The streak has ended for Punahou’s surprisingly effective defensive unit.
After going three games without permitting a touchdown, the third-ranked Buffanblu were ahead 24-0 late in the first half at Kapolei when Hurricanes running back Jayven Reyes scored on a 5-yard run. Punahou had shut out Kailua and Farrington, and Kamehameha scored only on a safety and a field goal as the Buffanblu racked up a 3-0 record.
Punahou is now 4-0 (3-0 ILH Open) after Saturday night’s 44-13 win over No. 8 Kapolei. The Buffanblu limited the Hurricanes to 212 yards of total offense, so there was no pouting about the end of the streak.
Alaka‘i Gilman had one of Punahou’s two defensive TDs, almost mirroring what his team did last year in a win at Waianae. The senior returned an interception — he tipped the ball, bobbled it and controlled it en route to a 49-yard pick-6 — to open the lead to 17-0 in the second quarter. When he practically threw down a would-be defender, it was eye-popping.
“I just saw the quarterback’s eyes. I saw the tight end. I tipped the ball, made sure I caught it,” Gilman said.
Gilman, who has committed to Washington State, praised his teammates. That included defensive back Jonah Henry, who returned a pick 27 yards for another Punahou defensive TD.
“Everybody’s going to know who he is. He’s a baller,” Gilman said.
Punahou’s secondary did a superlative job covering Kapolei’s playmaking wide receiver, De’Zhaun Stribling. The senior has scholarship offers from Hawaii and San Diego State, and finished with just three receptions for 19 yards.
Conversely, Kapolei kept its attention on Punahou senior receiver Koa Eldredge, who patiently ran his routes with extra attention from the secondary. That opened up opportunities for his teammates, and freshman QB John-Keawe Sagapolutele delivered a lot of laser-beam strikes to his pass catchers, in perfect stride. He finished with 217 passing yards and a TD pass, along with two first-half interceptions.
“Everybody was doing their job and we really just clicked as an offense today,” Eldredge said. “John went out here and scored 40 points against a really good Kapolei team. He’s a freshman, he’s young, but he’s slowly starting to get that experience.”