WAILUKU - Billed as the Maui Interscholastic League game of the season - and perhaps the decade - the Baldwin and Lahainaluna high school football teams gave an overflow crowd of about 8,000 fans their money's worth on Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium.
Keelan Ewaliko scored on a 7-yard quarterback keeper in overtime to give the Bears a dramatic 20-17 victory on the Lunas' homecoming night.
Ewaliko, who missed Baldwin's 32-0 loss to Lahainaluna on Sept. 7 with a broken rib, carried for 4 and then 9 yards in the overtime period, which begins with possession at the 20-yard line, before his game-winner. He was lifted onto his stepfather Chris Baisa's shoulders moments after the electric outcome.
Baldwin High School’s Dusty Flores is pursued by Lahainaluna’s Hercules Mataafa as Ricardo Montilliano trails the play during the first half of the Bears’ 20-17 overtime victory Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"That game was just awesome," said Ewaliko, a two-time MIL Offensive Player of the Year who has made a verbal commitment to the University of Hawaii. "It was just back and forth, their defense against our offense, our offense against their defense. We just played hard.
"We went down a little bit, 14-7, but I just told my offense, 'Boys, I can't do it alone. I need my offense, my O-line, all my receivers, to help me get through this.' We all came together and we won the game."
The Bears (2-0 MIL second round, 5-1 overall) clinched the league's Division I title.
MIL SECOND-ROUND STANDINGS
x-clinched overall championship * y-won first-round championship
|Maui High (2-4)||0||2||.000||31||70|
|King Kekaulike (1-5)||1||1||.500||19||49|
|KS Maui (2-5)||1||2||.333||31||68|
Overall MIL record in parentheses
King Kekaulike 19, Kamehameha Maui 7
Baldwin 20, Lahainaluna 17, OT
Friday, Oct. 19
Baldwin vs. Kamehameha Maui at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20
Maui High vs. King Kekaulike at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Lahainaluna (2-1, 6-1) needs one win, or a loss by King Kekaulike, to clinch the D-II state berth.
Ewaliko finished with 142 rushing yards on 20 carries and was 4-for-11 passing for 50 yards - he did not complete a pass until midway through the fourth quarter.
The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth. Ewaliko's 50-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of regulation was blocked by Tytus Lucas.
Lahainaluna's Kiko Kohler-Fonohema scored on a twisting 24-yard run for a 14-7 lead with 7 minutes, 46 seconds to play.
The Lunas then got the ball back, but the Bears' Abraham Reinhardt recovered a fumble at the Lahainaluna 41 with 3:54 left. Baldwin cashed in when Ewaliko found Zacharia Coloma-Mariano for a 9-yard pass in the corner of the end zone with 2:16 remaining.
Kohler-Fonohema nailed a 27-yard field goal on fourth-and-goal on the first possession of overtime.
"That's a great football team right there, they are going to do great at states, trust me," Bears coach A.J. Roloos said of the Lunas. "We just got each other better - they got us better, we got them better - and I wish them the best of luck at the state tournament."
The teams went to the locker rooms tied 7-7 after a back-and-forth first half.
The Bears scored the first touchdown the Lunas have surrendered in seven MIL games when Dusty Flores found the end zone on a 3-yard run with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
The score capped a seven-play, 54-yard drive that was kept alive by Ewaliko's hard-fought 11-yard run on a fake punt on fourth-and-10. That was the initial first down of the game, after two possessions for each team.
The Lunas responded with an 80-yard, 14-play drive that tied the score when Kohler-Fonohema found Semisi Filikitonga on a 12-yard scoring pass over the middle with 9:41 left in the half.
Both defenses were stellar in the hard-hitting game. Baldwin finished with 242 yards and Lahainaluna had 269.
A wild two-play stretch midway through the second quarter epitomized the matchup. After the Lunas' touchdown, the Bears were forced to punt after one first down and Ewaliko - punting in a game for the first time in his career - rolled out on a rugby-style kick.
Lovai Hong blocked the kick and Lahainaluna took over on the Baldwin 24. Reinhardt intercepted Kohler-Fonohema's pass at the goal line on the first play of the possession and returned it to the Baldwin 23.
Filikitonga finished with 59 yards on 16 carries, Jared Rocha-Isalas had 63 yards on 15 carries and Kohler-Fonohema had 50 yards on 14 carries. Kohler-Fonohema was also 4-for-7 passing for 57 yards.
"Tonight was just a hell of a game," said Lunas co-head coach Garret Tihada. "This is what MIL football is all about. We just made a little bit too much mistakes. They are big and strong and that's what we expected."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Baldwin ............ 7 ..... 0 ..... 0 ..... 7 ..... 6-20
Lahainaluna ..... 0 ..... 7 ..... 0 ..... 7 ..... 3-17
B-Dusty Flores 3 run (Zacharia Coloma-Mariano kick), 3:57.
LL-Semisi Filikitonga 12 pass from Kiko Kohler-Fonohema (Kohler-Fonohema kick), 9:41.
LL-Kiko Kohler-Fonohema 24 run (Kohler-Fonohema kick), 7:46.
B-Coloma-Mariano 9 pass from Keelan Ewaliko (Coloma-Mariano kick), 2:16.
LL-Kohler-Fonohema 27 FG.
B-Ewaliko 7 run.
Junior varsity-Lahainaluna 13, Baldwin 7.
* * *
Kamehameha Maui ..... 7 ..... 0 ..... 0 ......... 0-7
King Kekaulike ............ 0 ..... 6 ..... 0 ..... 13-19
KM-Chase Newton 34 run (Kamahao Romero kick), 7:06.
KK-Onosai Emelio 3 run (kick failed), 2:17.
KK-Emelio 3 pass from Ryley Widell (pass failed), 8:00.
KK-Aaron Alama 9 run (Widell kick), 1:46.
..... KSM ..... KK
First downs ................ 15 ............ 16
Rushes-yards ..... 32-230 ..... 41-160
Passing yards .......... 129 .......... 144
Total offense ............ 359 .......... 301
Return yards .............. 44 ......... 123
Comp-Att-Int ........ 8-16-1 ..... 9-14-0
Fumbles-lost ............. 4-1 .......... 2-1
Penalties-yards ...... 7-50 ........ 5-48
Punts-avg ........... 4-24.3 ..... 2-37.0
RUSHING-KSM, Makoa Medeiros 6-85, Newton 15-79, Stephen Barut 8-74, Devonte Llanes 2-5, team 1-(minus 13); KK, Alama 10-92, Emelio 10-52, Romeo Cabbat 5-20, Widell 10-10, Keallan Dowells 5-2, team 1-(minus 16).
PASSING-KSM, Newton 8-16-1-129; KK, Widell 9-14-0-144.
RECEIVING-KSM, Llanes 5-86, Pono Freitas 1-17, Colton Cabanas 1-16, Barut 1-10; KK, Cabbat 3-77, Masson Lacno 3-61, Emelio 1-3, Alama 1-3, Dowells 1-0.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-none.