WAILUKU - In a reversal of offensive schemes, the Baldwin High School football team dismantled Lahainaluna 40-0 on Friday night in front of about 5,000 fans at War Memorial Stadium.
It was the defense of Baldwin, playing its Maui Interscholastic League opener, that forced the change in game plans for both teams.
Put into tough situations all night, the Lunas (1-1) were limited to 11 rushing yards on 27 carries. Lahainaluna had the top ground game in the MIL last season with 1,832 yards - an average of 229 per game and 677 more than the second-best mark.
Baldwin High School’s Brandon Kaupe eludes Lahainaluna’s Tytus Lucas during the first quarter of the Bears’ 40-0 win over the Lunas on Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"Yeah, that was our first goal from the start of the season, to have a shutout every game we play," said Baldwin senior middle linebacker B.J. Wilhelm-Ioane. "We were surprised, but we kind of knew what we had to do, so we practiced hard all week."
Wilhelm-Ioane roamed loose for several tackles on the night as the defensive line in front of him - Pasoni Tasini, Miki Fangatua, Semisi Malafu and Izeah-Edward Fernandez Ruiz - dominated.
"Our D line was the key," Wilhelm-Ioane said. "They put pressure on their young line. They couldn't do anything, so that was the key tonight."
Baldwin was coming off a 48-10 loss to Edison (Calif.), the ninth-ranked team in Orange County.
"Our defense is our strength this year, so after last week's game, we watched the film and we had to work on some alignments and getting people in the right position," said Bears coach A.J. Roloos. "They played well tonight. Our D line, if they can't occupy the O linemen, the linebackers can't run free. B.J. played great, but he should be giving it up to the D line."
The Bears have passed for much of their yardage in recent years while the Lunas rushed with numerous ballcarriers, but on Saturday, eight Baldwin players ran a combined 42 times for a total of 294 yards - led by the 118-yard, two-touchdown night of Kina Malafu.
Meanwhile, Lahainaluna threw 21 passes to Baldwin's 11. The Bears totaled 379 yards of offense while allowing 78, and had a 24-7 advantage in first downs.
Malafu's 12-yard scoring run with 3 minutes, 50 seconds left in the third quarter made the score 33-0 and ended his night.
Baldwin turned on the mercy-rule running clock on the first play of the fourth quarter when reserve Justin Cabajar dove into the end zone from a yard out.
"We have been watching film on them and they are the real deal," said Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada. "They are big, strong, fast - totally what we expected."
In a first half, Baldwin piled up 178 yards on the ground and Keelan Ewaliko completed four of seven passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Malafu had 79 yards on 13 carries, Ewaliko had five carries for 60 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Branden Kaupe had four carries for 39 yards.
Lahainaluna managed just 58 yards in the first half, including zero on 14 rushes.
The Lunas threw eight passes - completing two for 26 yards - in the first quarter, while Baldwin threw none. The Lunas ran seven times for zero yards, while Baldwin ran 15 times for 112 yards and a 13-0 lead on a pair of 12-yard touchdown runs by Ewaliko.
The first came on a quarterback draw on the first possession, just 2:36 into the game, and capped a six-play, 49-yard drive that was started by an unsuccessful onside kick by the Lunas.
The Bears appeared to set themselves back on a pair of five-yard penalties, but a 22-yard scamper by Kaupe gave Baldwin a first down on the Lahainaluna 24-yard line, and Ewaliko scored two plays later after a pass-interference call.
The teams then traded punts, but the Lunas' kick traveled just 9 yards, giving the Bears the ball at Lahainaluna's 32. Baldwin needed just four plays to score, including a 16-yard run by Kaupe two plays before Ewaliko's second touchdown run after a nifty fake handoff with 2:39 left in the quarter.
Ewaliko's first official pass of the evening - with 9:13 left in the first half - was a 20-yard scoring throw to Kaiana Camvel made it 20-0. That culminated a five-play, 42-yard drive that started after another 9-yard punt that sailed out of bounds.
The Bears scored their final touchdown of the first half on an 8-yard run by Malafu with 2:42 left before halftime.
The game was hard-hitting and marred by penalties. Baldwin had 13 for 105 yards, and the Lunas 10 for 74 yards.
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lahainaluna ..... 0 ....... 0 ..... 0 ....... 0-0
Baldwin .......... 13 ..... 14 ..... 6 ..... 7-40
B-Keelan Ewaliko 12 run (run failed), 9:24.
B-Ewaliko 12 run (Zacharic Coloma-Mariano kick), 2:39.
B-Kaiana Camvel 20 pass from Ewaliko (Coloma-Mariano kick), 9:13.
B-Vetekina Malafu 8 run (Coloma-Mariano kick), 2:42.
B-Malafu 12 run (kick failed), 3:50.
B-Justin Cabajar 1 run (Dean Phillips kick), 11:55.
Junior varsity-Baldwin 27, Lahainaluna 21.
Baldwin 40, Lahainaluna 0
King Kekaulike at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 9
Baldwin vs. Kamehameha Maui at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 10
Maui High vs. King Kekaulike at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.