LIVE BLOG: ‘Iolani 31, Lahainaluna 14, Final

First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division II Football State Championships
Aloha Stadium
Championship game
No. 1 Lahainaluna (9-0) vs No. 2 ‘Iolani (6-3)

First Quarter
‘Iolani wins the toss and elects to receive. Interesting. Raiders are in white jerseys, black helmets, black pants. Lunas are all red, top to bottom.

IOL Series 1: Big third-down completion from Austin Jim On to Tyler Teruya prevents a three-and-out. Teruya is big on this drive, catching four passes. Jim On hits Keoni-Kordell Makekau on an in route for a 10-yard TD pass. IOL 7, LAH 0, 7:56.


LAH Series 1: Jared Rocha-Islas picks up 12 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and Ansen Cabanilla gains 14 on a jet sweep, but after those two first downs, the Lunas stall at their 49-yard line. IOL daring LAH to throw the ball. Punt is fair caught at the IOL 12.

IOL Series 2: Same as the first series with a hurry-up pace by the Raiders. They drive on the ground to their 48 before LAH calls time out, 3:44. Fourth-and-6 at the LAH 49, IOL calls time out, 3:06. Raiders decide to punt. 31-yard punt returned 9 yards to the LAH 29, 2:54. Jim On with a slant pass to, who else, Teruya for 7 yards and a first down. Raiders in complete control tonight, on their way to an eight state championship.

LAH Series 2: Three-and-out by the Lunas on three runs. They seemed to have a first-down run, but the runner on a jet sweep runs into his own blocker. Punt is a fair catch by IOL at its 30.

IOL Series 3: Jim On in attack mode. First play is a back-shoulder bomb to Makekau for 35 yards. Jim On to Makekau on third-and-6 for another first down and Storm Lotomau up the middle for 12 yards to the LAH 2 as the quarter ends. Hurry-up and passing game has LAH seemingly befuddled.

LAH Series 3: The Lunas ditch the single-wing for now and have some success on the ground out of a classic spread option attack. Wingback is going in pre-snap motion and the threat of an option keeper and/or pitch is there now. LAH picks up its first first down since early in the first quarter, but IOL sniffs out the next same, exact play for a 3-yard loss. No threat of the pass has the Raiders stacking the box and they’re finishing tackles very well.

Third-and-9, LAH lines up in a double-TE set, counter trey and Cabanilla gains 26 yard on a counter trey. He picks up 15 more yards on another run left. Looks like the Lunas are going to stick to the ground and try to wear the Raiders down. QB Makoa Filikitonga-Lukela picks up 9 yards to the 4, and suddenly the Lunas are a Big Red Smashmouth Machine. The Lunas love an unbalanced line in this situation, and Filikitonga-Lukela sneaks for 3 yards and a first down at the 1. He keeps again and scores on a 1-yard run. Rocha-Islas’ PAT kick is wide right. IOL 14, LAH 6, 7:30.

IOL Series 4: Since his first two passes fell incomplete, Jim On has completed his next nine passes. On this drive, he is on point again with a 19-yard strike to Makekau (crossing route) for a first down, and then on second-and-4, a perfect bomb to Connor Ohira on the right side for a 34-yard TD. Raider Machine is humming. IOL 21, LAH 6, 5:43.

LAH Series 4: Lunas haven’t thrown a pass yet, and two plays into this series, 18 yards on two carries. Now a 10-yard sprint upfield by Filikitonga-Lukela.

Second quarter
Second Q begins and IOL lines up in a three-back set with Jim On in the pistol. Handoff to K.J. Pascua, who glides through a huge hole for easy 2-yard TD. Raiders are coasting so far. IOL 14, LAH 0, 11:56.

IOL Series 4: Since his first two passes fell incomplete, Jim On has completed his next nine passes. On this drive, he is on point again with a 19-yard strike to Makekau (crossing route) for a first down, and then on second-and-4, a perfect bomb to Connor Ohira on the right side for a 34-yard TD. Raider Machine is humming. IOL 21, LAH 6, 5:43.

LAH Series 4: Lunas haven’t thrown a pass yet, and two plays into this series, 18 yards on two carries. Now a 10-yard sprint upfield by Filikitonga-Lukela. He runs for a first down on third-and-6, but LAH is whistled for holding. Filikitonga-Lukela’s first pass is incomplete. LAH punts, fair catch by IOL at its 23.

