(Here’s the rest of the game story that didn’t fit into Sunday’s Star-Advertiser.)
The first half was an exercise in penalties. Kaiser (90 yards) and Lahainaluna (76) combined for more penalty yardage than total yardage. Other than that, it was mostly a defensive stalemate in the trenches.
Kaiser’s front seven stonewalled the Lunas on third- and fourth-and-1 plays near midfield in the first quarter, but the Cougars’ passing game struggled in winds up to 25 mph.
The Lunas broke the ice on Jared Rocha-Islas’ 49-yard jaunt up the middle for a 7-0 lead with 6:56 left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Fisiiahi picked up a squib kick, lateraled to Buntenbah-Leong and the speedster scored on a 78-yard return to tie the game.
The Cougars then hampered themselves on two productive drives. They drove to the Lahainaluna 21-yard line, mostly on scrambles by Lii Karratti before he throw an errant pass that was picked off near the sideline by Filikitonga, one of nearly a dozen Lunas who played ironman roles.
Lahainaluna drove to the Kaiser 1, where the Cougars’ defense stood firm again. They stopped the Lunas on three running plays, and Rocha-Islas’ 25-yard field-goal try was low and into the line of scrimmage.
Four plays later, Lunas linebacker Connor Mowat corralled Kaiser punter Fisiiahi in the end zone for a safety, and Lahainaluna led 9-7 with 6:59 left in the second quarter.
The Cougars came up with a big play moments later when Keenan Arroyo forced a fumble by Rocha-Islas on a inside run and Ocean Ku-au recovered at the Lunas’ 25-yard line.
But on the next play, Fisiiahi fumbled and the Lunas recovered to end another Kaiser threat.