GAME NIGHT 8/12: Aiea/Nanakuli

Nanakuli's Nainoa Banks put a big hit on a Waipahu player in the season opener last week. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Nanakuli’s Nainoa Banks put a big hit on a Waipahu player in the season opener last week. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Week 2 of the Hawaii high school football season begins Friday with five games on Oahu and two others involving Oahu teams taking place on Maui.

Nanakuli tries to pick up its first win of the season after losing to Waipahu last weekend while Aiea makes its season debut. Na Alii has won 10 straight meetings against Nanakuli. The Golden Hawks’ last win over Aiea was in 1981 when Levi Esene rushed for 49 yards.

Live updates of the approximately 6 p.m. kickoff will follow below:



8:48 p.m.
Final: Aiea 27, Nanakuli 14.
Kato finishes the game and tells us afterward that he missed practice time due to a baseball trip last week. Maae-Liupaono was solid in his place and coach Wendell Say tells us they competition is open. Same with the receiver spots with two starters out this game (academic probation). Aiea’s young slotback were a major factor tonight, running routes like veterans.

Nanakuli is going in the right direction despite losing a ton of talent the past two years. Smaller school, yes, but coach Keala Watson’s switch to the spread option is the right move for multiple reasons. They ran it well at times, and they’ll get better at it with reps. Thy never actually ran the option pitch, but when that becomes part of the offense, very interesting. It’s the perfect contrary weapon in today’s game.

(Correction: Nanakuli/Banks executed the option pitch, but didn’t do it past the line of scrimmage.)

8:10 p.m.
Trick play, WR Nick Souza-Meyers pass to QB Banks brings the home crowd to life. Next play is a sack and fumble return for an Aiea TD, but the play is ruled an incomplete pass. Huge break for Nanakuli. Banks almost sacked, gets the pass out for a 15-yard gain. He runs midline for 10 more yards. Offense clicking and Aiea’s defense may be tiring.

Fourth and 3 at the 10. Injury time out, Aiea player down. 4:19 remaining.

Banks pass picked off, but Aiea flagged. First down for Nanakuli at the 5. They smash down to the 1, inches away on fourth down. Illegal procedure. Then Banks lobs to Souza-Meyers in the left corner. He makes the catch but is ruled out of bounds. Wow. Aiea ball, 1:40 left.

8:04 p.m.
Huge drive for Aiea, Kato to Matsunami for a 5-yard TD pass at the pylon. PAT kick misses. AIEA 27, NAN 14, Q4, 7:49.

7:58 p.m.
Third quarter ends with Aiea leading 21-14. Na Alii slowed the pace last series. Calculated risk. Now they’re happy to hand the ball to Panuelo and huddle.

7:37 p.m.
Banks on play action gets picked off over the middle. Perfect defense by Na Alii.

Less than 6 minutes left in the third quarter, Kobe Kato enters at QB. First pass on target for a big gain, dropped.
Three and out.

Field position again in the Hawks’ favor. The punt is downed at the Aiea 46. Hawks mixing it it up. Play action on first down, banks just misses an open receiver.

Big first-down run on a counter trey run. Nice pass to the tight end. The offense looks fluid. Banks with a run up the middle, not sure if that’s really a QB draw, gets the first down. Injury on the play to OL Petelo Ioane Jr.

Banks surges behind his line for a 4-yard TD. PAT, basically the same play and the Hawks concert. They dominated the line of scrimmage there. AIEA 21, NAN 14, Q3, :37.

7:32 p.m.
Third and 5, Aiea sends almost everyone in motion. The tackles and center stay home. Looks like an A-11 formation. Shades of Jeff Azuma’s Flamingo play.
Nanakuli won’t bite. Time out, Aiea.

Aiea sets up in their funky formation again, snap dropped by the QB and he recovers. Too cute. Aiea punts and Nanakuli muffs it, recovered by the returner near midfield. Nice opportunity for the Hawks.

7:29 p.m.
Third and 5, Banks tries a midline keeper and Aiea corrals him. Defense very disciplined against a potentially dangerous offense. Hawks punt.

7:25 p.m.
Second play from scrimmage after receiving the second-half kickoff, Maae-Liupaono finds Nakamoto on a post route for a 45-yard TD. AIEA 21, NAN 6, Q3, 11:27.

7:08 p.m.
Aiea came very close to opening a two-TD lead by the half. Nanakuli hanging in there on sheer determination and defense. Na Alii lead 14-6.

6:54 p.m.
Aiea driving in the final minutes of the half. Maae-Liupaono with nice command of his short and intermediate passes. He finds Matsunami for a 5-yard TD pass, but it is caled back by a hold. Ball at the 25. Matsunami wide open on a post route as the Hawks get mixed up, but the ball hangs up there and safety Chayce Morgan hustles to break up the pass.

Next play, Morgan sacks Maae-Liupaono. Time out, Aiea, :01.9 left in the half.

Pass down the middle is picked off by Jayrius Alapai, ending the half. No. Penalty on Nanakuli. Aiea has the ball at the Hawks’ 20, untimed down. Maae-Liupaono rolls right and tucks it in, brought down at the 6-yard line by six defenders. Probably should’ve just heaved up a Hail Mary.

6:46 p.m.
Hawks gamble on fourth and 2, a run on a fake punt for a first down at their 46. Nice run on a misdirection play, Aiea bit hard and it’s a 20-yard gain to around the Aiea 25, But the next play is an interception by Aiea’s Demeiko Hill.

6:36 p.m.
Again, Na Alii drive downfield almost exclusively through the air. After Nanakuli stuffs a run up the gut, Maae-Liupaono finds SB Ty Matsunami for a 1-yard TD pass. Penalty against Aiea on the PAT, but they convert on the re-kick. AIEA 14, NAN 6, Q2, 8:29.

6:23 p.m.
The first quarter ends with Aiea in possession of the ball near midfield following a Nanakuli punt. Aiea’s no-huddle attack was in control the first series.

Zelius Maae-Liupaono starts at QB and is sharp. He throws just one incompletion, including a long catch and run by SB Sam Okamoto for about 35 yards to the 2. Aiea RB Ryan Panuelo scores on a 2-yard run. PAT kick is good. AIEA 7, NAN 6, 2:38, Q1.

6:14 p.m. RB Charleston Mahoe blasts up the middle for a 3-yard TD. PAT kick is low, no good. NAN 6, AIEA 0, 6:17, Q1.

6:06 p.m. The home team receives the opening kickoff and the Golden Hawks operate out of the spread formation, throwback UH spread option style. Slotback more like wings on either side and a fullback behind QB Nainoa Bamks.

They have 29 suited up today. Clearly, the aerial circus of recent years is on hold. They concert a couple of third-and-shorts. Grinding out this drive. Two 15-yard penalties on Aiea including a face mask. Banks keeps up the middle for 15 yards to the 10.

5:02 p.m.
Sunny and hot in Nanakuli Valley less than an hour before varsity kickoff. No JV game. Jason Kaneshiro is here, too. He’ll be writing the game story and I’ll be live blogging and shooting video.


  1. Braden Amorozo August 12, 2016 3:13 pm

    That’s not Kobie Russell in the pic. Kobie was on a trip. That play was Nainoa hitting a receiver after he made a catch for a lot of yardage. Nainoa was playing safety on that play.

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