There’s only one thing left for Punahou senior Larry Tuileta to accomplish in his high school career. The Buffanblu quarterback gets his final chance to win a state championship in tonight’s Division I final of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships at Aloha Stadium against Mililani. This is the third straight final for Punahou, which lost to Kahuku each of the last two seasons. Mililani is trying for its first-ever state football title. Who will come out victorious?
Live updates are below:
6:43 p.m.: Kickoff looks like it will be right around 7:05 p.m.
7:05 p.m.: Punahou wins the toss and will receive.
7:11 p.m.: Punahou opens in a five-wide set and Mililani is called for a PI on the first play. Tuileta to Luke Morris for 17 yards. Wayne Taulapapa with two runs for 3 yards to set up third down and we have our first Kelii Padello sighting. 20th sack of the season for Padello, who had four in the first meeting against Punahou. Buffanblu punt.
7:14 p.m.: Milton scrambles for 6 yards on third-and-7. Mililani lines up to go for it on fourth-and-1 from its own 22 but calls timeout. Trojans line up to go for it and Malepeai gets 7 yards. Mililani make a statement right there. Trojans are playing with nothing to lose.
7:19 p.m.: Milton with an 18-yard pass to Ryan Reedy but makes a terrible throw two plays later and is intercepted by Ronley Lakalaka. Milton threw it right too him. Punahou takes over on the Mililani 45.
7:22 p.m.: Holding penalty makes it first-and-20 but Tuileta hits tight end Dakota Torres two different times for 17 yards each. Tuileta’s 8-yard TD pass to Kanawai Noa is wiped out due to an illegal formation penalty but Tuileta finds a wide open Trent Sitar on the next play for a 13-yard TD and a 7-0 Punahou lead, 3:14, Q1.
7:28 p.m.: Mililani gets the ball back on its own 15 and Milton scrambles for 5 yards and a first down on third-and-4. Six straight running plays by Mililani. Fourth-and-1 on its own 35 and the Trojans punt. Curious call. If you’re willing to go for it earlier on its own 22, why not again there? Punahou takes over at its own 18.
7:33 p.m.: Tuileta incomplete on his next throw but Wayne Taulapapa runs for 11 yards and a first down as the quarter ends.
7:41 p.m.: Tamatoa Silva gets Mililani’s second sack of Tuileta and the Buffanblu punt. Kainoa Wilson takes a screen pass 27 yards to the 49, but the bigger news is Punahou’s Canton Kaumatule looked like he hurt himself. He stays on for the next play but then limps off the field under his own power. Fourth-and-2 for Mililani at the Punahou 42 and Malepeai is stopped for a 1-yard loss. Lakalaka in on the tackle. Punahou takes over.
7:48 p.m.: Just like that it’s 14-0 Punahou as Tuileta hits Dylan Combs for 31 yards and then hooks up with Kanawai Noa for a 26-yard touchdown. That’s the 26th time Tuileta has thrown a TD pass to Noa.
7:54 p.m.: Danger time for Mililani after the Trojans go three-and-out but the defense comes up big, forcing two incompletions by Tuileta. Buffanblu punt it back and Mililani takes over on its own 36 with 3:54 left in the half.
7:58 p.m.: Kaumatule hobbles onto the field for Mililani’s second play. Another perfectly thrown deep ball by Milton but it’s dropped. Milton has throw a couple of balls that have hit his receivers in the hands. They’ve got to come up with those catches in a game like this. Wilson gets a pass in the flat but a great tackle prevents the first down. Fourth-and-4 for Mililani at its 42 with 2:39 remaining.
8:02 p.m.: Wild sequence. Mililani fakes the punt on fourth down. Padello catches a pass for what looks to be a first down but then runs backwards. He gets tackles but laterals it and it deflects off a helmet. Mililani grabs it and gets the first down but the refs mark the ball down on the 45, giving Punahou the ball. Not sure exactly why he is marked down there. Maybe the referee blew his whistle to end the play? Not sure. Ball is spotted where Padello tried to lateral it and it’s first-and-10 Punahou at the 45.
8:04 p.m.: Noa has a 20-yard run on a reverse called back because of an illegal block. Nice play call on a screen pass to Taulapapa that goes for 17 yards and a first down. Tuileta misses a wide open Sitar for what should have been a 32-yard TD that goes just off Sitar’s fingertips. Tuileta rolls out and hits Noa for 12 to the 20. Tuileta then finds Torres for a 20-yard TD and it’s 21-0 with 1:19 left in the first half.
8:13 p.m.: Ian Namu with a big return of 44 yards on the kickoff after Punahou’s first kick went out of bounds. Milton scrambles for 30 yards on third down and the Trojans are first-and-10 at the 12 with 25 seconds remaining. A pass interference penalty moves the ball to the 6. Milton finds Kalakaua Timoteo in the back of the endzone for a 6-yard TD pass. Trojans go for 2 and get it as Ryan Reedy finds Namu to make it 21-8.= with 16 seconds remaining.
