After starting the season with three straight losses to Top 10 teams, Leilehua didn’t exactly get a break for its fourth game.
It’s not easy going into Nanakuli Valley to face the Golden Hawks and the Mules found themselves in a close ballgame Friday night, leading by just seven points at the half.
Nine players caught at least one pass for Leilehua (1-3, 1-2 OIA Red), which put together a 27-point third quarter on the way to a 48-13 victory.
And the Mules appear to be very well equipped at quarterback. Kaleo Aloha Piceno is elusive and, like many Leilehua QBs before him, is quick and accurate with the short ball. He got the start over Kona Andres, who has recovered from a concussion, and threw four touchdown passes. Andres, who appears to have the stronger arm, came in to throw two TD passes in the second half.
Head coach Nolan Tokuda said he will be leaving the quarterback playing time decisions up to offensive coordinator Bobby George.
Tokuda thought all of his players did their jobs, and blamed the slow start on “undisciplined football.”
“We got back to Leilehua football — assignment, alignment and technique,” he said.
Truvarious Boatwright caught two TD passes for the Mules, one from each QB. Kendrick Beitzel hauled in six passes for 69 yards and a TD, and Kawai Phifer made four catches for 79 yards and a score.
The Mules had 460 yards of offense, and 313 of those came in the second half.
Beitzel was ecstatic that Leilehua finally broke through for a win and said it was a progression of improvement after straight losses to Punahou, Kahuku and Kapolei.
Linebackers DeShayne Stevens and and Donavon Ugalino both dropped Nanakuli quarterback Nainoa Banks for a loss and made tough defensive stops all night.
“If you ask either one of them, they’ll tell you the reason they have success is because everyone on the D-line is doing their jobs,” Tokuda said.
Greg Dyer recovered two fumbles for the Mules, including one that was caused by teammate Damion Scandrick. Dyer’s other recovery led to a Piceno’s 9-yard TD toss to Phifer for a 34-7 lead with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
Nanakuli never punted in the first half, but booted the ball away four times after the break.
Jayrius Alapai and Sean Souza intercepted one pass each for Nanakuli, but the Golden Hawks did not capitalize either time. They also didn’t turn Daniel Ramos’ fumble recovery after a strip by Alapai into points, either.
Chyson Morgan made his presense felt for the Golden Hawks’ offense, rushing for 78 yards and a TD on six carries and catching three passes for 79 yards and another score.
Leilehua plays Farrington (2-1, 2-1) at Aloha Stadium on Saturday.
Still seeking its first win of the season, Nanakuli hosts Kailua (1-1, 1-1) on Friday.