Leilehua coach Mark Kurisu saw Saturday’s game against ‘Iolani as a measuring stick to see just where his team stands.
Looks like the Mules are in phenomenal shape.
James McGary, who missed the first three games of the season with a broken right ring finger, rushed 28 times for 223 yards and three touchdowns as host Leilehua pulled away in the second half to beat No. 8 ‘Iolani 31-20 in an OIA/ILH Division I game on Saturday at Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
“It was an opportunity for our guys to look at that caliber of team and coaching and as a coaching staff and team, see if we’re at that level,” Kurisu said.
McGary injured his right hand while stiff-arming a teammate the first week of contact practices. Fortunately, he’s a left-hander and wears a brace on his right hand and primarily carries the ball in his left. He’s been told not to stiff-arm opponents, but said he still does it instinctively.
“For five weeks, I was a little ball boy. I came back and I’m starting to ball out,” McGary said.
He scored on an 80-yard run in the first half and a pair of 3-yard runs in the second as the Mules outscored the Raiders 24-7 after halftime.
“We didn’t really make adjustments, we just played,” Kurisu said of his team’s second-half performance.
The Mules’ defense turned in a bend, but don’t break performance in the first half, then dominated play in the second.
The Raiders reached the red zone on five of their six first-half possessions, but settled for a 13-7 lead at the break.
“Obviously, that’s been our nemesis the past few games,” ‘Iolani coach Wendell Look said. “We move the ball between the 20s and we get in the red zone and have problems putting points on the board.”
Look also lamented a lost fumble on the first possession of the second half and numerous penalties that short-circuited drives.
Leilehua’s Max Nichols completed 7 of 14 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.
“To have (McGary) back for a second game made life a bit easier for Max,” Kurisu said.
McGary had 19 of his carries in the second half.
“They came out and had a great game plan running the ball at us,” Look said. “Usually, we do a better job.”
‘Iolani’s Jonah Chong completed 31 of 52 passes for 312, relying mostly on short passes to move the ball.
“We had to give up the hitches. We knew the wideouts were going to be running those routes,” Kurisu said. “We let them catch, keep everything in front and make the tackle.”
The Raiders’ Carter Kamana had 13 receptions for 139 yards and Jonah Miyazawa had 10 for 98.
‘Iolani scored 13 consecutive points in the first half for a six-point lead.
Mika Makekau made a pair of 30-yard field goals and Miyazawa caught a 7-yard scoring pass from Chong.
The Mules then reeled off 24 in a row to start the second half. McGary had a 3-yard touchdown run, Jeremy Evans caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Nichols, Akoni Tom-Makue made a 42-yard field goal and McGary added a 3-yard scoring run.
When addressing his team after the game, Kurisu said there would be no practice Sunday and he also reminded his players to set their fantasy football rosters for the first full week of NFL games.