WAILUKU - The division lead was on the line, and these two teams played like it.
The Lahainaluna High School football team took control of the Maui Interscholastic League Division II race with a closer-than-it-sounds 21-7 win over Kamehameha Maui on Saturday in front of about 2,000 fans at War Memorial Stadium.
Lahainaluna (3-1) opened up a two-game lead with four to play over Kamehameha (1-3) going into the county fair break.
Kalai Yap of Kamehameha Schools Maui looks for room to run as Lahainaluna High School’s Hercules Mataafa pursues and the Warriors’ Kupono Cabanas provides blocking help during the first half of the Lunas’ 21-7 victory Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium.
BEN JUAN photo
"Both sides played real hard tonight," said Lunas co-head coach Garret Tihada.
Lahainaluna had sophomore quarterback Kiko Kohler-Fonohema back to run the show after he missed last week's win over Maui High with a concussion. He ran for 39 yards and a touchdown and passed for another 39 yards and a score.
Last week, safety-slotback Tytus Lucas, who is on the field for nearly every play, played quarterback for Lahainaluna.
Baldwin 42, Maui High 6
Lahainaluna 21, Kamehameha Maui 7
Friday, Oct. 7
Baldwin at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 8
Maui High at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.
"I don't know if we were trying to do more, but he isn't playing defense," Tihada said of Kohler-Fonohema. "Tytus played offense, defense, special teams and he did a hell of a job for us last week. Playing quarterback and playing both ways, that is a tough thing to do."
The Lunas took a 14-7 lead with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in the third quarter when Kohler-Fonohema scored from a yard out.
They got the ball back when Warriors quarterback Kalai Yap was leveled on a blindside hit while scrambling - Lahainaluna's Bronson Kaina scooped up the loose ball and returned it 17 yards to Kamehameha 48-yard line. Semisi Filikitonga scored on a 25-yard run 10 plays later after the Lunas converted a fourth-and-2 situation on a 5-yard run by Jared Rocha.
Rocha, a freshman, had a game-high 75 yards on eight tough carries.
"Kamehameha brought all we expected, they always do," Tihada said. "It is always a battle, no matter what the records are. They play everybody tough, not just us, they play the whole league tough."
The two teams went into the locker rooms deadlocked at 7-7 - both touchdowns came on fourth-and-goal plays from the 1-yard line.
The only score of the first quarter was an acrobatic one-handed catch by Jonah Reyes in the end zone with 2:23 left. The Lunas started the drive from the Warriors' 15-yard line when Kaena Felicilda returned a 25-yard punt 15 yards and a personal foul tacked on another 15.
Lahainaluna had first-and-goal from the 3, but three straight between-the-tackles runs didn't cross the goal line. The Lunas called timeout before the scoring play and Kohler-Fonohema was nearly caught in the backfield before he got off his high floater that was corralled by Reyes for his first catch of the season.
The Warriors then drove from their 41 to the Lunas' 15 before Yap was sacked as he was throwing and the ball went backwards, recovered by Jarin Casco-Cabanilla.
The Lunas forced three turnovers - scoring off of two of them - and committed none. They fumbled twice early in the game but were able to recover each one.
"As usual they were extremely well-prepared, their kids are well-prepared, as usual their kids played really hard," Kamehameha coach Kevin O'Brien said. "We were only able to take advantage of one of their mistakes. They had a number of fumbles and we couldn't get any of them. I thought they played really well defensively and our offensive line struggled a little bit."
After Casco-Cabanilla's recovery, the Warriors got the ball back by stopping the Lunas on downs after they reached the Kamehameha 34.
One possession later, the Warriors' defense did the job again, stopping a fake punt by Jacob Kenolio-Dusenberry for a loss of 6 yards.
Starting on the Lunas' 24, the Warriors faced their own fourth down and finally broke through when backup quarterback Ryan Graham dove in with 48 seconds left in the half after lining up in a single-wing formation.
Yap had his best game as the Kamehameha starting quarterback, completing 13 of 19 passes - including nine in a row at one point - for 110 yards.
The defenses dominated the first half. Kamehameha finished with 68 yards, and Lahainaluna had 90.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
|KS Maui||0||7||0||0— 7|
|LL—Jonah Reyes 1 pass from Kiko Kohler-Fonohema (Jared Rocha kick), 2:23.|
|KSM—Ryan Graham 1 run (Stephen Barut kick), 0:48.|
|LL—Kohler-Fonohema 1 run (Rocha kick), 2:37.|
|LL—Semisi Filikitonga 25 run (Rocha kick), 4:24.|
|Junior varsity—Kamehameha Maui 26, Lahainaluna 10.|
|BALDWIN 42, MAUI HIGH 6|
|Maui High||0||6||0||0— 6|
|B—Ryan Garces 24 pass from Keelan Ewaliko (Zacharic Coloma-Mariano kick), 3:37.|
|B—Kaiana Camvel 17 pass from Ewaliko (Coloma-Mariano kick), 1:16.|
|B—Brandon Fernandez 15 pass from Ewaliko (Coloma-Mariano kick), 1:02.|
|B—Chazzen Sau 9 pass from Ewaliko (Coloma-Mariano kick), 4:10.|
|MH—Russell Kaauamo 8 pass from Siueli Vaha (kick failed), 0:35.|
|B—Kina Malafu 29 run (Coloma-Mariano kick), 4:21.|
|B—Garces 30 pass from Ewaliko (Coloma-Mariano kick), 11:12.|
RUSHING-B, Malafu 9-94, Ewaliko 8-46, Branden Kaupe 3-21, Thadd Shishido 2-4; MH, Vaha 14-94, Kaauamo 5-1, Jhun Gayoma 2-(minus 11), team 2-(minus 25).
PASSING-B, Ewaliko 15-33-2-196, Brugger 0-2-0-0; MH, Vaha 6-27-1-76, Garren Ah Wah 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING-B, Camvel 5-55, Fernandez 3-31, Garces 2-54, Sau 2-13, Malafu 1-16, Kamalei Anderson 1-16, Kyson-Lee Kaiama 1-11; MH, Keone Kapisi 2-38, Kaauamo 2-14, Gayoma 1-17, Ah Wah 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-B, Coloma-Mariano 33 (WR); MH, Kapisi 26 (WR).