Buffanblu prove their worth in California

Punahou quarterback Stephen Barber beat California teams in consecutive weekends with a 23-7 win over Torrey Pines followed by a six-touchdown performance in a 56-42 win over Junipero Serra. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

It wasn’t meant as an excuse by either Punahou coach Kale Ane or senior receiver Andrei Iosivas.

Neither believed it was a coincidence that in their first back-to-back game of the season, the fourth-ranked Buffanblu put forth their best outing of the season in a 56-42 win over Junipero Serra on Saturday at Manchester Stadium in San Diego.

Punahou (3-0), which began the season with a lackluster win over Moanalua and then held off Torrey Pines 23-7 three weeks later, came out much more inspired in the Honor Bowl against one of the better teams in Southern California.

Senior quarterback Stephen Barber accounted for six touchdowns — including a 99-yard run in the game’s final seconds after sophomore defensive back Alaka’i Gilman intercepted a pass at the Punahou 1-yard line to preserve the win.

“Yeah, I think it’s a little bit easier,” Punahou coach Kale Ane said after the game about playing consecutive weeks. “We’ve been rusty.”

Iosivas, who had six receptions for 189 yards and three touchdowns, said it was tough playing their season opener and then waiting three weeks to get back on the field.

“The three-week span where we didn’t play got a little bit boring,” Iosivas admitted. “We always come out to play hard and win but it’s tough sometimes when you’re not playing another team. When the schedule got up and going again it has been really good for us.”

The Cavaliers entered the game ranked No. 55 by the MaxPreps computers and Punahou was No. 152.

Despite losing close to 10 players at various points in the game, the Buffanblu were the stronger team late. Punahou intercepted two passes by Serra quarterback Blaze McKibbin, who finished 38-for-66 for 399 yards and five touchdowns.

Kaulana Makaula returned the first interception in the fourth quarter 58 yards for a touchdown and Gilman’s pick sealed the win for Punahou, which has now beaten two California teams in the same season for the first time.

“It was great. The kids showed a lot of pride,” Ane said. “To play a quality team like (Serra) on the road and have such adversity that really knocks you down, knocks you down again and you keep getting up and you don’t know if you’re going to make it — to make it in the end is one of the most special moments you can have as a coach.”

Punahou’s defense somehow survived despite being on the field for 109 of the 158 total plays run in the game.

Serra accounted for 566 total yards while Punahou finished with 510.

Barber was 12-for-23 for 326 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 110 yards and two scores.

Time and time again, Punahou caught Serra out of position on defense and chewed them up with big plays.

“We prepared a lot for this game,” said Iosivas, who caught touchdown passes of 79, 34 and 29 yards. “We watched a lot of film and noticed they got confused when offenses switched a lot and so the seam on top was always open. They would always be one-on-one with either me or Tamatoa (Falatea).”

Falatea answered Serra’s opening touchdown with a 63-yard TD reception and had 93 yards on his two catches.

Running back Sitiveni Kaufusi sat out until late in the third quarter and was key down the stretch. He powered his way to 69 yards on nine carries with a 19-yard touchdown run that gave Punahou a 49-42 lead with 1:19 remaining.

“He had some cramps earlier, so we kind of tried to work it out and hopefully get him into the game in the fourth quarter,” Ane said about Kaufusi. “He was patient and when his time came, he took it and ran great.”

Punahou returns home this weekend and will open the ILH season next Saturday against Kamehameha at Aloha Stadium.


  1. rrforlifebaby September 2, 2017 9:34 pm

    Was a really good game. Really good win. Congrats to the Puns.

  2. ItsAllFootballNothingPersonal September 2, 2017 10:07 pm

    That’s good you guys(Punahou) had some good California teams to warm you up for the ILH. Saint Louis isn’t California football, but they can donut ILH teams and they’re not playing around this year! According to Cal he said,”They are their own biggest apponents,” which means your next in line for the Crusaders War Path!

  3. 88 September 2, 2017 11:15 pm

    The Defense needs some work. 42 points is not a good thing.

  4. Hau'ulaBoy September 3, 2017 1:48 am

    Good job Sons of Oahu. Way to rep da 808. But the D gotta do better if they want to compete for the ILH crown. St. Louis got a way better Defense then Serra. So step it up. RR4L._.

  5. TooMeke September 3, 2017 5:45 am

    Nice job. Way to represent.

    If I base my rankings on quality of team AND just this year’s wins vs quality of competition, it would be:

    1- Punahou
    2- St Louis
    3- Kahuku

    We will know more about Big Red this Saturday.


  6. TooMeke September 3, 2017 5:46 am

    Hyn – we still on?

