Punahou-Kamehameha a pivotal game

Punahou's Wayne Taulapapa picked up yards against Damien on Saturday. (Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser)
Punahou’s Wayne Taulapapa picked up yards against Damien on Saturday. (Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser)

Punahou didn’t wait very long after Saturday’s win over Damien to start preparing for a matchup with second-ranked Kamehameha.

“We’re watching film right now,” quarterback Larry Tuileta said before heading to the locker room following the 48-0 victory at Alexander Field.

Punahou (3-0, 1-0 ILH) edged Kamehameha (5-0, 2-0) by a single point for the top spot in last week’s Star-Advertiser rankings, and Saturday’s game — the finale of an ILH tripleheader at Aloha Stadium — will be a pivotal point in the race for the regular-season title.

Kamehameha took the early lead in the standings with a win over Saint Louis on Aug. 30, while Punahou claimed a win in San Diego to close its nonleague schedule.

Both teams are coming off wins over Division II foes. Kamehameha powered past ‘Iolani 38-22 on Friday, led by Brandon Kahookele’s 244 rushing yards. Tuileta and sophomore running back Wayne Taulapapa put up impressive numbers before going to the bench in the first half against Damien.

Punahou played without running back Kotoni Sekona and defensive ends Canton Kaumatule and Ruari Brady on Saturday, and coach Kale Ane said he hopes to know more about their availability early this week.

Sekona and Taulapapa split the rushing load in Punahou’s season-opening win over Mililani. After Sekona hurt his foot in the win over Helix, Taulapapa rushed for 153 yards on 30 carries in the 10-6 win. Taulapapa had a shorter day on Saturday, with nine carries covering 93 yards in the first quarter, and his two touchdowns helped the Buffanblu assert control.

”Wayne’s done a great job and stepped in and we’re more than happy. He’s been excellent for us,” Ane said.

Taulapapa has 329 yards in three games and is averaging just over 6.2 yards per carry to complement the passing attack led by Tuileta.

“Sometimes it’s a little nervous, but you have to keep on playing and working hard,” Taulapapa said.


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