The new Open Division was supposed to bring teams like the Punahou Buffanblu back to the pack in the standings, but it didn’t quite work out that way.
The Buffanblu finished 7-3 with two of their losses coming to ILH rival Saint Louis and the numbers suggest that the program was worlds better than the previous year despite what was supposed to be a tougher schedule.
Punahou averaged 35.4 points per game in 2018, a jump of eight points over the previous year and the biggest jump since 2013-14.
The defense was better as well, limiting opponents to 20.5 points a game, its lowest since a 14.8 mark in 2014. That’s not bad considering they gave up 80 of their 200 points in two games to the Crusaders.
Head coach Kale Ane ran his streak of non-losing seasons to 17 in a row, sitting in ILH history behind only Cal Lee‘s current 24 straight and Cal Chai‘s 19 in a row. Among ILH coaches with at least 100 victories, Ane trails only Lee (.860) and Chai (.750) with his .690 winning percentage. He is eight wins away from tying Don Botelho for fifth on the ILH’s all-time list.
2018 TOP PERFORMANCES
Hugh Brady was much improved from his performance as a backup to Stephen Barber last year, throwing for 2,309 yards and 26 touchdowns to nine interceptions. He almost doubled Barber’s 1,213 yards and upped his completion percentage from 38 percent to 56 percent while getting a full yard more on each attempt. Kobe Muasau got some run as the backup, throwing for 773 yards and seven touchdowns to only three picks. Brady threw at least two touchdowns in every game before being knocked out without an attempt in the ILH championship game against Saint Louis. His best game came against OIA king Mililani, traveling to John Kauinana Stadium and throwing for 378 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. It was the second of three 300-yard games for Brady, one short of the four that Nick Kapule put up two years ago. He didn’t make it onto the school’s single-game top 10 for yardage, but only legends Larry Tuileta and Cayman Shutter put up more yards for the Buffanblu against an OIA foe. Brady’s two 300-yard games (He also had one in the season opener against Kahuku) matched Tuileta and Shutter for most against a public school.
Vincent Terrell and Sitiveni Kaufusi had the same number of carries (70) and the same number of touchdowns (3) this season, but Terrell edged his teammate by more than a hundred yards with 379, although he was nowhere near Wayne Taulapapa‘s 1,142 in Punahou’s last 1,000 yard season in 2015. Terrell had the program’s lone 100-yard rushing game this season with 103 on 17 carries against Farrington, the second time in three years Punahou only put one rusher above the mark. Terrell’s next-best game was only 83 yards, leaving the Buffanblu with only two efforts all season above 75 yards. Terrell led the way in six of the first seven games but didn’t get a carry in the title game while Muasau led the way with eight after getting only nine carries in the previous nine games combined.
Polynesian Bowl invitee Tamatoa Falatea upheld the tradition of elite receivers produced by Punahou, catching 74 passes for 1,057 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the team in receiving for the second straight season. He put together the program’s first 1,000-yard season since all-time great Kanawai Noa in 2014. Falatea was far from alone, with Koa Eldredge scoring 10 touchdowns and Moku Dancil-Evans adding five. Brady and Terrell were not options in the final game against Saint Louis, but Faletea nearly made up for their absence by himself. Falatea exploded for 13 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns against the state’s best defense after going 3-80-1 against them the first time. His best game didn’t come in the losses, of course, it came against Mililani when he caught nine balls for 196 yards and two touchdowns, his third game with more than one score. That effort put Falatea ninth on the school’s single-game list, behind only Noa, Donny Utu, Miah Ostrowski, Robby Toma and Nainoa Kuna. It was the best receiving performance for the school since Noa went nuts for 242 yards against Saint Louis in 2014.
Punahou’s defense pitched two shutouts this season, doing it back-to-back against Waianae and Kamehameha for their first successive blankings since zeroing in on Kamehameha and Damien in 2013. The Buffanblu completely dismantled the struggling Seariders, holding them to 18 yards on 18 rushing attempts before halftime, and did not allow Waianae to complete any of its eight pass attempts. The defense outscored Waianae 12-0 by itself, earning touchdowns on a fumble return and interception by Alaka’i Gilman all in a span of 18 seconds. It was the largest margin of victory in a shutout against an OIA school in program history, and first shutout of a public school since blanking Roosevelt in 2011.
>> Kale Ane is 144-65 in 20 seasons and 10th all-time in career wins for a coach.
>> QB Hugh Brady finished second in the Open Division in passing yards.
>> RB Vincent Terrell finished third in the Open Division in rushing yards.
>> WR Tamatoa Falatea finished second, WR Koa Eldredge finished third and SB Moku Dancil-Evans finished ninth in the Open Division in receiving yards.
KEY UNDERCLASSMEN IN 2018
>> SB/RB Moku Dancil-Evans (5-8, 150), S Alaka’i Gilman (5-11, 185), QB Hugh Brady (6-3, 200), RB Vincent Terrell (5-7, 160), QB Kobe Muasau (6-0, 170), WR Koa Eldredge (6-0, 180), LB Dillon Lundberg (5-11, 190), OL Solatoa Moea’i (6-5, 310).
FINAL TEAM STATS