Buffanblu-print to stop Tua: Defense, ball control

2016 September 29 SPT - HSA Photo by Jamm Aquino. Punahou linebacker Alexander Skelton (45) works to bring down Saint Louis slotback Tosh Kekahuna-Kalawe (4) during the second half of an ILH football game between the Punahou Buffanblu and the Saint Louis Crusaders on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at Aloha Stadium in Halawa.  Punahou won 33-20.
2016 September 29 SPT – HSA Photo by Jamm Aquino.
Punahou linebacker Alexander Skelton (45) works to bring down Saint Louis slotback Tosh Kekahuna-Kalawe (4) during the second half of an ILH football game between the Punahou Buffanblu and the Saint Louis Crusaders on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at Aloha Stadium in Halawa. Punahou won 33-20.

The first time, Punahou’s defensive unit sauntered through the mauka tunnel of Aloha Stadium, chins down after a 64-44 loss to unbeaten Saint Louis.

That was three weeks ago — an eternity in the world of Interscholastic League of Honolulu athletics. The nature of the gauntlet is simple: Get better or fall behind. It’s an evolutionary food chain that is never more true than it is on the gridiron. Punahou’s convincing 33-20 victory over Saint Louis on Thursday night didn’t just push the Buffanblu into a first-place tie with Saint Louis. The Buffanblu asserted their will on the nation’s most dangerous quarterback.

Tua Tagovailoa accounted for nine touchdowns and 551 total yards in the first meeting. On Thursday, he was hounded from the left, the right and the middle. On the occasional snap when Punahou sent Marist Liufau — who appeared to be spying on Tagovailoa early on — into coverage, the normally prolific senior slinger found nobody open.


It was astounding, actually, to see Tagovailoa freeze in the pocket as the secondary provided stellar coverage all game long. Tagovailoa, who was sacked four times, finished 12-for-26 with 118 passing yards, no TD passes and a season-high two interceptions. More importantly, he was unable to find space along the sidelines for big scramble runs. Unlike the initial battle, when he ran for 104 yards and three TDs, he tallied just 1 yard on nine carries Thursday.

That’s the nature of the merciless ILH, where the best teams often become better after a bitter loss, as coach Kale Ane‘s Buffanblu have done. Defense was the foundation this time as Punahou shut out Saint Louis in the first half en route to a 23-0 lead. At that point, Tagovailoa was 4-for-12 for 29 yards and had already been picked off twice. He was limited to minus-9 rushing yards.

Miki Suguturaga had two of Punahou’s sacks, including one of Tagovailoa in the end zone that led to a safety. Another sack led to a fumble recovery by linebacker Ryan Dominick. Hale Motu‘apuaka and Alexander Skelton reinforced the relentless pass rush all night as the Saint Louis offensive line struggled mightily.

“It was a lot of little things we had to do. We’ll keep working hard to see how things go next time,” Suguturaga said. “My (position) coach, Colin Pang, told us, ‘Drop your hips and make sure you don’t get juked out by Tua.’ A lot of our boys worked hard. Everybody made sure they did their thing, they did their job.”

It wasn’t just the pressure, but the way Tagovailoa froze in the pocket due to Punahou’s balanced defense.

“We did have a lot of blitzes put in for their empty package. We changed alignments, a lot of little small things,” said Suguturaga, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive lineman.

Dominick is one of the keys in the middle of traffic, a linebacker who helps steer his defense in the right direction.

“I think the credit has to go to our defensive coordinator, Coach Agenhart (Ellis), for drawing up some good blitz schemes that worked for us and got us in the backfield,” he said. “I think that in practice, ever since our last game (against Punahou), we’ve been working on breaking down, not losing contain on the outside. All those kinds of skills we’ve been taught by our coaches came together tonight. We did our main goal, just do our assignment, and we had a good outcome.”

Punahou’s defensive schemes were trouble enough, but the unit got help from the offense. Nick Kapule (29-for-46, 308 yards, two TDs, no interceptions) and the offense was in no-huddle, no-rush mode. Unlike previous games, the Buffanblu didn’t hurry with the ball.


“We knew we wanted to keep Tua on the sideline,” Dominick said. “He’s the best quarterback in the country.”

Punahou held the ball for nearly 18 out of 24 minutes in the first half.