IOL Series 5: Raiders have more than 3 minutes, which is an eternity for them. Pascua runs for 13 and 6 yards to start the drive. Jim On is throwing with absolute conviction, hitting Makekau and Ohira for first down completions. He scrambles for the first time tonight, picking up 13 yards between the hashes to the LAH 29. Raiders call their second time out with 56 seconds left in the half. They are hitting gaps in the zone coverage and executing flawlessly.

Jim On is sacked by Penisimani Taufa for a 9-yard loss back to the 38. Jim On hits Makekau for a 13-gain (crossing route) to the 25. IOL time out with :14 left. Jim On’s deep post pass to Makekau is incomplete. Makekau then drills a 42-yard FG with about 8-10 yards to spare as time runs out. IOL 24, LAH 6, :00.


Halftime
If you believe in ground-and-pound football, then you must believe in what Lahainaluna is doing. They’ve thrown just one pass, and that was on a third-and-17. The Lunas has run 24 times for 133 yards, so the theory that they can wear IOL’s defense down is plausible.

Still, I wonder how many opportunities they may have had on second- and third-and-short situations to throw the ball deep. The bigger issue, clearly, is the Lunas’ defense inability to slow IOL’s offense. Jim On is playing his best game of the season so far: 16-for-19, 201 yards, two TD passes and just one sack. He’s been quick and precise, like he has all season, except with the green light to throw on first and second downs.

IOL: 24-84 on the ground, total offense 285 yards.
LAH: 133 yards total offense.

Third quarter
LAH Series 5: Lunas receive kick, return to the 16. All running here, pace is a bit quicker. Counter trey on second-and-8 is stopped for the first time in awhile. IOL bringing everybody within 7 yards of the line of scrimmage then. Snap gets past Filikitonga, IOL’s Wyatt Ma‘a recovers at the LAH 31.

IOL Series 6: Raiders go seven plays over the 31 yards. JIm On with three completions, two for first downs (Ohira, Teruya) and Storm Lotomau scurries up the middle for a 3-yard TD run. IOL 31, LAH 6, 6:32.

LAH Series 6: Lunas on a long, methodical drive. They converted on fourth-and-6 with a 10-yard blast up the gut by Taufa (6-3, 245).

Fourth quarter
Third-and-2, Taufa gets the direct snap again and gains 3 yards for a first down to the IOL 14. Next play, Josten Sariby fumbles on a run left and IOL’s Christian Naeole recovers at the 15, 11:38.

IOL Series 7: First three-and-out of the game for the Raiders. Punt downed at the LAH 49, 9:00.

LAH Series 7: Rocha-Islas with a HB option pass to Scott Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa for 43 yards. Filikitonga-Lukela scores on a 6-yard keeper two plays later. PAT: Filikitonga-Lukela to Thomas Rosen St. John for a 2-point pass. IOL 31, LAH 14, 7:55.

IOL Series 8: On-side kick bounces out of bounds and IOL has possession at the LAH 49. Slow, methodical drive with a big 10-yard pass from Jim On to Teruya, who caught the ball in the flat and beat three defenders for the first down. Fourth-and-2, Makekau gained 3 yards on a reverse. Fourth-and-6, Raiders let the play clock tick down before calling time out, 3:03.

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Lunas co-head coach Garrett Tihada and daughter.
Lunas co-head coach Garrett Tihada and daughter.

Pre-game
It’s the top seed, Lahainaluna, against seven-time state champion ‘Iolani this afternoon at Aloha Stadium in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division II State Championships. The Lunas (10-0) got here early and are in warmups right now, very cool and unique. They stay in rows, build everything up step by step and remind me in a way of the Unsullied, for you Game of Thrones fans out there.

‘Iolani also takes it slow to start warmups. They’re still in shirts and shorts, no helmets or pads yet, doing their extensive stretching work. Can’t wait for this one to start. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. and traffic getting here from town was HORRENDOUS. Supposedly, there are at least two on-surface street repair sites holding everything up. Took an hour to get here from Mo‘ili‘ili. Just glad to be here.

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