WAILUKU - The Lahainaluna High School football team has stated its case.
The Lunas rang up their sixth shutout in eight Maui Interscholastic League games on Friday night at War Memorial Stadium, 31-0 over Maui High.
Lahainaluna (8-1 overall, 7-1 MIL, 3-1 second round) clinched at least a share of the overall league title and can win it outright for the first time since 2004 if King Kekaulike beats Baldwin in the final game of the regular season tonight. The Bears and Lunas shared the title in 2009.
Sione Filikitonga of Lahainaluna High School tries to elude Maui High’s Andre Pierman during the Lunas’ 31-0 win over the Sabers on Friday at War Memorial Stadium.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The Lunas outscored the MIL 262-23 this season and with 66 yards allowed to the Sabers, became the first MIL defense in recent memory to average less than 100 yards per game surrendered - the precise average was 98.5 yards per game.
"They did a good job preparing throughout the week and it showed again," Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada said of his defense. "It says we did our homework and studied the film, prepared well and came out and executed."
On the offensive side, the Lunas also passed a significant mark. For the game, they had 359 yards to raise their season total to 2,405 - an average of 300.7 per game.
MIL SECOND-ROUND STANDINGS
Overall MIL record in parentheses * x-clinched overall division championship
|Maui High (3-5)||1||3||.259||45||111|
|King Kekaulike (1-6)||1||2||.333||29||63|
|KS Maui (2-6)||1||3||.250||51||110|
Lahainaluna 31, Maui High 0
Baldwin vs. King Kekaulike at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
End of regular season
Friday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 10
HHSAA tournament Division I and Division II first-round games, times and sites TBA
Now, it is up to the state seeding committee to decide when the Lunas will begin the Division II state tournament. The quarterfinals are Nov. 9-10, while the semifinals are Nov. 16-17.
Lahainaluna seems assured to host its first game at War Memorial Stadium - whether as the No. 3 seed in two weeks or the No. 2 seed in the semis.
Five-time defending D-II state champion Iolani appears to be a lock for the No. 1 seed in the division. The top two seeds get byes to the semifinals.
"We are always hoping to get that (two seed)," Tihada said. "Hopefully, that works out that way for us, but if it doesn't then, oh well. We have got to deal with that, but we are hoping to get the bye."
Konawaena appears to be the other candidate for the No. 2 seed. The Wildcats beat Hawaii Preparatory Academy 56-49 on Friday night.
The only common opponent for the Lunas and Wildcats is Maui High. Konawaena beat the Sabers 38-17 in a nonleague game Aug. 18 on the Big Island and the Lunas beat Maui High twice by a combined score of 72-0. Kona's win over Maui High was one of three later forfeited for the use of an ineligible player.
"Konawaena also had a pretty impressive season," Tihada said. "I'm just hoping that they look at common opponents, the one common opponent that we have is Maui High. If they look at that it will be in our favor. If not, then who knows what will happen."
Sophomore quarterback Sione Filikitonga, called up from the junior varsity two weeks ago, stepped in for injured starter Kiko Kohler-Fonohema (ankle) and backup Jeffrey Ancog (concussion). Tihada said he expects both of the top two signal-callers back for the Lunas' first state tournament game, but Filikitonga was 7-for-9 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
"He did a hell of a job for just being up with us for a couple weeks," Tihada said.
Tytus Lucas intercepted three passes, giving him an MIL-leading six on the season. He had 126 yards on five return, including punts, on Friday, and finished the game with 252 all-purpose yards.
The Lunas had five interceptions in the game altogether, and limited the Sabers to one yard or less on 20 of 35 rushing plays.
"They are going to be tough, they are going to represent the MIL well and we wish them the best of luck," Maui High coach David Bui said.
The Lunas took a 28-0 lead into the halftime break with a remarkably balanced offensive attack. They had 152 rushing yards, led by 68 on four carries by Lucas, and 148 passing.
Semisi Filikitonga, Sione's older brother, put the Lunas on top 80 seconds into the game on a 12-yard run that capped a four-play, 80-yard drive. A 5-yard penalty on Maui High started the possession, Lucas burst up the right side for 36 yards, Semisi Filikitonga went 12 yards and Jared Rocha-Isalas gained 15 yards to set up the first touchdown.
Two possessions later, the Lunas took over on their own 45-yard line after a 33-yard punt return by Lucas. Rocha-Isalas capped that drive, which lasted just 2:29, with a 30-yard touchdown run to make the score 14-0 with 29 seconds left in the first quarter.
Sione Filikitonga connected with a wide open Scott-Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa for a 47-yard touchdown pass with 7:22 left in the first half after Lucas' first interception.
After the Lunas' defense pushed the Sabers back 17 yards on a three-and-out, Lahainaluna took over on the Maui High 28.
After a sack, Sione Filikitonga hit Lucas for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 4:36 to go in the half.
The only scoring in the second half was a 36-yard field goal by Christian Cardenas-Ayala.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Lahainaluna ..... 14 ..... 14 ..... 3 ..... 0-31
Maui High .......... 0 ....... 0 ..... 0 ....... 0-0
LL-Semisi Filikitonga 12 run (Christian Cardenas-Ayala kick), 10:40.
LL-Jared Rocha-Isalas 30 run (Cardenas-Ayala kick), 0:29.
LL-Scott-Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa 47 pass from Sione Filikitonga (Cardenas-Ayala kick), 7:14.
LL-Lucas 35 pass from Sione Filikitonga (Cardenas-Ayala kick), 4:36.
LL-Cardenas-Ayala 36 FG, 4:11.
* * *
Junior varsity-Maui High 18, Lahainaluna 14.