PUN
12:00 to 8:12 = 3:48 TD
7:04 to 4:13 = 3:51 TD
3:56 to 3:19 = :37 Punt
1:00 to 10:10 (Q2) = 2:50 TD
8:50 to 3:33 = 5:17 FGA
2:31 to 1:09 = 1:22 Punt
:04 to :00 = :04 Halftime
halftime T.O.P. 17 min, 49 sec

STL
8:12 to 7:04 = 1:08 Punt
4:13 to 3:56 = :16 Safety
3:19 to 1:00 = 2:19 INT
10:10 (Q2) to 8:50 = 1:20 Punt
3:33 to 2:31 = 1:02 Punt
1:09 to :04 = 1:05 INT
halftime T.O.P. 6 min 11 sec

Time of possession has often been an overemphasized statistic, particularly when one team has superior talent. When teams are this even, it can make a defense’s effort even stronger. There’s no overrating the value of rest time on the sideline.

“It was huge, Tua’s the best quarterback in the nation. We have to keep him off the field. We don’t have to take long shots all the time like we used to,” Kapule said. “We just knew we had to keep Tua off the field because we knew how dangerous he is. I just kind of slowed things down, didn’t rush anything, any throws, any formations. We just did our job.”

Beyond all the numbers and the defensive lockdown, the Buffanblu have momentum. They have unity.

“They motivated me, especially Alex and Miki,” Kapule said. “They told me they got my back, that they love me. I really appreciate that every time they tell me that. That made my day and it makes us play for each other.”


Skelton, a 6-2, 240-pound senior linebacker, emerged as a big part of the constant defensive pressure. He was as low key as any of the Buffanblu. He’s already looking ahead.

“It’s the same thing,” he said. “Work hard and whoever wants it more.”

COMMENTS

  1. TooMeke September 30, 2016 3:32 am

    Go back and look at my posts. Been saying it for weeks:

    St LuLu’s O-line sucks.

    Last game Puns rushed 3 and dropped back 8 all game. Can’t do that vs country’s best running QB.

    Last night rushed 4, sometimes 5. Same thing Kahuku did last year. Game over.

    No amount of game planning can make up for lack of talent on their O-line.

    By contrast look at Puns O-line. All underclassmen but talented and well-coached. They controlled line of scrimmage all night.

    Guess we will play St LuLu first in States. And our D is way better than Puns D.

    HA!!!


  2. LohuiLani September 30, 2016 6:53 am

    Why did Punahou wait this long to follow the blueprint that Tata laid down against St. Louis? Pride maybe..that a public school like Kahuku has superior coaching? Clock management and great defense DUH!

    Cmon Cal you know you gotta implement a wildcat jumbo to compensate for your lack of pass protection, Tata showed you what to do already. Its not rocket science just follow what Coach Tata has been doing with Kahuku. These ILH coaches are to caught up with the fact that they have superior Blue chippers that they can just go 100 miles per hour to victory. It takes someone like Tata to show them how to cater a game plan to the players strengths. #TatatheBestcoachinhawaii #schoolingtheOGs #winningisEverything #losersSayWinningisNoteverything

    Now not only will the ILH send two teams to beat Kahuku but they will do it with Kahuku athletes on their team and with Kahukus own gameplans. BITERS!!


  3. Manley September 30, 2016 8:33 am

    If Cal don’t bring it home this year, well you know the revolving door at Kalaipohaku.


  4. Education First September 30, 2016 8:36 am

    @ TooMeke, you are not allowed to talk crap on this blog.

    You have been exposed as:

    1) A liar (we all know you have no advanced degrees)

    2) A poor son (you told the world that you do your mother’s work and she is not professional)

    3) A coward (you call people out. But when I gave you my name, the address I would be at, and the time I would you did not show. I even gave you the time and place I will be at lunch today. I hope to meet you)

    4) A person who is uninventive (your use of crickets is just tired and worn out)

    5) A person who commits plagarism (you use the term “crickets” and never site your source, e.g. anywaaays)

    It’s fun playing with you. I love how you lie. I love how you’re a coward. I love how you talk crap but we all know you won’t ever back it up.

    SO ONCE AGAIN, I will be sitting in a restaurant waiting on you. I hope that you show up this time. I am even picking up the bill. You can eat and drink as much as you like. Hell, I will probably let you order take out for your entire family for the next few days if you like.


  5. Homegrown September 30, 2016 8:48 am

    Punahou got some monsters! Loaded with size and skill on both sides of the ball.

    Don’t really care for Kale’s son as the OC. Good staff around already talented kids with a great work ethic required at Punahou fuels their success…The OC not so much lol


  6. Education First September 30, 2016 9:10 am

    Homegrown September 30, 2016 at 8:48 am
    Punahou got some monsters! Loaded with size and skill on both sides of the ball.

