PUKALANI - Branden Kaupe epitomizes the Baldwin High School football team.
The 5-foot-6, 170-pound senior is an all-state second baseman for the baseball team, but is showing all-around ability in his senior football season after sitting out last year - a precautionary measure after he broke his leg as a sophomore.
Kaupe, a backup running back and safety, finds his way to the field for most of the game anyhow, and on Saturday night at King Kekaulike Stadium had 127 all-purpose yards to lead the Bears to a 43-0 win over Na Alii in front of about 2,500 fans.
Baldwin High School’s Brandon Fernandez tries to elude King Kekaulike’s Keegan Gregg during the Bears’ 43-0 victory over Na Alii on Saturday night at King Kekaulike Stadium.
BEN JUAN photo
King Kekaulike’s Romeo Cabbat is tackled by Baldwin’s B.J. Wilhelm-Ioane as the Bears’ Vili Tolutau trails the play during Saturday’s game.
BEN JUAN photo
Baldwin (3-0) posted its second shutout of the Maui Interscholastic League season, allowing just 77 total yards - six sacks of Tyler Lopes helped limit King Kekaulike (1-2) to negative-53 yards on the ground. Of Na Alii's 20 rushes, 15 went for zero or negative yards.
"Like I said from the beginning, the defense is our strength," said Baldwin coach A.J. Roloos. "The defense, they are tough, they are tough to beat."
Baldwin turned on the mercy-rule 35-point running clock with an electric 75-yard punt return for a touchdown by Kaupe that made the score 36-0 with 7 minutes, 15 second left in the third quarter.
"That was all my blockers, they did their job and all I had to do was run," Kaupe said. "I want to be on the field every play. I'm a senior and I want to go out with a bang."
On Baldwin's first possession of the second half, it stretched the lead to 29-0 with a 33-yard drive set up by a 22-yard kickoff return by Jacob Kealoha on a squib kick.
Kina Malafu scored his second touchdown of the night on a 4-yard run with 9:53 left in the third quarter. Malafu, who finished with 125 yards on 12 carries, had three rushes for 15 yards on the drive and Kaupe had two carries for 19 yards.
"Everybody shows everything, that is what I love about this team," Kaupe said. "Kina, that guy is unbelievable. He is my inspiration. Usually I don't look up to guys my age, but he is good, he is really good."
Baldwin added the final score on a 10-yard pass from third-string quarterback Phillip Brugger to second-string quarterback Chazzen Sau, who lined up wide, with 3:18 left. Brugger completed five of six passes for 27 yards altogether.
The Bears have outscored league opponents 124-7.
"They are a really tough team," said King Kekaulike coach P.K. Higa.
With a bye and the Maui Fair break, Na Alii will not play for three weeks.
"We just have to execute a little bit better and we will get better," Higa said.
The Bears took a 22-0 lead into the locker room after striking first with their defense.
On Na Alii's third possession, Lopes was sacked twice in a row, the second of which was for a safety by Gabriel Chavolia-Fukushima with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
After the free kick traveled only 22 yards, the Bears needed six plays - wrapped around two penalties for a total of 22 yards - to score on a 4-yard run by Keelan Ewaliko.
Baldwin went 86 yards in eight plays early in the second quarter - the drive started with a 27-yard escape act by Ewaliko and also included a 37-yard pass from Ewaliko to Malafu that put the ball on King Kekaulike's 28. Kaupe scored on a 9-yard run to make the score 15-0 with 7:55 left before halftime.
The Bears then forced a three-and-out and took over on Na Alii's 45 after a 16-yard punt. Malafu ran for 23, 5, 16 and then 1 yard for the score, doing all of the work on the four-play drive.
Baldwin had 10 penalties for 125 yards in the first half - and three more were declined. Three of King Kekaulike's eight first downs in the game were via penalty.
The Bears rolled up 269 yards on the ground, 189 in the first half. Ewaliko passed for 50 yards and ran for 69.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Baldwin ................ 2 ..... 20 ..... 14 ..... 7-43
King Kekaulike ..... 0 ....... 0 ....... 0 ....... 0-0
B-Safety, Tyler Lopes tackled in end zone by Gabriel Chavolia-Fukushima, 2:02.
B-Keelan Ewaliko 4 run (Dean Phillips kick), 11:55.
B-Branden Kaupe 9 run (kick failed), 7:55.
B-Kina Malafu 1 run (Phillips kick), 5:04.
B-Malafu 4 run (Phillips kick), 9:53.
B-Kaupe 75 punt return (Phillips kick), 7:15.
B-Chazzen Sau 10 pass from Phillip Brugger (Phillips kick), 3:18.
Junior varsity-Baldwin 38, King Kekaulike 12.
LAHAINALUNA 29, MAUI HIGH 10
Lahainaluna ..... 0 ..... 7 ..... 0 ..... 22-29
Maui High ......... 0 ..... 3 ..... 7 ...... 0-10
MH-FG Keone Kapisi 28, 4:49.
LL-Jared Rocha 7 run (Rocha kick), 0:20.
MH-Fred Sims 15 interception return (Kapisi kick), 0:53.
LL-Safety, Siueli Vaha runs out of end zone, 8:47.
LL-Rocha 6 run (run failed), 6:58.
LL-Tytus Lucas 6 run (Rocha kick), 3:35.
LL-Mark Alamon 29 fumble return (Rocha kick), 1:31.
RUSHING-LL, Semisi Filikitonga 16-113, Lucas 23-68, B.J. Pagdilao 10-55, Rocha 2-13, Bronson Kaina 1-13, Alamon 1-0, team 1-(minus 17); MH, Justin McCrary 7-45, Siueli Vaha 19-19, Jarrin Cabo 1-24, Fred Sims 2-12, Russell Kaauamo 5-2, team 2-(minus 21).
PASSING-LL, Lucas 0-5-1-0; MH, Vaha 1-15-2-5.
RECEIVING-MH, Kapisi 1-5.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-MH, Kapisi 54 (SH).