainaluna, Tihada 37-292, Derek Perez 7-41, Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales 4-24, Esekielu Storer 2-8, Cyrus Freitas 1-1; Kamehameha Maui, Aiwohi 13-81, Adams 4-17, Kapena Gushiken 3-15, Teva Pimentel 5-10.
PASSING–Lahainaluna, Storer 2-5-1–15, Tihada 1-1-0–16; Kamehameha Maui, Adams 11-20-1–170.
RECEIVING–Lahainaluna, Kai Bookland 3-31; Kamehameha Maui, Pupunu 5-117, Gushiken 2-13, Alec Tolentino 1-15, Makani Smith-Kemfort 1-9, C.J. Hamasaki 1-9, Aiwohi 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS–Kamehameha Maui, Awai 24 (WR), 48 (SH).
Junior varsity–Lahainaluna 17, Kamehameha Maui 0.
MIL Second-Round Standings
(Overall MIL records in parentheses)
W L Pct PF PA
x-Baldwin (3-2) 0 1 .000 14 26
Maui High (0-6) 0 2 .000 40 54
W L Pct PF PA
x-Lahainaluna (6-0) 2 0 1.000 57 31
King Kekaulike (2-3) 1 0 1.000 30 27
KS Maui (3-3) 1 1 .500 41 44
x-won first round
Lahainaluna 31, Kamehameha Maui 17
King Kekaulike 30, Maui High 27
Friday, Oct. 11
King Kekaulike at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12
Maui High vs. Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.