Noah Bartley made a big splash on Friday.
The Kamehameha running back was a force with 118 rushing yards on 20 carries, and six receptions for 133 yards against a stellar Punahou defense. Bartley scored two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough in a last-minute, 33-28 loss to the Buffanblu at Aloha Stadium.
“Whoever the running back was, he did a very good job,” Punahou coach Nate Kia said. “He’s a very good runner.”
No matter what Punahou drew up defensively, Bartley found ways to contribute. Kamehameha quarterback Kealii Ah Yat, also making his varsity debut, was in sync with Bartley on swing passes, including one that turned into a 40-yard touchdown.
“That was my favorite play, honestly. I came out and it was a swing, and I saw Blaze (Kamoku) and Sheyden (Iokia) lift up that guy and put him on the ground,” Bartley said. “I saw open field and I kept pumping.”
His other TD, a 31-yard jaunt through the middle, gave Kamehameha a 25-19 lead late in the third quarter, capping a run of 18 unanswered points. The Warrior offense was humming.
“Scotty (Kealiikupono Dikilato), Denzel (Unutoa), Hiapo (Kaapana), big Micah (Cravalho-Meyers) and Marques (Hickson). Hammers right there. I love those guys,” Bartley said.
Moments after Punahou’s go-ahead touchdown with 1:28 left, Bartley hit the ground and stayed down. A calf cramp knocked him out of the final minute. He was one of many who suffered the same fate on Friday night.
Kamehameha did more than compete. They were one break away from a win over Punahou.
“No. 1, the kids stuck together. There was a point in the game when we’re down going into the second half. The kids could’ve easily phoned it in, but they come out and go right down the field and scored. Solid defense in the third quarter. They showed the team’s ability to stick together, motivating each other, pushing each other on the sideline. That was very, very encouraging to see,” Warriors coach Abu Ma‘afala said.
The coach also praised Bartley.
“He’s a complete package. He is a Division I (college) running back and he displayed it tonight. It wasn’t a shock to us that he was going to do so well,” Ma‘afala said. “Our offensive line cleared the way for him. I’m excited to see what he continues to do. He has this bubbly attitude, infectious energy and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He just loves being out there playing football. He was born to play running back. He has such a natural feel, has vision, he feels things that you can’t teach a back.”
The team dream is what keeps Bartley and the Warriors moving forward after a tough loss.
“Don’t underestimate us. We’re a solid team and we just want to keep grinding to get the state championship,” Bartley said. “I feel everyone’s ready to get back to work. After this game, we realize what we can fix, the small things we can do better as a team. If everything comes together, I feel like we can win the state championship.”
Great game but da Hawaiian’s let them off da hook!
Unhappy face for that last possession.
3 balls into the turf for turnover on downs.
Good thing the running game was working.
So, for next game:
Play for possession and field position.
Run the rock, eat up time and limit offensive plays for Puns.
Play action as needed to keep Puns defense honest.
Win the kicking game. Pau.
And, no let one kid play if he tells you that he is feeling ill.
This kid is legit!!