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Warriors turn to rushing attack, top Bears 34-19

McKay Pali of Kamehameha Schools Maui carries the ball in the first quarter of the Warriors’ 34-19 victory over Baldwin on Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

WAILUKU — The Kamehameha Schools Maui and Baldwin football teams have built their offensive reputations on the passing game, but on Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium each turned to the ground for their primary mode of attack. It was the Warriors who came away with a momentum-building second win of the season, 34-19, behind 193 yards on the ground.

Kamehameha Maui (2-2) also had 176 yards in the air, but that was 86 yards less than its Maui Interscholastic League-leading average coming into the game.

Ho’ohenomauloa Stone-Han finished the game with 101 yards on 20 carries — 68 of the yards came in the second half after McKay Pali was forced out of the game early in the third quarter with dehydration issues. Pali finished the game with 84 yards rushing on 14 carries — all but three yards coming in the first half.

“You know, just next man up,” Stone-Han said. “So when he got injured I just had to get back up there and just do the job and get the work done. … We wanted to attack on the run so we could open up the passing lanes.”

Both teams will have a bye this week to prepare for the all-important second round. Kamehameha Maui needs just one win in two against King Kekaulike to clinch the MIL Division II title and its second trip to the state tournament in school history, the first since 2005.

Stone-Han

“It would mean a lot to us,” Stone-Han said. “And hopefully we can win out and get to the champs and win the champs.”

Kamehameha Maui struck first after Kaonohi Casco intercepted a pass by Baldwin’s B.A. Oto, the starting nose guard who was in at quarterback because starter Logan Randall suffered an apparent shoulder injury early in the game and didn’t return. Casco returned the pick 24 yards to set the Warriors up on the Baldwin 33-yard line.

Four plays later, Pali rumbled around the right side for a 13-yard scoring run to make it 6-0 with 3:05 left in the first quarter.

The Bears went 65 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-6 lead on a 2-yard run by Ezra Laga. Every play on the drive was a run — Jonathan Bacos ran four times for 50 yards on the possession.

Laga and Bacos finished with a combined 165 yards on the ground.

Baldwin’s Jonathan Bacos carries the ball in the first quarter Saturday.

The Warriors answered immediately with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that had just one pass in it. Pali ran four times on the drive for 31 yards, including an 11-yard scoring run to give Kamehameha a 12-7 lead.

Another interception by Casco — and a 30-yard return — gave the Warriors possession late in the first half and they went 51 yards in six plays. Makana Kamaka-Brayce hit Kahoa Abreu on a 21-yard scoring pass with 28 seconds left in the half to push the lead to 19-7.

Baldwin, which was coming off a 40-0 loss to rival Maui High, would not go quietly. Oto scored on a 16-yard run to cap a 50-yard, seven-play drive to open the second half.

Once again the Warriors answered, this time with a 63-yard, seven-play drive. Keegan Gantala caught a 31-yard scoring pass from Kamaka-Brayce to make it 27-13.

The Kamehameha Maui defense stopped Baldwin on downs at their own 15-yard line after the Bears had marched 59 yards. The Warriors then pushed the lead to three touchdowns with a methodical 13-play, 85-yard drive.

Kamehameha Maui’s Makana Kamaka-Brayce throws a first-quarter pass.

Kamaka-Brayce was 5-for-5 passing on the possession — all of the completions went to Gantala — and then the quarterback scored on a 3-yard run with less than seven minutes to play.

“I think our kids just continued to hang in there and to hang in there and, you know, it’s like anything — they were able to chip away at it,” Kamehameha Maui coach Ulima Afoa said. “We’re getting better week to week and the big key to this is to keep them healthy.”

Laga finished the scoring on a 2-yard rumble up the middle with 4:01 to play. The big play on the drive was a 38-yard reception by Kapio Madrid from freshman quarterback Antone Sanches that moved the ball to the Kamehameha 19-yard line.

Baldwin finished the first round of play 1-3, but coach Pohai Lee was pleased with the way his team battled through a hard-hitting game that cost them Randall and wide receiver Jordan Yoro (leg injury). The Bears were already mixing and matching on the offensive line, where Deyrek Edlao had moved from guard to center, due to injuries.

“That’s what I’m very proud of, the guys, they’re a good tight-knit group and they are playing hard, that’s what we’re really proud of,” Lee said. “When things are going bad, they’re not ducking their heads, they’re just competing. So, we’ve got to continue with that. That’s something to build off of.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Kamehameha Maui 6 13 8 7–34

Baldwin 0 7 6 6–19

First Quarter

KSM–McKay Pali 13 run (kick blocked), 3:05.