Huge drive at the end of the half for Mililani, which gets the ball first to start the third quarter. Blake Konda sacks Tuileta to end the half.
Halftime notes: Tuileta is 11-for-18 for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the first half … He needs 101 yards passing in the second half to reach 7,000 in his career … Milton is 10-for-13 for 76 yards and had two deep balls that were perfectly thrown but dropped by receivers … Milton has also scrambles for 51 yards on five carries but Punahou has done a nice job bottling up Vavae Malepeai (12 carries, 23 yards) … Punahou has rushed for 12 yards on 13 carries … Wayne Taulapapa has eight carries for 28 yards … Linebacker Saitui Moea’i has 10 tackles in the first half for the Buffanblu.
Second half kickoff should be right around 8:40 p.m.
8:41 p.m.: Namu returns a short kickoff 21 yards and Mililani starts the second half on its own 36. Critical fourth-and-2 for Mililani and Milton to Ader is good for 8 yards and a first. Mililani down to the Punahou 25. Play is stopped as Kaumatule, who has been shuttling in and out, is down and can’t get up. He’s likely done now. Fourth-and-11 at the 26 and Mililani goes for it. Moea’i, who is having an incredible game, comes up with the sack. Trojans are 2-for-5 on fourth down.
8:52 p.m.: Kaimana Padello gets Mililani’s fourth sack of Tuileta and the Buffanblu punt up 13 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
8:56 p.m.: Trojans have the ball on their 30. Kaumatule and junior Joseph Saula are both nursing injuries on the Buffanblu defensive line. Third-and-10 on the 44 and Ader drops a first down. Trojans punt.
9:01 p.m.: Punahou busts out the option and Taulapapa gains 8, 7 and 5 yards. Punahou is forced to punt after they rule the pass to Reupena Fitisemanu is incomplete, although it looked to me like it was clearly a catch and then a fumble out of bounds, which would have been a first down. A 49-yard punt pins Mililani at its own 1.
9:05 p.m.: Saula back in the game for the Buffanblu. Two incomplete passes by Milton and a 5-yard run by Malepeai. Mililani punts.
9:09 p.m.: Punahou’s first play is a pitch to Taulapapa. Ball comes loose and referees say the runner was down but replay shows Rex Manu forced a fumble before Taulapapa hit the ground and recovered it. Tuileta then goes 29 yards to Dylan Combs and 12 yards to Torres. Fourth quarter will start with Punahou first-and-goal at the 1.
9:12 p.m.: Wayne Taulapapa scores on a 1-yard TD run and it’s now 28-8 Punahou with 11:55 in the fourth quarter.
9:18 p.m.: Another big return for Mililani, which goes deep in the playbook. Kainoa Wilson takes a handoff and fakes like he’s going to run before throwing to a wide open Bronson Ramos for a 36-yard touchdown. Mililani hanging around, down 28-15 with 10:45 left in the game.
9:20 p.m.: Mililani tries an onsides kick but Punahou gets it. Close though. Good attempt. Key third-and-4 for the Buffanblu here. Taulapapa takes the handoff and has a huge hole. 11 yards and a first down. Clock moving.
9:26 p.m.: Third-and-10 and Tuileta tries to throw it away. Refs call intentional grounding, giving Mililani its fifth sack. Second of the game for Kondo. Punahou will punt.
9:28 p.m.: Mililani takes over on its own 26 with 8:20 remaining. Ader takes a quick pass for a yard and is hurt on the play. Milton is incomplete and then stuffed for a loss by Moea’i on third down. 14 tackles for Moea’i. Mililani decides to punt on fourth-and-11 and Punahou takes over with 6:48 on its own 38.
9:33 p.m.: Illegal block by the defense gives Punahou 15 yards and a first down. Trojans are going to run out of time. Punahou with a fourth-and-10 on the 34 after a false-start penalty. Tuileta drops back and is intercepted. Mililani runs the same trick play it ran earlier and it works again. Wilson to Ramos for 62 yards and a touchdown and Mililani is alive. It’s now 28-22 with 3:53 left.
9:42 p.m.: Another onsides kick and Punahou recovers. Punahou with first-and-10 on its 46 and Tuileta with a 4-yard completion to Fitisemanu. A five-yard completion to Luke Morris makes it third-and-1. Mililani calls timeout. 2:50 remaining. Taulapapa is stopped for no gain by Kondo. Fourth-and-inches and Punahou lines up to go for it. Taulapapa is stopped for no gain and Mililani takes over with 2 minutes left.
9:47 p.m.: False start on Mililani but Milton runs for 15 and a first on the next play. Incomplete pass by Milton. Ronley Lakalaka comes on a blitz and sacks Milton. Third-and-17 and Milton’s pass is behind the receiver. This is it. Fourth-and-17. Milton’s pass is intercepted and Punahou is going to win. What a game. What a comeback attempt by Mililani. Joseph Augafa on the interception.