By Paul Honda
Greg Lum and Reid Saito are usually out of the limelight when the ‘Iolani Raiders win football games.
Yesterday, they couldn’t avoid it. Lum deflected a pass that led to a touchdown return by Saito, and later returned a fumble for another touchdown as No. 6-ranked ‘Iolani walloped eighth-ranked Punahou 35-12 before a near-capacity crowd at Eddie Hamada Field.
‘Iolani, two-time defending state champion in Division II, improved to 4-0 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (6-1 overall). Two wins are over D-I powerhouses, and with D-II competition the rest of the way — plus a showdown with D-I Saint Louis — the Raiders are inching closer to an outright ILH championship. That would be a first for a D-II program in the rugged ILH.
“It’s been a long time coming,” ‘Iolani coach Wendell Look said, unaware that the Raiders last beat arch rival Punahou to close the 2001 season. “Any time you can beat Punahou, it’s a big win.”
Punahou (2-4 overall) dropped to 2-2 in league play, just one week after an upset of then-No. 1 Saint Louis. Six turnovers put the Buffanblu’s momentum on the skids. The Raiders had only one giveaway.
“Basically, they just outplayed us,” Punahou coach Kale Ane said. “I was very impressed with their game plan. They executed very well.”
Punahou’s swarming defense offered a three-man front, but couldn’t get consistent pressure on ‘Iolani quarterback Jarrett Arakawa, who was sacked just once. Arakawa finished 19-for-34 with three touchdowns for 189 yards.
‘Iolani’s front-line talent — defensive tackles Seali‘i Epenesa and Kaena Moose, linebacker Cody Petro-Sakuma, Arakawa — did their part. Arakawa directed the no-huddle, run-and-shoot offense flawlessly — no turnovers before halftime — and passed for 152 yards and three scores before the break as the Raiders took a 21-7 lead.
“It was a full team effort,” the senior said. “Our defense really stepped up.”
Epenesa and Moose clogged up the trenches and helped the Raiders limit Punahou to 57 rushing yards on 22 attempts.
The Raiders forced Punahou into six turnovers, including four interceptions. Three of those picks came from Saito, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior. His 57-yard interception return to the end zone, off a tip by Lum in the flat, snuffed out a Punahou comeback attempt and gave ‘Iolani a 28-12 lead with 3:33 left in the third quarter.
“Their quarterbacks throw really low. Our coaches, all week, told us to get our hands up,” said Lum, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Punahou drove to the ‘Iolani 19, but quarterback Liloa Travis mishandled a low snap in the shotgun, and a wild scrum ensued as the ball bounced backward and out of Travis’ reach. Lum scooped up the football at the 32-yard line and began his long trek, eluding the reach of Punahou lineman Jacob Ioane.
“Seali‘i popped it out and I was running,” Lum said. “It was far away.”
‘Iolani led 35-12 with 7:28 remaining. Punahou got no deeper than the ‘Iolani 30 the rest of the way.
“Our defense made big plays when we needed them,” Look said.
Illegal substitution calls (12 men on the field) hindered Punahou sporadically throughout the contest. A 71-yard punt by Trevyn Tulonghari, 39 yards after a line-drive bounce past Punahou’s returners, gave the Raiders an edge in field position early.
Arakawa connected with running back Ammon Baldomero on an 18-yard touchdown pass on a sideline route to give ‘Iolani a 7-0 lead with 5:26 to go in the first quarter.
Punahou responded quickly, driving 80 yards in two plays to tie the game. Kaiana Eldredge hit Matthew Parrish for a 39-yard pass play before Stabren Caires scored on a 39-yard jaunt with 4:48 left in the first. With the game tied at 7, a shootout seemed very possible for the rest of the afternoon.
The Raiders drove just 45 yards for their next score. Kevin Barayuga pulled in Arakawa’s high bullet just beyond the goal line for an 11-yard touchdown, and the Raiders led 14-7 with 9:39 to go in the second quarter.
A third-down sack by Matt Padaca derailed Punahou’s ensuing drive and led to another Raiders touchdown. Arakawa found Barayuga in the left corner for a 21-yard scoring toss off a play-action fake to Kasey Takahashi. ‘Iolani led 21-7 with 5:41 left in the half.
A fumble recovery by Jonathan Sani Fuimaono on a fumble by Baldomero snuffed out ‘Iolani’s opening series of the second half, but Punahou’s offense stalled. Buffanblu special teams came through with Roy Fuchigami’s tackle of ‘Iolani punt returner Sean Nada in the end zone, after he had fielded the ball at the 6-yard line, for a safety.
After a 26-yard field goal by Kaimi Fairbairn, Punahou was within 21-12 midway through the third quarter.
Punahou had the ball again when Eldredge’s pass was tipped by Lum and Saito came up with his touchdown return.
Kahuku vs. Kaimuki postponed
The Bulldogs traveled up to Kahuku only to find their game postponed until today at noon due to a problem with the lights at Kahuku’s field.
Aiea 25, Radford 13
Na Alii jumped out of the gates early and toppled the Rams with a heavy passing attack in an OIA White match-up.
Freddy Taliulu threw for 278 yards on 14-for-25 passing and three touchdowns.
Keokoa Thompson was on the receiving end for two of those scores and ended up with 153 yards on five receptions. Radford attempted a late comeback but an interception returned for a touchdown by Davyne Bantolina swung things in Aiea’s favor and cemented their victory.
Kailua 42, Roosevelt 10
Corey Lau and Clinton Aina each scored two touchdowns as the Surfriders blitzed the Rough Riders in an OIA Red East game.
Kailua raced out to a big early lead, sacking the Roosevelt punter in the end zone. Lau then split two defenders and caught a 30-yard pass from Kailua quarterback Chevy Mikaele, and Aina took a stretch play nearly the length of the field for a score.
Aina combined for 270 yards on the ground with fellow Surfrider back Isaac Sato. Aina scored his second touchdown on a toss sweep 32 seconds before halftime. Mikaele hooked up with Lau again on a 42-yard play-action pass play on third and 34.
Kapolei 13, Campbell 7
Noah Pascua guided Kapolei over Campbell on homecoming night by connecting on two first-half touchdowns.
Pascua hit Seth Roman with an 18-yard TD strike in the second quarter and punched through a 1-yard keeper after the Hurricanes recovered an onside kick.
Kapolei clinched an OIA playoff berth with the win.
Kaiser 33, Anuenue 26
Josh Gonda accounted for three touchdowns as the Cougars outscored Na Koa in an OIA White game.
After Anuenue took the early lead behind Chase Keli‘ikoa Aki’s 18-yard scoring run, Kaiser’s Teli Latu responded with 39-yard scoring pass to Josh Lopez.
Coming out of halftime, Gonda returned the kickoff up the middle and burst down the sideline for a 78-yard touchdown run. He added a 10-yard scoring run on a sweep and capped the scoring for the Cougars with a 6-yard run up the middle.
Aki added a 5-yard touchdown run for Anuenue to close the scoring and led Na Koa with 123 yards rushing on 17 carries.
No. 9 Leilehua 47, No. 7 Waianae 28
Andrew Manley’s huge game put the Mules back in the hunt for an OIA Red West title.
Manley completed 19 of 32 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns as the Mules handed the Seariders their first league loss.
CJ Bailey hauled in an 89-yard touchdown catch and had 139 total yards of offense for Leilehua, which moved into a tie with Waianae. Both trail league-leading Mililani.
Puletua Wilson finished 13-for-27 for 216 yards and three touchdowns, but the Seariders had three turnovers that Leilehua turned into 10 points.
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