    Don’t really care for Kale’s son as the OC. Good staff around already talented kids with a great work ethic required at Punahou fuels their success…The OC not so much lol

    @Homegrown, why don’t you care for Kale’s son? I heard he is a good guy. The kids like him. And the offense does well. They scored 44 the last time vs. STL and lost. The offense is averaging 49 points a season.

    In the only game they lost, the offense put up 44 points and lost by 20, hardly the error of the offense or the OC.

    Do you have any specific reasons? The numbers show he is doing a great job. 49 points a game is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when the 2nd and 3rd teamers are often playing in the second half.


  7. Homegrown September 30, 2016 9:26 am

    @educationfirst

    No doubt he’s a decent coach. But there’s a ton of coaches here in Hawaii that could put up those numbers as the OC at Punahou.

    Might’ve worded my original post poorly but still stand by my opinion that Punahou’s success offensively has more to do with player personnel/talent and good position coaches, than the OC being some kind of offensive scheming genius.


  8. Homegrown September 30, 2016 9:36 am

    Anyway my apologies to all for taking the comments away from what actually matters, the performance of the young men on the field.

    Two solid squads that’ll make it tough on Kahuku’s chance at repeating. Not sure how many more times these two will have to face off before the season ends. Big Red just needs to take care of business in the OIA post season and hopefully come into the state tournament healthy.

    And props to any coach that sacrifices time away from their families to coach up these young men…including the Punahou OC


  9. Education First September 30, 2016 10:12 am

    Homegrown September 30, 2016 at 9:26 am
    @educationfirst

    No doubt he’s a decent coach. But there’s a ton of coaches here in Hawaii that could put up those numbers as the OC at Punahou.

    Might’ve worded my original post poorly but still stand by my opinion that Punahou’s success offensively has more to do with player personnel/talent and good position coaches, than the OC being some kind of offensive scheming genius.

    You might have a fair point. But they are still averaging 49. And one thing that Teetai is able to handle at Punahou is the parents. Many people don’t understand that you are under a microscope at Punahou. Parents are very involved and because they pay $22,000 and often give large donations they voice is heard.

    It isn’t only about coaching the X’s and O’s there. When you factor in the job, the coaching, the pressure, the parents, the expectations, etc., I am not sure others can handle it.

    Now if we are just talking about the coaching aspect then I am sure your opinion has merit. If you add in all the other variables, I am not sure. Punahou is a different animal, much different than STL or Kahuku.


  10. Dumbledore September 30, 2016 10:30 am

    Education First and TooMeke get a rooooom already! If you cannot handle den jam already!


  11. Hufflepuff September 30, 2016 10:37 am

    @educationfirst… get off punahous sacks. You only like them cause your son goes there! #recruiters #stillcannotbeatkahuku #0-3againstkahukuinstates hahaha


  12. Education First September 30, 2016 10:53 am

    Dumbledore September 30, 2016 at 10:30 am
    Education First and TooMeke get a rooooom already! If you cannot handle den jam already!

    I would! But TooMeke won’t show up. I wonder why? The boy calls out people. Then when he’s asked to verify the things he says, he is nowhere to be found.

    And thank you to “DUMBLEDORE” the new and improved cyberpolice!


  13. Hufflepuff September 30, 2016 11:02 am

    @educationfirst…you only like them because your son goes there! Punahou a beast…was that a joke? #0-3againstkahukuinstates


  14. BuffnBluFan September 30, 2016 11:06 am

    All these comments are dumb. Education First needs to stop hating on Kahuku just because his son probably came to Punahou because he wouldn’t be able to get on the field at Kahuku. TooMeke is just an instigator along with Dumbledore. Great game Puns. Can’t wait to see the playoffs.


  15. Husky77 September 30, 2016 11:37 am

    Finally, Punahou has figured out how to play against a dynamic quarterback like Tua. Too bad they didn’t do it against Milton in the State Championship game in 2014 when they gave up 54 points in the first three quarters with supposedly the best defense going into the game.


  16. Education First September 30, 2016 12:03 pm

    Hufflepuff September 30, 2016 at 11:02 am
    @educationfirst…you only like them because your son goes there! Punahou a beast…was that a joke? #0-3againstkahukuinstates

    I like them since they stress academics over athletics.

