PUKALANI - In a battle of two halves, the Kamehameha Schools Maui football team survived on Saturday night.
The Warriors bounded out to a three-touchdown halftime lead and then held on for a 21-14 win over Maui High in front of about 1,500 fans at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
The Sabers put on a furious rally in the second half, and recovered an onside kick with 1 minute, 24 seconds to play before giving the ball up on downs with 40 seconds left.
Jamal Jones of Kamehameha Schools Maui jumps for a pass as Maui High’s Mario Fernandez defends during the first half of the Warriors’ 21-14 victory over the Sabers on Saturday in a Maui Interscholastic League game at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
BEN JUAN photo
Kamehameha Maui’s Taylor Ka‘auaki brings down Maui High’s David Kahaleuaki in the first half.
BEN JUAN photo
The game was the Maui Interscholastic League second-round opener for both teams - Kamehameha (2-3 overall) is tied with Lahainaluna for the Division II lead.
The Sabers fell to 2-3.
The game continued a string of recent highly competitive matchups between the two teams.
MIL SECOND-ROUND STANDINGS
Overall MIL record in parentheses * x-won first-round championship
............................. W ..... L ..... Pct ..... PF ..... PA
x-Baldwin (3-1) ...... 0 ..... 0 ..... .000 ...... 0 ....... 0
Maui High (2-3) ..... 0 ..... 1 ..... .000 ..... 14 ..... 21
................................... W ..... L ..... Pct ..... PF ..... PA
x-Lahainaluna (5-0) ..... 1 ...... 0 ..... 1.000 ..... 42 ....... 0
KS Maui (2-3) ............... 1 ..... 0 ..... 1.000 ..... 21 ..... 14
King Kekaulike (0-5) ..... 0 ..... 1 ....... .000 ....... 0 ..... 42
Lahainaluna 42, King Kekaulike 0
Kamehameha Maui 21, Maui High 14
Friday, Oct. 5
Maui High vs. Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6
Lahainaluna at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.
Maui High scored the winning touchdown with 18 seconds left in a 10-7 win over Kamehameha in this year's first round. Last season, the Sabers won 28-27 in overtime in the league opener, while Kamehameha won 21-0 in the season finale.
"It is a credit to (Maui High) coach (David) Bui and his staff, it's a credit to their kids, they really raised the intensity at halftime," said Kamehameha coach Kevin O'Brien. "It's funny because we have had
really great games with these guys for four games in a row now. The overtime game last season, the comeback and the almost-comeback now - it has been really exciting games with them."
The Sabers sliced into the Warriors' 21-0 halftime lead after Andre Pierman recovered a fumble at the Kamehameha 10-yard line and Soane Vaohea scored on an 8-yard run with 2:19 left in the third quarter.
Maui High drove to the Kamehameha 16 on its next possession, but Bryant Kubo intercepted a David Kahaleauki pass near the goal line and returned it 62 yards.
The Sabers forced a punt, but were then stopped on downs. Maui High got another chance after stopping the Warriors on downs at the Sabers' 30 and took advantage, going 70 yards in seven plays and getting within 21-14 when Moana Vainikolo scored with 1:27 to play.
"I'm very proud of my kids," O'Brien said. "They have worked hard and they struggled a little bit, but we battled and we didn't give up."
Kamehameha was without quarterback Kalai Yap, the MIL's leading rusher - he is still recovering from a concussion suffered two weeks ago against Baldwin.
The Warriors recovered four fumbles in the first half, three of which led to short drives for touchdowns - all on runs by Makoa Medeiros.
The first score came less than two minutes into the game after Maui High's Justin McCrary fumbled the opening kick and Kamehameha's Colton Cabanas recovered on the 23.
Chase Newton hit Devonte Llanes for 14-yard reception on the first play, and three straight Medeiros runs put the ball in the end zone - the final one was from a yard out.
After a muffed Maui High handoff, Rusty Hue Sing recovered on the Sabers' 25. Medeiros scored on an 11-yard run with 4:01 left in the first quarter. The four-play drive included three rushes by Medeiros - for a total of 27 yards because of a 2-yard loss.
McCrary broke free for a 38-yard run to the Kamehameha 27 on the next possession, but three plays later Jared Kapisi's 46-yard field-goal attempt was blocked.
The final score of the first half came after the Warriors' Kapahanau Palakiko recovered a fumble on the Sabers' 9. Medeiros did all the work again, and the score came on a 6-yard run with 3:46 left in the second quarter.
Medeiros finished the game with 90 rushing yards - all but two in the first half - on 15 carries. Newton, a sophomore, was 9-for-16 passing for 89 yards. Kamehameha Maui outgained Maui High 177 yards to 61 in the first half.
McCrary finished with 131 yards rushing, 84 of them in the second half. Vaohea had 96 of his 102 rushing yards in the final two quarters, when the Sabers outgained the Warriors 193-116.
The Sabers had five turnovers altogether, and dressed less than 35 players for the game, according to Bui.
"We have got some young guys and we are still trying to find ourselves," Bui said. "But it was nice to see that second half when there was some resemblance of a competitive football team there. We are hoping to build off that for next week."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Maui High ..... 0 ..... 0 ..... 7 ..... 7-14
KS Maui ...... 14 ..... 7 ..... 0 ..... 0-21
KSM-Makoa Medeiros 1 run (Colton Cabanas kick), 10:17.
KSM-Medeiros 11 run (Cabanas kick), 4:01.
KSM-Medeiros 6 run (Cabanas kick), 3:46.
MH-Soane Vaohea 8 run (Jared Kapisi kick), 2:19.
MH-Moana Vainikolo 7 run (Kapisi kick), 1:27.
Junior varsity-Maui High 13, Kamehameha Maui 6.
* * *
LAHAINALUNA 42, KING KEKAULIKE 0
Lahainaluna ......... 0 ..... 21 ..... 14 ..... 7-42
King Kekaulike ..... 0 ....... 0 ....... 0 ....... 0-0
LL-Semisi Filikitonga 10 pass from Kiko Kohler-Fonohema (Kohler-Fonohema kick), 11:15.
LL-John Lacuesta 6 run (Kohler-Fonohema kick), 6:53.
LL-Kohler-Fonohema 10 run (Kohler-Fonohema kick), 1:14.
LL-Filikitonga 85 run (Kohler-Fonohema kick), 11:42.
LL-Tytus Lucas 1 pass from Kohler-Fonohema (Kohler-Fonohema kick), 7:07.
LL-Jeffrey Ancog 66 run (Kohler-Fonohema kick), 3:00.
RUSHING-LL, Filikitonga 2-133, Ancog 4-91, Kohler-Fonohema 6-36, Lacuesta 4-21, Lucas 4-9, Robert Chang 2-5, Reece Sinenci 1-0, Jacob Naganuma 2-(minus 5), team 1-(minus 22); KK, Ryley Widell 7-26, Aaron Alama 18-19, Onosai Eemilio 1-5, Davin Canha 2-3, Justen Romkee 1-3, Romeo Cabbat 1-(minus 3).
PASSING-LL, Kohler-Fonohema 9-160-0-125; KK, Widell 1-13-2-7.
RECEIVING-LL, Lucas 4-68, Mark Alamon 2-27, Filikitonga 2-27, Lacuesta 1-3; KK, Charles Apuna 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-KK, Justen Romkee 30 (SH).