  7. Hyn September 3, 2017 8:41 am

    Toomeke- yesssir! St. Louis defense will not let them throw bombs all day. That’s all they got on offense.

  8. stacey September 3, 2017 9:35 am

    Hey 88 tha cali team probably woulg have put up 42+ on 99.99% of the island teams

  9. Mahatma Gandhi September 3, 2017 10:33 am

    Something about Catholic school, they feel they gotta recruit football talent, ruing the competitive balance of leagues. St Louis in Honolulu, Moeller in Ohio, St Thomas Aquinas in Miami, De La Salle, Mater Dei in Los Angeles, Junipero Serra….

  10. anywaaaays!! September 3, 2017 11:03 am

    Mahatma, It’s all a part of the private school/ILH agenda. They just recruit and recruit to impoverish other communities in order to get the prestige for their “schools” to continue to run. All those schools are just football factories. That’s it. Wake up, people. The ILH agenda reaches up to the highest level, including Chris Chun of the HHSAA. They are trying to destroy our communities and turn our kids against us.

    I am not impressed by this Punahou win because like I said last year, ILH should just recruit harder to make a mainland traveling super team. Punahou is already well on its way by raiding Laie kids from their own homes. It would have been more of a shock if they lost

  11. Education First September 3, 2017 1:34 pm

    I was going to fly up for the game but $ was tight and my boss wouldn’t let me off from work. Watched it over the internet. I’ll go down to the airport and welcome them home however. Anyone know where I can pick up inexpensive leis?

  12. Kirby Michael Wright September 3, 2017 1:35 pm

    I believe this trip to San Diego will gel the PUNS enough to at least be competitive with the Crusaders.

    D needs big time work, but leaders such as Gilman should help. On Offense, the multi-talented Barber could surprise Saint Louis with his ability to scramble and be innovative on broken plays. A field goal or even a blocked extra point could decide the Punahou-Saint Louis clash.

  13. Education First September 3, 2017 1:37 pm

    @anywaaaays – stop whining baby. Just because Kahuku has the most overrated HS QB in the country doesn’t give you an excuse to whine non-stop. My mom thinks you’re a mess LOL!!

  14. ToppDogg September 3, 2017 2:11 pm

    Punahou, Kamehameha and Mililani did their job in beating tough mainland competition, this is awesome for Hawaii football. Kahuku does not do well on the mainland and will be the only let down for Hawaii come next Saturday, this is especially disheartening because they are in the top 25 and leave a bigger negative mark in the national scene. I could be wrong and I hope they do win but St. Louis and Punahou are way better representatives for Hawaii football.

  15. anywaaaays!! September 3, 2017 2:19 pm

    wow my stunt double up there ^ is doing a pretty good job in continuing the message of ILH recruiting….the more the merrier! lol

    too bad for the punahou grad “edufirst” aka “anywaaaays stunt double”, your team can recruit as much as they want but nothing will prepare you for the king of recriuting…cal lee. STL will demolish Puns next week.

    Lets just hope my almamater Kahuku get their act together before playoffs or else STL will keep the title.

  16. 88 September 3, 2017 4:08 pm

    ToppDawg, Serra and Clayton Valley are not even on the same level as Bingham. Kahuku could of scheduled a cupcake team from the mainland to play but how does that benefit our team? You want to be a good Rep for the State than schedule and play the BEST available and not some average schools you already know you can beat.

  17. ItsAllFootballNothingPersonal September 4, 2017 7:13 am

    Kahuku isn’t ready for higher altitude and dry weather. Football wise they should be matched up with Bingham HS who is just as good of a recruiting school as Kahuku. Kahuku is not only a run threat but their passing game is not to be slept on when Maiava gets rolling. RR WR needs to make the crucial catches because Miners secondary isn’t going to match up with RR physicality. Miners DL and LB yes they physical but luckily for Kahuku they are well equipped for that. A passing attack to open the run, would be game changing for Kahuku. Kahuku Defense get ready for the battle of your life! 808 stands behind you because this is a game the Nation will be watching to see who’s the dominating Poly Team, period!

  18. Hau'ulaBoy September 4, 2017 10:32 am

    Itsallaboutfootballnothingpersonal: What nation? Goodstory. Sounds like a fake fan. Best Poly team? You must be kidding? This game will be a good measuring stick and humbling experince. Hope we can see where the D really stands. Because the youth in the secondary looks like they need to grow up quick. By the end of the season this game will help, even if it is a loss. Or we could just go up their and smash. Lets go Big Red. Do your best and good luck. RR4L._.

  19. anywaaaays!! September 4, 2017 3:46 pm

    This Kahuku team is not a smash team, you cant take your dlinemen throw him at FB and call it smash. We dont have two true FBs like how we did last year with lombard and kefu.

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