    #0-3againstkahukuinstates #butwinnersinlife #canreadandwrite


  17. Education First September 30, 2016 12:10 pm

    BuffnBluFan September 30, 2016 at 11:06 am
    All these comments are dumb. Education First needs to stop hating on Kahuku just because his son probably came to Punahou because he wouldn’t be able to get on the field at Kahuku. TooMeke is just an instigator along with Dumbledore. Great game Puns. Can’t wait to see the playoffs.

    You have the right to your opinion. However, my comments are rarely dumb. I often support them with figures, facts, and data. I have provided links to charts, statistics, measurable outcomes, among other data.

    I don’t just come on here and spit such elementary comments such as, “All these comments are dumb. Education First needs to stop hating on Kahuku just because his son probably came to Punahou because he wouldn’t be able to get on the field at Kahuku.”

    If you have been reading what I have written (assuming you can comprehend), you will notice that I am an advocate for education and could care less about sports unless it is used as an extension of the classroom.

    First of all I would never send my child to Kahuku since that school is poor academically. I would not send my kid to a school where the perception is sports is more important that academics.

    Do you have any evidence to support your claim? Or do you just come onto blogging communities and spit nonsense with no evidence to support your opinion?

    I can see we have another poster who doesn’t understand THE WRITING PROCESS.


  18. Dumbledore September 30, 2016 1:18 pm

    @Education First
    Punahou this punahou that. I guess they are winners in life. Kahuku High School must be soooo dumb. Haha
    Everyone that goes there doesn’t know how to read and write. I graduated from there and I know how to read and write. I wonder why?
    What a fool you are


  19. 87 September 30, 2016 2:11 pm

    Cant wait to cheer my red raiders in the playoff, we in it 4Life, 100% behind community our community and our awesome coaches. RR4L


  20. 808 RR4L September 30, 2016 2:22 pm

    EH. WE TALKING FOOTBALL NOT SCHOOLBALL. I NO CARE IF YOU CAN OR CANNOT READ AND WRITE. YOU GUYS ACT LIKE SCHOOL IS THE ONLY WAY FOR BE SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE. YOU KNOW WHAT IS SUCCESS? 8 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS. THE REST IS NOTHING. LIKE DUMBLEDORE SAID, IF YOU CAN READ AND WRITE THEN THAT’S IT. PAU. YOU ONLY WHINING CUZ YOU SUCK AT FOOTBALL.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA

    RR4L! HATE US CUZ YOU AINT US BRUH! FOOTBALL NOT SCHOOLBALL! ENEIMES OF THE STATE!


  21. i love 88 September 30, 2016 10:21 pm

    Dumbledore September 30, 2016 at 1:18 pm
    @Education First
    Punahou this punahou that. I guess they are winners in life. Kahuku High School must be soooo dumb. Haha
    Everyone that goes there doesn’t know how to read and write. I graduated from there and I know how to read and write. I wonder why?
    What a fool you are

    NOT REALLY STRENGTHENING YOUR POINT WITH THIS POST, HAHA.


  22. i love 88 September 30, 2016 10:28 pm

    CUZ NO ACT! LYFE IS WEA ITZ AT! WE TALKIN LIFEBALL NOT FUTBAL. U GUYZ ALL GOTTA ACK AND TALK FUTBALL CUZ NO MO ANYTHIN ELSE 4 TALK ABOUT GUD OVA DERE! BRAH WAT IS SUCESS IZ MAKIN DAT CHED NOT 1 DUMB KINE KOA TROPHY WAT DAT TRPHY WORTH? MAYBE ONE BOWL SAIMIN OR OWN USED PAIR JOCK. U LIKE ACT CUZ PAU AFTA U GUYZ TRY GRAD. U NO MOA JOB. WE WIN CUZ GET THA SCRILLAZ. LIKE AL, EF, AND 88 SAY WE DA TRENDSETTAS. U DA ENEMY OF DA STATE. HELL WE EVERY1’S ENEMY DAS HOW HARD WE ROLL! YOU WHINE, I WIN!

    DONT HATE ME CUZ U JUST AINT ME!

    #CASH$$BILLIONAIRES & IM OUTCHA


  23. GOT BRAIN October 1, 2016 5:21 pm

    Hello!..
    If you only cheer for your son or nephew to be good in football then you better dig a hole & burry your head in it…
    Punahou is not a Football School. All they worry about is education & be successful academically.
    By the way, Tata learn how to play football from an ILH Team not North Shore..
    Good luck to all the Kehiki of Hawaii.


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