PUKALANI - It has been a decade since the Maui High School football team ended a season with a winning record.
One day before the school officially opened the celebration of its centennial, the Sabers took a big step toward ending that drought by beating Kamehameha Maui 27-14 on Saturday night at Kanaiaupuni Stadium on the Warriors' homecoming night.
Maui High is 2-1 in the Maui Interscholastic League - tied with Baldwin atop Division I, although the Bears have the tiebreaker - and 4-1 overall with five games left in the regular season.
Maui High School’s Onosai Emelio scores the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter of the Sabers’ 27-14 win over Kamehameha Maui on Saturday in a Maui Interscholastic League game at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
ANDRE PIERMAN, with a Sabers interception return
Maui High’s Chazzaniel Sau breaks free for a 24-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
The Sabers have not had a winning record since they finished 7-3, all in the MIL, in 2003.
"It was a nice win, we still have a lot of things to polish up," Maui High coach David Bui said. "There were some moments where we were sloppy and we still have some penalties that we have to clean up."
When the Warriors (1-3) scored one play after a turnover to pull within seven points late in the third quarter, the Sabers responded on the ensuing possession, going 65 yards in nine plays to boost the lead back to 13. Onosai Emelio dove in from the 1-yard line to make the score 27-14 with 9 minutes, 22 seconds to play.
x-clinched first-round championship
Lahainaluna 28, Baldwin 7
Maui High 27, Kamehameha Maui 14
Friday, Sept. 20
Maui High vs. Lahainaluna at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 21
Baldwin at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.
Junior quarterback Justin Cravalho, playing for injured starter Tyson Takabayashi, was 3-for-3 passing on the drive for 52 yards. All of Cravalho's completions went for first downs on the series and he was 8-for-10 for 103 yards on the night.
"Justin has filled in very well for Tyson," Bui said. "Everybody is just working, we are all just working towards the end and that is just to get better every day."
Cravalho said his coach's message to the team on Thursday when he found out he would be the starter helped him keep calm before his first varsity start.
"I was nervous at first, but then we came to practice on Thursday and coach Bui told the whole team that, 'I know Justin's got the potential to run this team, so give him your support and he is going to do it, you guys do what you have got to do,' " Cravalho said.
Jared Kapisi intercepted a Chase Newton pass to give Maui High the ball with just over eight minutes to play, and Kamehameha's last two possessions ended on downs.
The Sabers took the opening possession of the game 53 yards in 12 plays and went in front 7-0 on a 1-yard plunge by Emelio with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
The big play on the drive was a 23-yard pass from Cravalho to tight end Tristan Nichols that gave Maui High a first down on the Kamehameha 31.
The Sabers doubled their lead on a nifty 48-yard interception return by Andre Pierman with 11:17 left in the half.
The Warriors responded with a 74-yard, 12-play drive, scoring on a 30-yard pass from Newton to Keoni Keanini with 6:30 left in the half.
The Sabers boosted the lead back to two touchdowns when Chazzaniel Sau took a handoff on a counter play up the middle from 24 yards out with 2:16 left to finish a 65-yard, nine-play drive.
Late in the third quarter, Kamehameha recovered a fumble at the Maui High 34 and scored on the next play on a pass over the middle from Newton to Joshua Hiwatashi.
Maui High had 220 yards on the ground for the game. Daniel Kelley had 83 yards on 13 carries, while Emelio added 75 yards on 19 carries. Nichols had three catches for 58 yards, all in the first half. The Sabers committed 16 penalties for 116 yards.
Newton had 117 yards passing and 85 rushing for Kamehameha Maui, which completed its first round of league play. Hiwatashi caught five passes for 103 yards.
"They took advantage of all the mistakes we made," Warriors coach Cody Nakamura said. "They are too good of a team for us to make those kind of mistakes and they proved it. I think we are on an upward trend, but we go up and down, up and down - it is an upward trend. We have to capitalize on our opportunities."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Maui High ..... 7 ..... 14 ..... 0 ..... 6-27
KS Maui ....... 0 ....... 7 ..... 7 ..... 0-14
MH-Onosai Emelio 1 run (Jared Kapisi kick), 4:45.
MH-Andre Pierman 48 interception return (Kapisi kick), 11:17.
KSM-Keoni Keanini 30 pass from Chase Newton (Kailoa Akoi kick), 6:30.
MH-Chazzaniel Sau 24 run (Kapisi kick), 2:16.
KSM-Joshua Hiwatashi 34 pass from Newton (Akoi kick), 2:07.
MH-Emelio 1 run (run failed), 9:22.
* * *
Junior varsity-Maui High 35, Kamehameha Maui 6.
* * *
LAHAINALUNA 28, BALDWIN 7
Baldwin ............ 0 ..... 0 ..... 0 ....... 7- 7
Lahainaluna ..... 7 ..... 7 ..... 0 ..... 14-28
LL-Christian Whitehead 2 run (Jared Rocha-Islas kick), 6:11.
LL-Rocha-Islas 1 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 11:36.
B-Dusty Flores 1 run (Benjamin Wuthrich kick), 11:44.
LL-Makoa Filikitonga 43 run (Rocha-Islas kick), 10:36.
LL-Jeffery Ancog 65 run (Rocha-Islas kick) 1:18.
Junior varsity-Lahainaluna 9, Baldwin 7.
.................................. B ............. LL
First downs .............. 12 ............ 20
Rushes-yards ..... 25-83 ..... 65-473
Passing yards ........ 157 .............. 7
Total offense .......... 240 .......... 490
Return yards ........... 57 ............. 75
Comp-Att-Int ... 13-37-2 ......... 1-4-0
Fumbles-lost .......... 4-4 ............ 5-5
Penalties-yards .... 7-45 ........ 12-70
Punts-avg ......... 5-35.4 ........ 1-24.0
RUSHING-B, Flores 16-61, Keenan Luis 4-15, Jeremiah Badillo 4-4, Josiah Maglente-Tonu 1-3; LL, Rocha-Islas 12-156, Filikitonga 21-150, Whitehead 16-50, Kiko Kohler-Fonohema 8-42, Ansen Cabanilla 4-29, Ancog 1-65, Nathaniel Hapakuka-Nunuha 1-5, team 2-(minus 14).
PASSING-B, Maglente-Tonu 7-30-2-90, Badillo 5-6-0-53, Noah Apolo 1-1-0-14; LL, Filikitonmga 1-4-0-7.
RECEIVING-B, Chris Kazanecki 6-80, Kawela Kaeo-Mata 3-21, Badillo 1-28, Patrick Turner 1-12, Atreil Tanaka 1-10, Drake Carvalho 1-6; LL, Whitehead 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-none.