If we’re being charitable, there was a grand total of 29 completed passes in Saturday night’s ILH battle between No. 3 Punahou and No. 5 Kamehameha.
But if we’re being truthful, seven of those 29 were brought down by guys with a different postgame load of laundry than the player who tossed the football.
Seven interceptions — six in the first half — set the stage for an unpredictable battle between the old rivals. In the end it was the Buffanblu who made the most of their three picks of the Warriors’ two backup quarterbacks in a 21-0 shutout on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
Kamehameha picked off the Buffanblu’s imposing 6-foot-3 signal-caller Stephen Barber four times in defeat, including two by senior Kalamaku Kuewa.
Punahou senior Tanner Ono collected two in the victory, including one he took back 30 yards to the house in the second quarter for the game’s first score. Ono got one each from the Warriors’ Brandon Baniaga and Kiai Keone, who both saw extensive action with starter Thomas Yam’s arm in a sling from an aggravated elbow injury.
The Buffanblu didn’t know much about either player coming in. Keone is a freshman JV call-up.
“We all had to work on our eyes,” Ono said of the Punahou defensive backs. “Not focusing on the quarterback so much, (but) the receivers.”
Here were the pick plays, chronologically:
1Q — Kamehameha QB Brandon Baniaga INTERCEPTED by Punahou DB Kaulana Makaula on deep ball 50 yards downfield
2Q — Kamehameha QB Brandon Baniaga INTERCEPTED by Punahou DB Tanner Ono, jumps route on hitch pattern for 30-yd pick-6
2Q — Punahou QB Stephen Barber INTERCEPTED by Kamehameha DB Joshua Mahelona on deep ball 42 yards downfield
2Q — Kamehameha QB Kiai Keone INTERCEPTED by Punahou DB Tanner Ono on deep ball 30 yards downfield
2Q — Punahou QB Stephen Barber INTERCEPTED by Kamehameha DB Akalea Kupono, returns ball to Punahou’s 27.
2Q — Punahou QB Stephen Barber INTERCEPTED by Kamehameha DB Kalamaku Kuewa on heave to end zone at end of half.
3Q — Punahou QB Stephen Barber INTERCEPTED by Kamehameha DB Kalamaku Kuewa to prevent TD throw to Andrei Iosivas, downed at the 1
There were no TD passes in the game, although Barber broke free for an impressive 55-yard, Marshawn Lynch-esque Beastmode scoring jaunt — rife with broken tackles — to put the game away with 3:12 to play.
“With the stiff arms I definitely was picturing myself like (Lynch),” Barber said with a laugh. “That was great blocking by the O-line and good execution by the offense.
“I’m definitely confident with the run. I like to pass first, but if it all breaks down I’m definitely comfortable just taking off.”
Punahou also got a boost from 5-foot-7 sophomore running back Vincent Terrell, who found a left-side hole created by the Punahou line in the third quarter to speed 48 yards untouched to the score.
“I think it was designed that way, but whatever our line did, it worked, so I’m happy,” Terrell said.
Terrell (eight carries, 58 yards) was filling in for starter Sitiveni Kaufusi, who got knocked out of the game midway. It was Terrell’s most consistent action at running back thus far, and he earned praise from coach Kale Ane afterward.
It was the 10th straight win for Punahou in its storied series with Kamehameha. It was the Buffanblu’s first shutout win over anybody since a 68-0 victory over of Pac-Five in 2014, and the first blanking of the Warriors since a 24-0 effort in 2013.
Punahou (4-0, 1-0 ILH) and Kamehameha (3-2, 0-2) meet again at the Stadium on Sept. 22. But first, the Buffanblu have a date with top-ranked Saint Louis (3-0, 1-0) next week.