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Wow, Lunas have something pretty special going on

September 8, 2012 - Robert Collias
With five games to play in the MIL football chase, this thing going on at Lahainaluna is reaching remarkable proportions.

The Lunas recorded their third straight shutout to start MIL play — they have outscored league opponents 97-0 — and their defense has 10 takeaways in the last two games. Seven times they have scored touchdowns off of those turnovers, and two other times, they have scored touchdowns after stopping their opponents on downs. In their three MIL games, their takeaway-turnover ratio is 11-2.

Lahainaluna's first turnover of the season came in their fourth overall game, on their 151st center snap. They had one fumble lost and one interception on Friday night that the Luna D made sure led to nothing for the Bears.

Before I get too far into this, please let me say, "BOY WAS I WRONG!"

Lahainaluna was outnumbered 65-38 in players dressed for the game — Baldwin was missing Hawaii commited-quarterback Keelan Ewaliko (rib) and MIL All-Star linebacker Jordan Hoiem (flu), but while Baldwin might have gotten on the scoreboard if those two had played, there's no chance they win Friday night's lesson delivered by Lahainaluna even with that pair of players who are headed for NCAA Division I careers.

As usual, in his quotes in the above link and others here that didn't make the deadline cut, Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada was humble and is going to make sure his team is as well.

"They are still Baldwin, they are still tough," he said.

The game was 12-0 at halftime, but in reality it could have been worse. Baldwin had negative-2 yards of total offense at halftime.

"It was really, really close, anything could have happened," Tihada said. "Even at 19-0, this (Baldwin team) is a potent offense, especially when Ewaliko comes back. Even without Ewaliko, they can score whenever they want to."

Not on this night, not against this defense.

Lahainaluna quarterback Kiko Kohler-Fonohema continued to develop and recover from an injury-filled sophomore year when a concussions and broken jaw limited him to four MIL games.

He had 144 yards rushing on 15 carries — and passed for another 27, the Lunas didn't exactly need to put the ball up much in this one — and gave Lahainaluna the only score it would need when he saw no one lined up over center, moved up from shotgun formation to take the snap directly behind center, and rambled untouched 64 yards on third-and-10 late in the first quarter.

"They gave us certain things and we just tried to take advantage of what they were giving us," Tihada said.

On the other side of a packed house (I estimated 6,000 in attendance), the Bears, the flag-bearer for MIL football for the last decade and a D-I state final four team a year ago, have a lot of work to do.

"We made mistakes in the red zone, turnovers, fumbles, bad snaps, it was stuff we can correct," Baldwin coach A.J. Roloos said. That is true, but the stark reality for the seven-time defending MIL champions is this — they have been shut out twice in their three games this season (46-0 to start things two weeks ago against a very good Saint Louis team at Aloha Stadium) and their 25-5 win over Maui High as anything but dominating.

The once-potent Baldwin offense completed four passes Friday night in 19 attempts and were 0-for-8 in the first half.

"We are not going to dwell on the loss, we are going to move on," Roloos said. "We are going to make the corrections and move on."


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