Punahou, Kamehameha continue rivalry

Kamehameha's Mika Tafua wrapped up Punahou quarterback Larry Tuileta during a 2013 game. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
Kamehameha’s Mika Tafua wrapped up Punahou quarterback Larry Tuileta during a 2013 game. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

The nation’s longest rivalry in terms of games played is also one of the closest.

Miraculously, after 183 games completed between Punahou and Kamehameha dating back to 1903, the Buffanblu have a chance to even the all-time series at 89-89-6 with a victory on Thursday night in the ILH opener for both teams at Aloha Stadium.

The NFHS recently recognized the Punahou-Kamehameha rivalry as the longest in the nation in terms of games played. The 183 meetings between the two schools are 31 more than the 152 games played between Westerly and Stonington in Connecticut.

Punahou has won the last six meetings, matching its third-longest winning streak in the series. It took nine straight from the Warriors between 1970 and 1974.

Kamehameha once won 12 in a row in the series from 1997 to 2002.

After opening the season scoring a school-record 70 points against Leilehua, the Buffanblu have had to wait 27 days between games. Punahou has shown in recent years it is capable of handling long layoffs during the season. During their run of four consecutive ILH titles between 2011 and 2014, the Buffanblu went three straights years waiting three full weeks between their final ILH game and first state tournament game. They won all three games after the long break by an average of 25 points.

The Warriors have gotten in two games so far this season, losing a lead in the final minutes of a 26-20 loss to Waianae in their opener on Aug. 5, and beating Baldwin 38-14 on Maui a week later.

Kamehameha’s recent struggles against Punahou can be directly linked to its running game. When it won 12 in a row against the Buffanblu, Kamehameha had a 100-yard rusher in all 12 games, including Kahe Santos‘ 225-yard performance in a 21-9 victory in 2002. Punahou broke the winning streak by holding Kamehameha’s leading rusher, TJ Kuahine, to 65 yards in a 14-6 win in 2003.

Since taking control of the series winning six straight, Punahou hasn’t allowed a single Kamehameha running back to top 100 yards. In a 47-7 win in 2014, Punahou held Kamehameha’s leading rusher, Jordan Bayudan, to 26 yards. That was the fewest number of yards by Kamehameha’s leading rusher against Punahou since 1991.

The Warriors switched to a primarily passing offense in the final year of Doug Cosbie‘s tenure as head coach last season, posing the three highest single-game passing totals in school history. New head coach Abu Ma’afala has struck primarily with the running game so far, attempting 77 rushes to just 38 passing attempts.

It’s brought mixed results so far, but it sticks with the formula of how Kamehameha teams of the past have beaten Punahou.

We’ll see Thursday night if the formula still works in 2016.


  1. Mahatma Gandhi August 31, 2016 2:08 am

    It’s got nothing to do with formula, or running the ball over 100 yards a game. Kamehameha’s recent struggles against Punahou have been because Punahou has upped their recruiting to be able to compete with win-at-all-costs St Louis.

  2. 89 August 31, 2016 6:55 am

    Mahatma- Sounds like you were one of many others on here that got slapped around on the field by the CRUSADERS! Kamehameha struggles because of their coaches. Kamehameha have tons of talent But the coaches can’t put it together. Hopefully Abu can turn the program around. Good luck to everybody.

  3. RuggedSlopes August 31, 2016 8:29 am

    Kamehameha struggles because their just “Kamehameha”. They are the “Farrington” of the ILH, talented every year but can’t win. They are big & soft in every area on the field. Sad thing is they have the luxury of hand picking every kid on this island with the financial backing & choose to live by being 3rd best every season.

  4. Cabs August 31, 2016 9:26 am

    Dear Mr Gandhi:
    So… what you’re saying is that the only reason Punahou wins is because they recruit and can’t win without recruiting, correct? I’m going to assume you’re one of those OIA “activists”. You and your kind should really look into the mirror because recruiting happens in the OIA as well.  Either you’re totally oblivious or in total denial, but it exists in the OIA. The only difference is that the OIA calls it “transferring in” (or in some cases it’s called “returning to his roots” I guess, since the student athlete lives in that school’s district).
          Now this is just a thought, but can’t you give Punahou at least some credit for producing star athletes on their own? Let’s take Jet Toner for example. All-state kicker, you know his accolades. Why didn’t anyone come out and say that Punahou recruited him?
        Also, why doesn’t anyone complain about recruiting when it comes to other sports, like volleyball at Punahou? I would think, with all the success Punahou has with volleyball, that someone would play the “they can’t win without recruiting” card. Is it possible that the volleyball team is just extremely talented? But no, only in football does Punahou get heat when it’s successful.

  5. Chloropicrin August 31, 2016 5:32 pm

    @RuggedSlopes- Kamehameha the “Farrington” of the ILH…haha. so true. Me and my coworker was just talking about how under achieving they are, could be a lot better with all the resources and talent choices.

  6. RuggedSlopes August 31, 2016 9:42 pm


    They are one of the richest schools in the nation & can’t seem to figure out how to capitalize on their athletics programs. A lot of resources is spot on. A lot of kids at other private schools excelling that got denied to attend Kam School. They should be killing it in everything. Smh

  7. K K Kaumanua September 1, 2016 9:25 am

    This is an exceptionally lazy article that just rehashes some previous history between the two schools. It apparently does not mention the name of a single player on the current teams. As a professional sportswriter the author should be able to do better than this. If he is getting paid to cover high school football then why can’t he offer some timely analysis and useful information about what to expect with this game?

  8. Got17 September 1, 2016 1:14 pm

    What to expect at the game?

    Punahou by 2 touchdowns (at the least)

    Kam plays competitive in the first half as expected. Than the wheels start falling off in the second half.

  9. Alpha September 1, 2016 1:21 pm

    Actually pulling for Kam to finish top 6 in the state along with stl and pun. It’ll throw a wrench in this stupid debate about the Open Div.

  10. Jeezy33 September 1, 2016 8:20 pm

    There is no debate about the open division. OIA coaches like it. ILH coaches like it. Players like it. The only people who have a problem with it apparently are the kahuku uncles that post on this website.

  11. AOK September 1, 2016 10:30 pm

    Amen brotha..they scared das why

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