Second Quarter

B–Ezra Laga 2 run (B.A. Oto kick), 10:40.

KSM–Pali 11 run (kick blocked), 6:05.

KSM–Kahoa Abreu 21 pass from Makana Kamaka-Brayce (Trenton Kiesel kick), 0:28.

Third Quarter

B–Oto 16 run (kick failed), 8:59.

KSM–Keegan Gantala 31 pass from Kamaka-Brayce (Kainoa Carpenter pass from Abreu), 5:50.

Fourth Quarter

KSM–Kamaka-Brayce 3 run (Kiesel kick), 6:51.

B–Laga 2 run (kick failed), 4:01.

KSM B

First downs 23 17

Rushes-yards 39-193 37-202

Passing yards 176 69

Total offense 369 271

Return yards 75 50

Comp-Att-Int 16-21-1 5-12-2

Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-0

Penalties-yards 2-10 5-38

Punts-avg 1-15.0 2-36.5

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Kamehameha Maui, Stone-Han 20-101, Pali 14-84, Kamaka-Brayce 5-8; Baldwin, Laga 16-98, Jonathan Bacos 11-67, B.A. Oto 5-31, Logan Randall 1-4, Antone Sanches 3-3, team 1-(minus 1).

PASSING–Kamehameha Maui, Kamaka-Brayce 16-21-1–176; Baldwin, Sanchez 3-4-1–41, Oto 2-7-1–28, Randall 0-1-0–0.

RECEIVING–Kamehameha Maui, Gantala 6-78, Abreu 4-52, Kainoa Carpenter 3-24, Po’okela Aiu 2-14, Stone-Han 1-8; Baldwin, Kapio Madrid 2-45, Keoni Ihu-Rodrigues 1-22, Joseph Randolph 1-6, Kahekili Eleneki 1-(minus 4).

MISSED FIELD GOALS–none.

*****

Friday’s Result

MAUI HIGH 36, KING KEKAULIKE 0

At King Kekaulike Stadium

Maui High 6 2 14 14–36

King Kekaulike 0 0 0 0– 0

First Quarter

MH–Ethan Takara 6 pass from Joe Cariaga (kick failed), 9:12.

Second Quarter

MH–Safety, snap out of the end zone, 0:00.

Third Quarter

MH–Brayden Albrecht 21 pass from Cariaga (Takara run), 9:05.

MH–Zach Dando 30 pass from Cariaga (run failed), 2:05.

Fourth Quarter

MH–Sione Afemui 7 run (Robert Young kick), 11:53.

MH–Antonio Castro 2 run (Takara kick), 0:36.

MH KK

First downs 21 4

Rushes-yards 30-98 30-26

Passing yards 215 20

Total offense 313 46

Return yards 81 78

Comp-Att-Int 18-27-1 3-13-2

Fumbles-lost 5-2 2-1

Penalties-yards 5-29 5-40

Punts-avg 3-32.3 6-32.8

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Maui High, Piercen Cajigal-Evans 5-27, Coby Wakayama 8-26, Dando 1-24, Afemui 4-19, Castro 5-15, Cariaga 5-7, team 2-(minus 20); King Kekaulike, Kalelelpono Wong 2-32, Oakley Dillon 11-19, Jake Yoro 4-10, Austin Gomes 8-0, Keanu Kupau 1-(minus 3), Kalani Pu’u 2-(minus 7), team 2-(minus 25).

PASSING–Maui High, Cariaga 16-22-1–204, Afemui 2-5-0–11; King Kekaulike, Gomes 3-13-2–20.

RECEIVING–Maui High, Young 6-21, Takara 4-57, Albrecht 3-75, Dando 3-51, Castro 1-6, Tyzan Buduan 1-5; King Kekaulike, Wong 3-20.

MISSED FIELD GOALS–King Kekaulike, Kainalu Akinaka 45 (BL).

MIL Standings

DIVISION I

W L Pct PF PA

x-Lahainaluna 4 0 1.000 143 32

Maui High 3 1 .750 110 50

Baldwin 1 3 .250 53 114

DIVISION II

W L Pct PF PA

x-KS Maui 2 2 .500 131 111

King Kekaulike 0 4 .000 34 164

x-clinched first-round championship

Friday’s Result

Maui High 36, King Kekaulike 0

Saturday’s Result

Kamehameha Maui 34, Baldwin 19

End of first round

Saturday, Nov. 27

Maui High vs. Lahainaluna at War Memorial Stadium, 6 p.m.

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