Preview: Saturday’s football matchups (8/31)

Kotoni Sekona and Punahou play Helix (Calif.) in San Diego on Saturday. (Jay Metzger / Special to the Star-Advertiser)
Kotoni Sekona and Punahou play Helix (Calif.) in San Diego on Saturday. (Jay Metzger / Special to the Star-Advertiser)
A game-by-game breakdown of Saturday’s football matchups:

No. 2 Punahou (1-0) at Helix (Calif.) (0-0)
The Highlanders were 10-1 last season, including 5-0 as the Grossmont-Hills League champions. In five seasons at the La Mesa-based charter school, coach Troy Starr is 31-10-1.

Helix’s most famous player may have been ’02 graduate Reggie Bush, who later starred at USC and now plays for the Detroit Lions.

The Buffanblu are reloading after reaching the state final last year. Kotoni Sekona has moved from fullback to tailback in their pistol offense and rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown in Punahou’s 24-14 win at Mililani two weeks ago.

Larry Tuileta passed for 255 yards and two touchdowns against Mililani, but was harassed by a persistent pass rush.

No. 3 Kahuku (1-1, 1-0 Red East) at East (Utah) (1-0)
The Leopards were 7-6-1 last season, including 3-2 in 4A Region 6. They allowed a conference-low 8.6 points per game.

One key returnee is defensive end Korey Rush, a 6-3, 235-pound senior who has committed to Arizona State. He was named to the Deseret News Top 20 Players list in July.

The visiting Red Raiders pulled away for a 40-14 win over Kaimuki last week. Soli Afalava (208 yards, two TDs) and P.J. Liua (187, two) lead the ground attack.

No. 10 Lahainaluna (2-0) vs. Kamehameha-Maui (1-1, 1-0 MIL D-II), War Memorial Stadium
The Lunas, led by defensive lineman Hercules Mata‘afa, shut out Mt. Douglas (Canada) 28-0 last week. The unit has been boosted by Justin Hong and Peni Taufa, who transferred back from the mainland.

Kaimuki (1-2, 0-1 OIA Red East) vs. McKinley (2-1, 1-0), Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium
The Bulldogs have established a balanced offense with quarterback Tevita Lino (358 yards, four TD passes), wide receiver Fano Tuisila (13 receptions, 245 yards, three TDs) and running back Randon Tuitama (294 yards, two TDs).

The Tigers have relied more on a run-first approach, with speedy Gerime Bradley and linebacker/running back Mathias Tuitele-Iafeta sharing the load.

Farrington (0-2) at Castle (1-2, 0-1)
The last time the Governors started 0-3 was in 2007. Farrington then won five of its last nine games, including two playoff wins.

The Knights were on the verge of a second win in a row last week against Kailua before losing in overtime.

Hilo (1-1) at Hawaii Prep (2-0)
The visiting Vikings will have to face running back Bobby Lum, who has already rushed for 331 yards and three touchdowns in wins over Waiakea and Waimea.

Kealakehe (0-1) at Keaau (0-0)
The Waveriders have endured significant losses to graduation, but are still the D-I favorite in their league.

The Cougars have yet to play a game.

Kalani (1-2, 1-1 OIA White) vs. Kalaheo (2-1, 2-0), Kailua High School field
Noah Brum has plenty in his arsenal with a trio of solid receivers. Brandon Roberts (20 receptions, 208 yards, four TDs), Trevor Yamashita (12, 216, 2) and Blaise Manabe (14, 140, 1) have been resilient.

Brum has passed for 670 yards and nine touchdowns with four picks in 117 attempts.
Makena Johnston had rushed for 398 yards and six touchdowns for the Mustangs.

Cottage Grove (Ore.) (0-0) at Kauai (1-0), Vidinha Stadium
The Lions were 9-3 last year, including 5-1 in the 4A Sky-Em League. They’ve been enjoying paradise on the Garden Island — there are photos on the team’s Facebook page of coaches and players jumping off a pier into Hanalei Bay, running on a beach and floating on inner tubes down a river. No word on how many players may be sunburned.

Maui (2-1, 0-1 MIL) at King Kekaulike (0-1)
The Sabers’ ground-and-pound squad will continue to use a committee of ballcarriers. It’ll be quite a change for Na Alii, which faced a pass-first team last week in a loss to KS-Maui.


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