Lahainaluna looks potent in win over Pearl City

Lahainaluna's Joshua Tihada followed his blockers as the defending Division II state champion Lunas opened the 2017 season with a 20-7 win over Pearl City. Darryl Oumi / Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Oahu football fans got a glimpse of reigning Division II state football champion Lahainaluna on Saturday night in Pearl City.

It was a sloppy start for the visiting Lunas, but they finally got down to business to score a 20-7 victory over the host Chargers.

The first half was evenly played with Lahainaluna outgaining Pearl City 78-52 but finding itself down by a point, 7-6, at the halftime break.

In the final tally, the Lunas outgained the Chargers 212-145 and dominated the final two periods.

“We finally buckled down and executed in the first half,” Lahainaluna co-head coach Garret Tihada said.

In that first half, starting quarterback Etuati Storer threw two interceptions.

But in the second half, the Lunas’ option offense kicked in. Going outside and inside and fooling the Chargers, who appeared to be tiring, the visitors scored 14 unanswered points.

Pearl City is expected to contend for Oahu Interscholastic Association D-II honors, so it appears Lahainaluna is off and running in its attempt to defend the D-II state crown.

Next week will be a huge test for the Lunas. On Saturday, they host No. 7 Kamehameha, a 34-15 winner over No. 8 Farrington on Friday night.

“It was good to travel,” Tihada said. “We got to see who the athletes are out there. It’s been a really good trip over here. I thought we had a good day today, doing what we needed to get done.”

The Chargers, who got a 1-yard touchdown run from starting quarterback Isaiah Asinsin, 47 yards rushing from Kasey Kikuyama, and 34 yards of scrimmage offense from Kobe Jackson, will open their OIA D-II slate next Saturday against Kalani at Kaiser Stadium.

Asinsin, a converted wide receiver, looked mobile but had an uneven 8-for-25 performance with three interceptions.

“He’s going to be our full-time quarterback,” Pearl City coach Robin Kami said. “He’s going through a transition to quarterback, which is a much different position. Tonight was a lesson learned and he knows he will need to get better for the regular season.

“I felt like we competed with Lahainaluna and didn’t get blown out. The effort, execution and fundamentals, I thought we did a great job with and hopefully we can get better for the next game.”

Added Kikuyama: “We’ll definitely be ready (for Kalani and the rest of the season). Everybody will get their heads back straight. Everybody knows we gotta start the season better off than this. They’re (the Lunas) a great team, no doubt. I feel that with the team we have this year and the way we’ve been practicing in the offseason, we could have shown that we’re capable of hanging with these guys.”


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