Leilehua 34, Baldwin 7, FINAL
Leilehua will play at Hilo next Saturday in the quarterfinal round of the D-I bracket. Baldwin closes the season 5-5.
Vereen caps a fantastic night with a 7-yard TD run. That’s 174 yards on 28 carries, tough yards between the tackles most of the time. And he never seemed to tire.
Gabriel Akaki with a major sack for Leilehua. Then Julyan Mebane picked off a sideline pass and returned it 85 yards for a back-breaking touchdown. Leilehua led 27-7 with 8:12 to go. LEILEHUA 27, BALDWIN 7, Q4, 8:12.
The Mules keep mixing it up offensively, not content to just run the ball with Vereen. Fourth down, punt team is on the field, Mules call time out, 11:21. Back on the field, the punter, Vasquez, tries another fake punt and he’s brought down at the Baldwin 33 by Sniffen and Laga. That would’ve been Leilehua’s first actual punt, and now the Bears are in great scoring position. They have not scored in their last five possessions.
Baldwin got a big 17-yard scramble from Asuega-Stark, but the ninth series ended with another punt. The third quarter closes with Leilehua at its 35-yard line.
After stopping Baldwin’s offense, the Mules got the ball at the Baldwin 48, but three plays later, an option pass by Ramos was easily intercepted by Jedidiah Nerpio. His long return was called back by penalty.
Leilehua drove 55 yards in just five plays, handing the ball to Vereen for gains of 7, 7, 16 and 15 yards. Turangan then fired a 10-yard TD pass to Ramos. Leilehua changed kickers for the PAT, and Breceda’s try bounced off the left upright. LEILEHUA 20, BALDWIN 7, Q3, 8:01.
Baldwin got the ball to begin the second half, but went three-and-out again. A fake punt followed with Souza gaining 11 yards for a first down. Fourth and 2 at the Leilehua 45, and Vitale Afoa nearly sacked Asuega-Stark, who threw and incomplete pass.
Fourth down at the Baldwin 17, Turangan’s high pass to Ramos in the end zone is caught, but DB Kamai pushes him out before he can land for a TD. Another big stop by the Bears. Baldwin takes a knee to end the half.
Mules’ two-minute offense is sharp, Baldwin calls time out with 1:04 left int the half. Leilehua ball at the Baldwin 9. The Bears step up. Turangan misses a wide-open Ramos just beyond the goal line, ball behind him. Another incompletion, then a big sack by Baldwin’s Nephi Laga, one of the Bears’ ironmen linemen. Mules call time out with :09 left, fourth down at the 17. Then Baldwin calls time out.
Bears with some momentum on a late hit by the Mules, but after Asuega-Stark picks up 11 yards on a keeper, he is whistled for conduct. Minus-15 yards. Fifteen-yard punt out of bounds by Baldwin, Leilehua ball at its 49 with :56 left in the first half.
Leilehua’s defense tightens up the pass coverage and Baldwin goes three-and-out. Punt gives the Mules the ball at their 41. They drive into Baldwin territory, but penalties are negating momentum. Four flags on this drive alone, ball at the Baldwin 43 when the Bears call time out. Next snap, Akagi rifles a pass to Jayzon Ramos, who bobbles the ball and pulls it in for a 23-yard gain to the 10. Fourth down at the Baldwin 8, Jonathan Breceda is wide right on a 25-yard FG try. A big stop for Baldwin with 3:33 left in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, it’s Akagi again. He splits through coverage on the kickoff return for a 91-yard TD. WOHH. LEILEHUA 14, BALDWIN 7, @2, 10:46.
Freshman Ariez Sylve‐Matautia catches a Turangan pass and gains nine yards, but fumbles and Baldwin’s Jonathan Bacos recovers at the Bears’ 37. Next play, QB Laakea Asuega-Stark launches a bomb to Kapena Kamai, who shreds a tackle and never loses stride for a 63-yard TD. WOW. BALDWIN 7, LEILEHUA 7 Q2, 10:58.
Baldwin’s third possession ends with a punt, though they got their first first down. The punt is muffed by Leilehua, but the Mules recover at their 42. The first quarter ends with the Mules at the Baldwin 49, third-and-1.
Three-and-out for the Bears offense, and the Mules begin at their 49 despite a penalty on the return. They drive to the Baldwin 12, and on fourth-and-7, Sniffen deflects a quick pass by Turangan. Almost picked off for a pick-six. There were two other passes the were nearly intercepted during the drive, but Jamell Vereen is off to a good start with 36 yards on seven carries.
The Mules drive to the Baldwin 25, but Kekoa Turangan’s pass is tipped, and intercepted by Josiah Sniffen. Huge play by the Bears defense.
Baldwin’s first series ends on a fumble by RB Isaiah Souza. Ball recovered by Vitale Afoa at the Leilehua 40 with 9:29 left in the first quarter.
On the first snap from scrimmage, the visitors get on the scoreboard. Kalei Akagi takes the reverse to the left side and scores on a 72-yard touchdown. Very sneaky. Akagi’s PAT is good. LEILEHUA 7, BALDWIN 0, Q1, 11:40.
Baldwin wins the coin toss and elects to defer. Leilehua will receive from the mauka end zone. Baldwin will kick with the wind off the shoreline behind their back.
Temperatures have dropped on a steaming hot afternoon in Wailuku. We are nearly 30 minutes away from the coin toss, but kickoff will likely be at 5:37 p.m.
Chance of rain: 10%
Wind: 0-9 mph
Heat index: 84
This is the best grass field I have seen this season. It is manicured, as in haircut precise from goal post to goal post. Maui News sportswriter attributes the field condition to less usage. All of the MIL’s varsity teams on the island play games at home, unlike years past when virtually all games were played here at War Memorial Stadium.