The Kamehameha Warriors have scored more points than they have given up in league play and are ranked fifth in the state.
Yet, eight days into the month of October, Kamehameha was eliminated from postseason play with a 1-4 ILH record.
How is that even possible?
That’s the reality of playing in a four-team league that boasts there of the five best teams in the state according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10 rankings.
Kamehameha was eliminated by Punahou on Thursday night after suffering yet another heartbreaking defeat. The Warriors led 23-7 late in the second quarter and had a four-point lead after three quarters, but couldn’t generate any offense in the second half to eventually lose, 26-23.
In Kamehameha’s last three losses, the Warriors led by double digits in the first half and at least nine points at halftime of all three. In the first meeting against Punahou, Kamehameha led 17-7 at the end of the third quarter before giving up three unanswered touchdowns.
The killer? Kamehameha was outscored 72-14 in the second half of its last three losses.
Warriors senior Kumoku Noa became the first receiver in the state to over 1,000 yards receiving this season, hauling in seven grabs for 141 yards. But only one of those catches for 10 yards came in the second half.
Kamehameha’s defense held Punahou running back Wayne Taulapapa, averaging more than 7 yards a carry coming in, to 78 yards on 18 carries and no touchdowns. The Warriors sacked Punahou quarterback Ephraim Tuliloa three times, but found a different way to lose a second-half lead against Punahou.
In the first meeting, it was a defense that gave up three fourth-quarter touchdowns. This time, it was an offense that was shut out over the final 25:11.
Nothing is going to get easier for Kamehameha. With Punahou showing no signs of slowing down and Saint Louis looking every bit as good in Cal Lee‘s second year back, the Warriors have to find a way to break through against those two schools.
Kamehameha hasn’t beaten Saint Louis since 2013 (four straight losses) and Punahou since 2012 (five straight loses).
But ss the season showed, the Warriors aren’t far behind. The last three losses were all winnable games and Kamehameha returns some key pieces on offense next year, including two good quarterbacks in Justice Young and Thomas Yam.
There will always be loads of talent on the Kapalama campus. The question now is, how do the Warriors finish off some of these close games the right way?